New Zealander Brendon Hartley is to get the chance to test with Red Bull Racing after being drafted in by the team for the Jerez test next month.
With Mark Webber starting his recovery from the broken leg sustained during his charity event in Tasmania last weekend, Red Bull has elected to draft in both Hartley and regular test driver Sebastien Buemi to cover from the Australian during the final F1 test of the 2008 season.
Buemi will drive on all three days of the test at the wheel of the RB4, while Hartley – who finished third in the British F3 International Series this season driving for Carlin Motorsport – will take to the track on day one before handing his car over to Sebastian Vettel for the remainder of the test.
It will mark Hartley's first F1 test proper, with his previous experience being limited to shakedown runs for both Red Bull and sister outfit Scuderia Toro Rosso.
"Brendon is one of the shining lights in the junior team," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said, "and an opportunity has arisen to allow him to get some time in a Formula 1 car."
Hartley's agent Peter Johnston meanwhile said he was pleased to see the 19-year-old Kiwi given the chance to test the F1 machine, adding that it could lead to a possible testing role in future.
"The Red Bull test is another step forward for his dream of reaching Formula One," he was quoted by new agency NZPA
. "It's all part of the apprenticeship.
"Depending on his performance, he could become a full-time test driver for Red Bull in 2009."