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Hartley surprised by early rumours at Toro Rosso

NEWS STORY
06/12/2018

They say 'once bitten, twice shy', and having been previously dumped by Helmut Marko and the Red Bull machine, perhaps Brendon Hartley should have learned from the experience, after all the team has history.

However, out of an F1 drive and yet to find an alternative for 2019, the New Zealander admits to being surprised by the shenanigans at Toro Rosso, even though one of the Faenza outfit's replacements has been dumped two or three times.

I would love to tell the story one day," he told Mike Hosking of New Zealand's Radio Sport.

"The politics I don't enjoy," he continued. "It took me some time to get used to the extra media attention. I was definitely prepared coming into Formula One, being involved in Porsche and LMP2, but I think the pressure definitely ramped up more than I expected in terms of being under the microscope a lot more but I got more and more comfortable with that during the season."

"There were rumours very early in the season which was a big surprise to me when I thought I'd signed a long-term contract," he said, referring to the team's approach to Lando Norris just a couple of races into the season. "(I) came off the back of a world championship, a Le Mans win and after just two or three races there were rumours and a lot of questions being asked around my immediate future.

"I'm happy with how I handled that," he added. "I feel under the circumstances other people could have potentially cracked and I actually came out much stronger because of it. I fought, I evolved through the season.

"There were articles in the press saying 'he needs to improve and beat his teammate' and actually by the end of the season I really felt on top of my game, built great relationships with Honda, all the staff at Toro Rosso and I was consistently out-performing my teammate. I'm really proud of how I handled the situation and how I improved during the season.

"It wasn't particular easy after seven years away from single-seater racing but I was very comfortable with the job I was doing at the end of the year.

"What I will say is Formula One is very complicated, there's a lot of money involved, politics and some of the reasons why drivers stay or leave isn't always in your control or for reasons for pure performance. In any case I left the paddock with my head held high. I knew I'd given it my best shot this year. I knew that I'd stepped up to the plate when I needed to."

"There are so many fantastic experiences I take away from the season... driving the fastest Formula One cars that the world has seen, maybe the fastest ever. There's a lot to be proud but I did feel like I had more to give in Formula One."

Asked about his plans for 2019 and beyond, he admitted: "Still trying to figure that out... I've maintained a relationship with Porsche through all of this, I was with them for four years through the two world championships and Le Mans.

"My phone has been glued to my ear over the last week, a lot of emails. Not the perfect time of year to be sorting out a drive, coming into December but I've got a good reputation and just trying to figure out what the right steps are and also what's going to keep me happy. You will definitely see me doing something next year but it won't be Formula One.

"I would never say it's closed," he said of F1. "Ten years ago when that door was effectively shut, I've proven that it's possible to open it again. I'm now in a position where I have a super license, I have hands-on Formula One experience, I definitely didn't disgrace myself and I definitely wouldn't say that door is closed.

"I'm in a pretty good place. I've definitely been better."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 07/12/2018 22:29

"Red Bull management seem to have no issues playing with driver careers and I can see why.

There is many more drivers than there are seats.

Outfits like Red Bull can either develop talent or buy it in, I suppose the same can be said for Merc, Ferrari, Renault, McLaren too.

In the early days of their dual F1 and junior driver development I thought it was by and large a good thing and someone needs to give these kids a chance that they may otherwise not get.

The problem is there is not much of a chance for a driver at Red Bull that has a bad start to their season either due to incident, accident, reliability or taking a race or three longer to get to grips with quali and racing.

Unless there is a lot of cash attached to that driver.

Toro Rosso are setup to feed Red Bull Racing and I suppose if Red Bull Racing say they don't want a driver, then Toro Rosso have to let them go.

Its a tough gig for the drivers and hopefully there is the mental and off track support available (Hartley refers to his support network in the audio) so they can deliver their best.

I heard the interview here live last Thursday here in NZ and the link is below, click on the photo to hear the interview: https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/audio/brendon-hartley-breaks-his-silence-on-toro-rosso-exit/

It was good to hear how up beat Brendon Hartley sounded.

Looking forward to see where he ends up."

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2. Posted by stackvideo, 06/12/2018 21:23

"Brendon, your only mistake was that you were born to close to Australia"

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3. Posted by Batman, 06/12/2018 11:55

"@Geg allow me to replicate your comment "Good luck to Brendon""

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4. Posted by Greg, 06/12/2018 11:31

"Good luck to Brendon"

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