Brendon and Sarah Hartley

A Heartly Holiday

January 16, 2018

From Kiwi summer to Austrian winter

In Formula 1 we're used to a busy schedule, but Brendon Hartley surely takes the record for his end of 2017 work rate, cramming in four World Endurance Championship rounds and four Formula 1 races in October and November last year. We caught up with the newest member of our driver line-up in New Zealand, just before he heads back to Europe to start preparing for this year's Formula 1 World Championship.

 

By the time Sunday night came in Abu Dhabi last year, you must have been ready for a bit of a holiday.

BH: During that end of year period I was racing every weekend, going from WEC to F1 and back again, crossing into different time zones. Especially at the start of those races, there was still a lot of negotiations to do with the F1 drive, which meant a few late nights and that had caught up with me a bit. So, I was definitely a bit tired by the end of it, but I loved every minute of it and I'm not complaining. I needed a break and a recharge.

But you couldn't head home to New Zealand straight away...

BH: No, because I had a very full time immediately after Abu Dhabi, attending the FIA Awards (did we mention Brendon took his second WEC Championship title last year?) a seat fitting at the Toro Rosso factory, Porsche Christmas party and awards, the Autosport and BRDC awards in the UK, so I basically spent a week wearing a dinner jacket! It was enjoyable as there was so much to celebrate. After that, I had time to reflect on how the year had gone and I got back home just before Christmas and caught up with my family, some of whom I hadn't seen for a long time as I usually get home just once a year for around a month. I enjoyed the New Zealand summer, doing a lot of mountain biking. I'd say that's my favourite thing, just going off on my bike, getting up into the mountains, having a bit of "alone time," chilling out and enjoying some of the best of what New Zealand has to offer.

 

 

Looking at the photos, you certainly packed in a lot of activities...

BH: Yes, there was plenty to do, including heading to Queenstown for a friend's fiftieth birthday, an amazing helicopter trip through the Milford Sounds, as well as a day go-karting at my local track and, as you can see, they've named the road that leads to it after me!

And there was one very important event for you a short while ago...

BH: Yes, Sarah and I got married a few days ago, it was very relaxed and all went off perfectly. It was everything we wanted it to be. We had a lot of friends who came over from Europe for the wedding. But, it being such a long way, they didn't just come for the day of the wedding. That meant we had a very social time as several of them came for a few weeks and it was nice to catch up with them and show them what New Zealand has to offer.

 

So you were able to forget about racing completely...

BH: Not completely, because although I made sure I relaxed I did start on my training programme, which was important as I am working with a new trainer this year. Now, I'm feeling good and excited to come back to Europe. It's always sad to leave New Zealand, but I can't wait to get the 2018 season underway. My first stop off will be in Kitzbuhel to watch the famous Hahnenkamm skiing race with the guys from Red Bull. I've only been on skis once in my life, so I might just try a snowmobile. It's going to be quite a contrast going from the heat of the New Zealand summer to the snow in Austria. Then February will be quite busy, with my main focus being on my fitness. Apart from that there'll be another seat fitting, work in the simulator and a filming day, all building up to the start of testing.

And after that, you get to head back down to the Southern Hemisphere again.

BH: Yes, Australia isn't a home race, but the number of people I've met in the streets here in New Zealand who have told me they are coming to the Australian Grand Prix means I'm expecting to see a few Kiwis in Melbourne. That will feel special, as I haven't raced in front of a home crowd for around 13 years, as I've been away so long. It's really cool and the response in New Zealand has been amazing.