The former pilot Toro Rosso talks about his 2018 and reveals the shock to the rumors of his rotation already in the GP of Monaco. And on the officialization of the cut after Abu Dhabi says: “There was a plan since Monaco to hunt me”
He had the luck of a second chance, 10 years away from the first, to race in Formula 1. A luxury for a few pilots. Brendon Hartley did not convince Red Bull Racing, who preferred to bet on Alexander Albon for the 2019. A cut that, the New Zealand rider, champion in the WEC with Porsche, says starting from a difficult championship beginning and from the discovery of the ruthless Formula 1 in the weekend of Monaco, the beginning point of the “plan” to replace him.
The confirmation that the path in Toro Rosso would be interrupted with the last race of Abu Dhabi, came shortly after the race of Yas Marina:
A meeting in which it was not said too much. It was clear, then, that since Monaco there was a plan in being to chase me
The championship start recorded the exceptional exploit of Gasly in Bahrain, Toro Rosso-Honda’s fourth to the finish, in the best race of the year for the team. Hartley misses the points, protagonist of an accident in startup:
I knew I had a car able to go to points and I was able to carry it. For this reason, the beginning of the championship was a little frustrating. I know that sometimes I could do a better job and I missed some opportunities. I could have used the absence of 7 years from the single-seater as an excuse but the point is that it was not an ideal start.
I left Bahrain knowing that I missed an opportunity to get the first points in F1 and I could not afford to lose many more, I knew I had to improve
Four points just at the end of the championship, the ninth place in Austin and two tenths in Baku and Hockenheim, the booty of last 2018.
The seat in Toro Rosso was immediately questioned, with rumors that pointed to a rotation with Lando Norris already in Canada, Norris that red Bull Racing would have wanted to hire for several seasons, instead found the McLaren.
Monaco was a difficult weekend. Today to look back on what I remember more than anything else, it is walking in the paddock to meet the media on Wednesdays before the start of the weekend, getting so many questions about my future.
I am here, a handful of races raced in my Formula 1 career and they ask me about the conclusion of my career.
The worst of that day, however, was to discover that in those rumors there was a part of truth. After a few races there were people, it would seem, that they did not want me there. I will be honest, it was a bit of a shock. Arriving in F1 with so much experience, two endurance championships won, a win at Le Mans, having done better than my teammate in qualifying in two of the first three races: it was difficult for me to believe that there were discussions on a replacement of mine so early.
It is life in F1, circulating so much money and people involved that it is natural there is politics
It is a very unique pressure, never proven before. But the way I responded, how I got engaged and pulled straight is one of the things I go proudest of the season
Last December the name of the New Zealand pilot was circulated as a possible second man to be committed to the Ferrari simulator in 2019, scenario denied by Hartley’s father, while Brendon, on his future, adds:
I am lucky to have different options in front, but I will have to make sure they do my case. I want something that continues to be a challenge, push me to improve myself. The door of F1 is not absolutely closed and the experience gained from a year in the top category will mean that I will get more prepared and strong for any opportunity it is going to be waiting