Toro Rosso: Brendon Hartley ‘will fight in F1 for success’
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Despite suffering a disappointing engine failure in his second Formula 1 race, Kiwi driver Brendon Hartely looks to have proven his value to the Toro Rosso team and has emerged as a key piece to both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing’s future.
Team principals from both teams fronted media during the Mexican Grand Prix where the two Red Bull-backed squads praised the credentials, talent and dedication of Hartley, who they believe can ‘fight in Formula 1 for success.’
When questioned about Hartley’s technical ability, a skill that many in the Formula 1 paddock may not have seen, Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost was quick to remind Formula 1 journalists of the Kiwi’s record.
“You must have seen it from outside, because he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and he won the LMP1 world championship – that means the results are there,” said Tost.
“Brendon is a very high-skilled driver. He is very committed, passionate for motor sport, and I am really happy that he is back and I can tell you that if we give him a competitive car he will be there and he will also fight in Formula 1 for success.”
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, front, and Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley, during the second practice session for the Formula One Mexico Grand Prix. Photo / AP
Tost doubled down on his support for Hartley, hinting that a seat at Toro Rosso is all but secured for 2018.
“I hope that especially next year that we will bring together a competitive package that he can also fight for victories and good positions.”
Red Bull Racing team principle, Christan Horner echoed Tost’s comments about Toro Rosso’s current lineup, stating that the currently driver lineup has been selected with “an eye on the future and the future for next year and beyond.”
“I think the two drivers that Franz has for next year represent two exciting prospects for Red Bull Racing potentially further down the line,” said Horner.
Horner also acknowledged the journey Hartley has taken after being dropped from the Red Bull development programme.
“There was no remorse (after being dropped), there was no “poor me” or “haven’t I been badly treated,” said Horner.
Brendon Hartley drives his car during the final practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix. Photo / AP
“At the time he thanked Red Bull for the opportunity and endeavoured to stay in touch.
“At that point he had nothing else to race. He went back to racing Minis, historic Formula One cars, anything he could get his hands on he raced.
“He showed a passion and a commitment to keep doing what he believed in himself as a race car driver.
“He renewed his association with Red Bull when he became a sports car driver with Porsche, and became a world champion, and again is competing for that world championship again this year.
“I think it’s testimony to him, his determination and tenacity, and skill and talent that he has got himself back into a position where he has been selected to be in the Toro Rosso car for the races that he is doing.”
If those comments are anything to go by, we could be seeing a lot more of Hartley in Formula 1 from 2018.