How Hart­ley saved his For­mula One job

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Bren­don Hart­ley’s For­mula One team con­firmed they were se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing re­plac­ing the New Zealand driver.

Spec­u­la­tion about Hart­ley’s fu­ture at Toro Rosso has in­creased with the Kiwi snar­ing just one cham­pi­onship point in a sea­son where he has strug­gled for pace and luck with crashes com­pli­cat­ing his high-pres­sure cam­paign.

Im­prove­ments at the last GP in Canada ap­pear to have eased the pres­sure on Hart­ley. He re­ceived the Honda en­gine up­grade and qual­i­fied 12th be­fore he was the vic­tim of an­other un­for­tu­nate ac­ci­dent with young Cana­dian driver Lance Stroll tak­ing him out just five turns into the race.

‘‘If the tra­jec­tory had not im­proved, then we would have had to look some­where for an al­ter­na­tive,’’ Red Bull Rac­ing con­sul­tant Dr Hel­mut Marko said.

‘‘But that’s not the case and Bren­don is now com­pet­i­tive.’’

The re­port said Red Bull ap­proached Mclaren about snar­ing Bri­tain’s Lando Nor­ris. But the deal fell through with Mclaren only of­fer­ing to loan Nor­ris for the re­main­der of the sea­son when Red Bull were look­ing for a more per­ma­nent ar­range­ment.

Marko said Hart­ley’s Cana­dian disaster hadn’t in­flu­enced their think­ing around him as Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly ral­lied from a qual­i­fy­ing penalty that put him at the back of the start­ing grid to fin­ish 11th.

‘‘Mr Stroll was in­volved,’’ he said of Hart­ley’s mishap. ‘‘Pierre’s 11th place is en­cour­ag­ing, with Bren­don per­haps look­ing a bit bet­ter.’’

France’s Gasly has col­lected 18 points to be 11th on the driv­ers cham­pi­onship.

Hart­ley and Gasly will drive for Toro Rosso at this week­end’s French Grand Prix, the eighth race of a 21-stop sea­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.