Speed learning a 50-page drivers' manual is among the challenges facing Brendon Hartley as he prepares for his Formula One debut in Texas on Monday morning.

The Kiwi's shock call up to the Toro Rosso team a few days ago will see the 27-year-old from Palmerston North fulfil his childhood dream, while re-igniting hopes of becoming a regular F1 driver.

Preparations have included practising in a simulator, although Hartley told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking the benefits were limited.

"I'll start today in the simulator and fly to Austin tomorrow," he said from Tokyo.
"(simulators) are still pretty far away (from reality) and you don't have that same adrenaline rush through your veins. It can prepare you to a certain extent, it's better doing it than not doing it.


"I've just been handed a 50-page drivers manual, I've got to learn all the procedures of the car, the steering wheel...

"I'll do the F1 press conference on Thursday which will also be a first for me.

"Practice starts Friday - there's four hours of testing before qualifying and I"d like to think that will be enough to get up to speed.

"There's been no expectations given, the expectations will come from within. I'd love to exceed everyone's expectations but no one has put a number on it, or a result on it."

Hartley said the Porsche 919 Hybrid he had been racing was about seven seconds a lap slower than the F1 cars. But it was still "extremely quick" and technologically advanced, reasons why his new F1 team believed he could make the sudden transition.

Listen to Brendon Hartley on the Mike Hosking Breakfast

"It's a big step and it's been six or seven years since I sat in a single seater," he said.

"I try to take the simple view that it's a race car, it's got four wheels, the physics behind what a driver has to do haven't changed to much."

On the chances of a regular F1 drive, Hartley said: "I guess it is down to how it goes on the weekend, how the team perceive the job I do.


"They understand I've been thrown in the deep end, haven't tested the car, I'm very under prepared.

"It is still very much a team - drivers are the last piece of the puzzle. It's about how you put that weekend together.

"I know a couple of (the staff) them from other categories from previous years but it's going to be a very steep learning curve. I'm up for the challenge.

"Yeah, I think there is a chance, but I can't really say any more than that."

Hartley has had to deal with a rush of media interest - he turned off his phone and didn't read too much.

He was buoyed by the support from New Zealand.

"It adds a bit of pressure but it is so nice to hear about the support back home. That's really cool, awesome."