David Coulthard is now free to concentrate on his new role as part of the BBC
's Formula One commentary team, following confirmation that Red Bull protégé Brendon Hartley has finally been granted a superlicence by the FIA.
Despite having tested with both Red Bull F1 teams, and been named as reserve and development driver at both Milton Keynes and Faenza for 2009, the Kiwi has had to cool his heels through the opening four 'flyaway' rounds while the governing body deliberated on whether his achievements in F3 - and, as a result of the delay - on debut in the World Series by Renault merited the award of the necessary piece of paper that would permit him a full-time role in the top flight.
Now, having been accepted by the FIA, Hartley will return to the scene of his WSbR debut for next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, taking over from Coulthard as official reserve and test driver for Red Bull Racing, on standby should anything untoward happen to race regulars Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
“I am very happy to have been granted my superlicence,” Hartley told the team's website, "I must thank Red Bull for all their support since 2005 and this new role is another step on the path to reaching my goal of being an F1 driver. I know that, with the new in-season testing ban, I'm not likely to get much cockpit time, but I will be part of the team and will learn a lot from that.”