Brendon Hartley believes he is much better prepared for a return to the Formula 1 cockpit now than he was when he got his first chance with Red Bull.
Hartley will drive for Mercedes at the Magny-Cours young driver test on Thursday if the team is able to complete all the work it needs to in the first two days with regular test driver Sam Bird.
Hartley, who was Red Bull's official reserve driver in 2009 and 2010, was dropped by the energy drink company two years ago after failing to deliver strong enough results in Formula Renault 3.5. The New Zealander continued racing in open-wheel and sports cars, however, and was also signed up by Mercedes as a simulator development driver. Having impressed the team, he is on the verge of getting back behind the wheel of an F1 car later this week, and says he is fully fired up for the opportunity.
"It's a great chance for me to prove myself and work alongside the race team but ultimately I am there to help develop the race car, and to correlate and validate the simulator," he said. "Two years ago it was difficult to believe I would have another chance to drive for a top Formula 1 team, [but] I have worked hard behind the scenes with Mercedes and have stayed motivated and focused.
"I feel much more prepared in comparison to my first Formula 1 test in 2008 when I was just 18 and fresh out of Formula 3. Since then I have learned a lot about both myself and the business of racing, and I will do my best to make the most of this opportunity."