The comment was made in the wake of the decision made overnight in Austria to change the entire power unit on the New Zealander's car, thus for the second successive weekend the WEC world champion incurred a full 35-place grid penalty hit.
At Silverstone the kiwi crashed heavily following the failure of his front suspension, meaning he was unable to take part in qualifying, while the FIA ordered Toro Rosso to change the entire front suspension on teammate Pierre Gasly's car as a precaution.
With the Faenza outfit failing to score a single point since Monaco, thereby slipping to eighth in the standings, the one table the team is leading is that of power unit components, with Hartley now on his sixth internal combustion engine and fifth turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K, while Gasly is on his fourth internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H.
With Red Bull now having jumped ship to Honda, it appears that things are likely to get a whole lot worse for the Faenza pair as Red Bull has given the all-clear for Honda to test its upgrades whenever they are ready to run no matter how many more penalties it results in.
"Of course we leave the decision to Honda," Helmut Marko told Auto Motor und Sport. "But if they find a tenth with the development, of course, they can try the upgrade in the race… even if that means we're taking penalties for it."
While the idea of the Italian team being used as the test lab for Red Bull will frustrate Gasly and Hartley, it makes sense for the Austrian team which will want to hit the ground running in 2019, even if it means sister team taking the pain this year.