How Hartley saved his Formula One job
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.