"Surprise" replacement talk made Hartley change

Brendon Hartley says he changed as a Formula 1 driver because of the “surprise” speculation that dogged the early part of his 2018 season.

"Surprise" replacement talk made Hartley change
Listen to this article

The New Zealander was handed a full Toro Rosso campaign for this year after being recalled to single-seaters by Red Bull in late-2017.

However, an early run of difficult results, combined with teammate Pierre Gasly grabbing a shock fourth in Bahrain, triggered intense speculation Hartley may be replaced.

Hartley told Motorsport.com: “I actually feel much stronger than I did at the start of the year, much more sure of myself.

“Having a lot of rumours and difficult questions to answer only three or four races into the season was a big surprise to me but it was a positive because it made me change my attitude, made me keep my focus in the right areas.

“I was also happy I could prove myself under a high-pressure situation, that I could perform and deliver.

“That was quite a defining moment for me. I was under so much pressure, it made me look at my approach, how I manage my time, where I put my mental energy.”

Hartley admitted to Motorsport.com earlier this year that he had to remind himself to enjoy racing in F1 amid that early speculation.

He described his change since then as being “focused more on me and doing it for myself”, without going as far as saying he has become selfish.

“It’s not that I was worried about what people were saying or talking about,” he said. “I guess to a certain extent you’re always aware.

“I feel much more focused on myself now. I feel a lot better because of it.”

Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

Asked what support he felt from his team and Red Bull at the start of the year, Hartley said: “I feel a valued member of Toro Rosso.

“It’s never up to one person, I’m working with a huge number of engineers day to day and I feel I do it in a professional way.

“In terms of upper management, there was speculation and pressure, which was somewhat of a surprise to me that early.

“But I have a good feeling, my focus is on the right area.

“Everyone has been positive with what I’ve been doing together with the team.”

While Hartley has only scored two points, earned in unlikely fashion in Azerbaijan and Germany, Gasly has 26 after adding seventh in Monaco and sixth in Hungary to his Bahrain result.

Gasly will be taking Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull seat next year, which may strengthen Hartley’s bid to stay at Toro Rosso as the energy drinks company does not have many alternatives.

Hartley believes his progress has been recognised by those in charge, even if it may not look as big to onlookers, and says he will not be distracted by thoughts about his future.

“I’m a firm believer that the other stuff will take care of itself,” said Hartley.

“It doesn’t make sense to waste mental energy looking too far ahead.”

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

shares
comments
Calderon still pushing for Sauber F1 test in 2018
Previous article

Calderon still pushing for Sauber F1 test in 2018

Next article

Renault expects Hulkenberg penalty in run-in

Renault expects Hulkenberg penalty in run-in
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022