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Brendon Hartley




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Brendon Hartley


Palmerston North, New Zealand

Official website:


Having grown up in what can only be described as a motor racing family it's no surprise that Brendon began his motor racing career at the tender age of 6 when he was given his first kart.

At the age of twelve he switched to single-seaters, taking on seasoned veterans in Formula First. Finishing seventh in his debut season it was clear that the kid had class.

The following year, still only 13, he won the New Zealand Formula Ford Festival which in turn earned him a full season in the following year's Formula Ford championship. Using his brother's old car, Brendon won two of the four races he started finishing the season second overall.

For 2005, Brendon switched to Formula Toyota New Zealand, the youngster making the headlines by winning the first ever race at the country's brand new Timaru circuit in early January.

Realising that the clearly talented youngster needed to be racing outside New Zealand, his management team decided to bring him to Europe for 2006 having got him on to the Red Bull Junior Team.

Brendon contested the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 with Motorsport Arena, finishing the season 10th and 14th respectively.

He remained in Formula Renault in 2007 but switched from the Northern European Cup to the Italian championship. He also switched teams, moving to the Epsilon Red Bull Team. Four wins saw the youngster win the Eurocup while in the Italian series he could 'only' manage third overall.

In what was already a busy season, Brendon also found the time to take part in the prestigious Masters of Formula 3 at Zolder - in which he finished fourth - and a couple of rookie outings for A1 Team New Zealand.

For 2008 Brendon made the obvious move up to F3 contesting the British championship and Euroseries Carlin Motorsport. In the British series the youngster won five races on his way to taking third in the championship while the fact that he was ineligible to score points in the Euroseries didn't prevent him winning two races.

Once again, Brendon found time to contest the Masters of Formula 3, in which he finished fifth, while in Macau he finished a strong third, thereby ticking yet another box.

As if this wasn't enough, in February his Red Bull connection saw Brendon drive the Red Bull F1 car at a promotional event in Riyadh and subsequently shaking down the Toro Rosso 2008 contender. Later that year, following Mark Webber's charity bike ride accident, the young Kiwi was hurriedly drafted in to assist regular test driver Sebastien Buemi.

In 2009, in addition to contesting the Euroseries with Carlin, Brendon also took part in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Tech 1 Racing. However, on the whole it was a disappointing season with one win and failure to make it into the top ten in the final standings of either series. Sadly, his return to Macau was also unsuccessful, Brendon one of ten drivers eliminated in a first lap accident.

Named as official test driver for the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams, Brendon was mysteriously dropped mid-season in favour of Jaime Alguersuari who subsequently inherited the number two seat with the Faenza team following the firing of Sebastien Bourdais.

At season end, Brendon was called up by Toro Rosso to drive its car in the 'rookie test' at Jerez. Of the two rookie drivers on duty for the Faenza team - the other was 2008 Italian F3 champion Mirko Bortolotti - Brendon was the quicker.

On 26 January 2010, Brendon was named as one of two official test and reserve drivers for Red Bull and Toro Rosso, the Kiwi sharing the role with Daniel Ricciardo. The two were also confirmed as teammates at Tech 1 with whom they would contest the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

For the first six races, Brendon and Ricciardo shared test and reserve driver duties for Red Bull and Toro Rosso, alternating race by race, however, at that stage the kiwi was suddenly dropped from the Red Bull Driver Programme - losing his F1 and Formula Renault drives - as there was disappointment that he hadn't won a race in a season and a half.

While his seat in Formula Renault was taken by British F3 Championship winner Jean-Eric Vergne, Brendon found a seat with Scuderia Coloni in the final rounds of the GP2 Series. At season end he took part in the two-day GP2 test in Abu Dhabi with Racing Engineering.

In 2011 Brendon focussed mainly on the World Series by Renault 3.5 scoring 4 podium finishes with Gravity–Charouz Racing, he also contested 2 rounds of the GP2 series with Ocean Racing Technology.

2012 saw Brendon snapped up by Mercedes as test driver for its F1 team, the youngster mainly carrying out simulator work. While there were another couple of GP2 outings, 2012 notably saw the Kiwi make his first foray into Sports Cars, contesting the LMP2 class at Le Mans with Murphy Prototypes.

Retained by the Mercedes F1 team as tester for 2013, Brendon contested the Rolex Sports Car Series with Starworks Motorsport, finishing 12th overall and once again took part in the Le Mans classic.

