Meet Brendon Hartley | Scuderia Toro Rosso

Meet Brendon Hartley

Let’s have a chat with Brendon…

Meet Brendon Hartley

You squeezed four Grands Prix into a very busy 2017, now what do you expect from 2018?
BH: I’m looking forward to a lot of new challenges and I’m particularly excited about the first event. Australia isn’t a home race for me, but when I was back in New Zealand, every second or third person I met told me they were coming to watch in Melbourne. So I’m hoping to see a lot of New Zealand flags there. Generally, I’m looking forward to the whole season as this is something I’ve dreamed about my whole life.

First impressions of working with Honda?
BH: What is very clear from all of the meetings we’ve had so far is they are working very hard. I have to say there’s a lot of positive energy around the factory about this partnership with Honda and it is a huge opportunity for our team. I’m also really looking forward to meeting Honda’s sushi chef!

You almost made it to F1 several years ago, but it didn’t happen.
What is different for you this time?
BH: I tested F1 cars but when it came to the racing I wasn’t up to it. But endurance racing gave me a lot of the experience I needed and let me grow as a driver. I was able to work alongside top professional team-mates, in a team as big as any F1 team, driving a very complicated car and taking part in fierce racing. I feel that at 28 I’m a lot more prepared than I was at 18.

What do you think of the halo?
BH: F1 cars are sexy and an aerodynamicist’s dream, but the halo looks like an add-on rather than an integral part of the car. But I understand the safety aspect and, from working with it in the simulator, it won’t change much for us when we are driving.

You’re only the ninth New Zealander to race in F1.
What does that mean to you?
BH: There’s a huge history of motor sport in New Zealand and the reaction back home since I’ve been in F1 and even before that in LMP1 has been incredible. I get huge support. There are a lot of New Zealand drivers competing at the moment at a very high level and it’s been referred to as something of a golden era for New Zealand motorsport. I am aware of our history in the sport and I’m very proud to be flying the flag once again.