While Brendon Hartley may be their official rookie driver for this season, A1 Team New Zealand have decided not to invite the promising youngster to take part in the Sepang weekend after announcing Earl Bamber in his place.

Although Hartley remains the team's favourite choice to support race driver Jonny Reid, the new Formula Renault Eurocup Champion will watch from the sidelines after New Zealand signed Bamber in an attempt to gain an advantage over their rivals.

Bamber has been competing in the Asian Festival of Speed - in both the Formula BMW and Formula V6 Championships - for two seasons and has more experience of the Malaysian circuit than most.

Just 17-years-old, Bamber will be one of the youngest drivers to drive the A1 GP car, much to his excitement.

"It's a difficult track, tricky to get used to, not least because it's five kilometres long,' he said. 'It's a big help that I've completed so many laps there, but having the experience around the circuit is one thing, driving an A1GP car is another. It's going to be a pretty big step up."

With Zhuhai coming after Sepang, Bamber could be kept on longer, although Hartley is expected to get a rookie run as late as Taupo.



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