In 2014, free of his F1 obligations - Mercedes now making hay under the new engine regulations - Brendon joined the newly-formed Porsche WEC team where he was partnered with Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard.

Over the years that followed Brendon enjoyed great success, winning the 2015 championship and finishing 2nd at Le Mans the same year.

2017, having seen the Kiwi finally win at Le Mans, looked set to see him crowned WEC champion once again, along with Bernhard and fellow Kiwi Earl Bamber. However, an even bigger surprise was in store.

On Friday 13th October, following days of speculation, it was confirmed that Brendon would replace Pierre Gasly in the United States Grand Prix, the Frenchman opting to contest the final round of the Super Formula series.

While Toro Rosso made much of welcoming Brendon back to the fold, admitting that it was the youngster who made the initial approach, little was said in terms of the time it so cruelly dumped him.

In one of those strange twists of fate, while Brendon was due to drive Gasly's car, the other was to be driven by Daniil Kvyat, the man the Frenchman had replaced. Indeed, in one of those typical Red Bull/Toro Rosso quirks, Carlos Sainz had been loaned to Renault and as a result the Russian was called back to the fold to essentially replace himself.

Though his Austin outing hardly set the world alight, it was solid, and enough for the Faenza team to retain the Kiwi for the remainder of the season.

Unfortunately by this stage Renault's reliability issues had resurfaced and it was poor old Brendon who bore the brunt, the Kiwi suffering two engine-related DNFs in his four outings.

Nonetheless the Faenza team had seemingly seen enough and opted to retain Brendon - who by now had won his second WEC title having flipped between the two disciplines for a crazy eight weeks late in the year - alongside Gasly.

Going into 2018 however, the question mark wasn't so much hanging over the Kiwi, but rather the team's new engine partner Honda, not forgetting the fact that the car would be the 13th chassis from Toro Rosso... and we know how tempting fate worked out for Red Bull with the RB13.

Superstition aside, fact is that Toro Rosso, as sister - read guinea pig - to Red Bull has a fearsome reputation in terms of its turnover in drivers. Sadly, Brendon appears to have been the latest casualty.

OK, the kiwi didn't help his cause with some needless mistakes and embarrassing incidents - we're talking crashes, encounters with birds, misunderstanding the start procedure and almost taking out his own teammate in Baku.

On the other hand, in Monaco, Canada and Britain he was the hapless victim of a rival's over enthusiasm and, at Silverstone, a suspension failure.

Imagine, if you will, that just three races into the season, your team, which has a poor reputation in terms of driver turnover, is already seeking a replacement for you.

Of course, Brendon's cause wasn't helped once Red Bull confirmed that it would be using Honda engines in 2019, a move which saw Toro Rosso take on guinea pig status and poor old Brendon become fall-guy in chief.

By season end he had picked up grid penalties at eight races, more than any other driver.

That said, failing to convert his two best qualifying results - Hungary and Japan - into points finishes did little to aid his cause, while in Mexico there was a needless encounter with Ocon.

Fact is, having been out of the fold for so long, why did Toro Rosso take Brendon back on board in the first place - the fact that it was courting Lando Norris after just three races demonstrating that the Faenza team clearly had its doubts.

In the latter stages of the season, as well as having to deal with Gasly running to the media to rubbish him, Brendon had to work with a team that had already given up on him.

In a move that will surprise nobody familiar with the (strange) workings at Faenza, while Hartley was quickly dumped at season end, the team revealed that it had re-recruited Daniil Kvyat, a man who has been dropped by Toro Rosso and Red Bull more times than anyone can care to remember.

It was telling that at the end of the season, it was Honda that thanked Brendon for his efforts in 2018, eventually shaming Toro Rosso itself into issuing a parting 'farewell and good luck' message of its own.

While the F1 adventure appeared to be at an end, it was unlikely that Brendon would be out of work for long.

Indeed, on 4 February, Ferrari announced that the Kiwi would be one of four drivers recruited to its simulator programme as the Italian outfit sought to close the gap to Mercedes.

Finishing third in the 1000 Miles of Sebring with SMP Racing, where he replaced Jenson Button, Brendon subsequently replaced another F1 world champion, Fernando Alonso, as he joined Toyota's WEC squad for the 2019/2020 season.

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