Brit Jolyon Palmer has left Renault early, triggering the reshuffle with four races of the 2017 season still remaining.
He becomes the first New Zealander since Mike Thackwell in 1984 to compete in motorsport's premier category and just the ninth overall.
Less than a year later he began providing testing in Mark Webber's place after the Aussie had suffered an injury, and for the 2009 season was the official reserve driver for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
Hartley says the years he missed out on F1 made him more determined to make this opportunity a reality.
After a loss of backing, Hartley had sporadic appearances in GP2 and another frustrating season in Formula Renault 3.5 before an appearance with Mercedes at the 2012 young driver test at Paul Ricard.
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"Eventually [after moving] I made some friends, like Brendon Hartley, who was racing in the same series that year so I could relate to him, he was from the same part of the world and a Red Bull driver at the time so he was someone I was trying to aspire to", Ricciardo said. He also won the 2015 LMP 1 endurance championship.
"He is one of those who is so competitive in everything he did, he wanted to be a victor - and that is what has given him the drive to keep on going". It is a dream come true for a Kiwi to do what he is doing.
"That's exciting. That is something - being associated with Brendon from when he was a little kid and seeing the talent he had when you see them get right to the top - and he is well worthy of being there", he told Newshub.
Hartley, this year's Le Mans 24 Hours victor and a world endurance champion, will add his name to a roll call of Kiwi Formula One drivers that now ends with Mike Thackwell in 1984.
"We are really happy to have him back in our team".