Brendon Hartley

Some time ago I was nominated to write a thread about Brendon. I'm not sure why, never met the bloke and don't really like him. Anyway, he's 28, comes from New Zealand and his wife is called Sarah. What more do you need to know?

More serioulsy, in 2010 he was dropped by the Red Bull young driver programme and now drives for Toro Rosso and is (probably) the oldest driver to debut for the Bulls ever. If this assertion is wrong I'm happy to be corrected.

Looking back through his junior career there really isn't anything that jumps out as to why Red Bull would have taken him on in their young driver programme but with their support he won the Formula Renault 2.0 series in 2007 so Dr Marko must have seen something. He was 3rd in the British F3 championship in 2008, behind Jaime Alguerwatsit and Oliver Turvey and that was sort of a high point until he turned to endurance racing.

He was nominated as reserve driver at RBR and Toro Rosso in 2009 and 2010 and ran some test sessions but, as mentioned before, was dropped mid season by Red Bull as he hadn't won a race in the junior categories he was competeing in since 2008. It wasn't until 2013 that another race win came his way, with a win each in the Rolex Sports Car Series and ELMS. He also had a run out in LMP2 at Le Mans finishing 6th in class.

2014 was a step up to LMP1 with Porsche who were returning to the category after a 16 year break.
(they had entered a car in LMP2 but I'm taking about the senior category in Endurance Racing so if you want to correct me please go and sit on the pendants step and think about what you would like to do)
The car was up against some serious opposition in Audi and Toyota in hybrid world. The sister Porsche won the last race that season as the team made progress. Hartley managed 3 podiums, sharing the car with Timo Bernhard and Mark Webber.

2015 and 2017 saw Hartley win the FIA World Endurance Championship with Bernhard and Webber in '15 and Bernhard and Earl Bamber in 2017. The Bernhard, Hartley and Bamber car also won the Le Mans 24 hour in 2017.

In 2017 Hartley made his "comeback" in F1 as Red Bull rang the changes at Toro Rosso and he was brought back in as one of their drivers. Truth be told, although he was dropped from the Red Bull F1 programme he always had a continuing association as his helmet always carried Red Bull sponsorship throughout his endurance career.

It has to be said that his first races back in F1 were underwhelming but then with little testing and a car which was going backwards it is difficult to gauge how well either he or Pierre Gasly were performing. With the Honda engine for 2018 both he and Gasly have an opportunity to show what they are worth. Gasly is 6 years Hartley's junior but then some drivers mature at different rates. Fangio won his first title at 39... Gooo Brendan! Your time is now.
Yeah he is a bit of a anonymous person. Said before on the most liked & least liked poll. He was 1 of 2 drivers that didn't get 1 vote in either. But good luck to the guy, damon hill did get a shot until he was 32
Things are not looking good for Brenda

However I think he'll make the season. The drivers listed as potential replacements don't make much sense really.

Wehrlein - Merc youth driver so no

Giovanazzi - Ferrari youth driver so no

Kubica - maybe I guess

Galeal - no super licence plus he's crap

Jake Dennis - a good idea given that he has links to Aston Martin and tested the car - but he has no super licence so no.

Not listed as a potential is Oli Rowland who does have a superlicence and is ready to go. Neither have we seen Felix Da Costa or Buemi linked to this seat who are also good to go. For that reason I don't think rumours are true just yet.
I did read that Kubica might be being lined up to replace Brendon Hartley. He's being totally overshadowed by Pierre Gasly and does look to be struggling. Plus Toro Rosso, along with Red Bull, like a good headline grabbing story. Bringing Robert Kubica back would get them the big headlines, and he's coped well so far in testing but is he up to the stresses and strains of racing? If he's not it's going to be tough on him and the team. Renault and Williams clearly thought he wasn't so it would be a gamble.

I feel bad for Hartley if they do get rid of him, he's not really had much of a chance to shine given he's had some car issues that have held him back this season if I remember right.
One kiwi for another kiwi? Hmmm. Would have to check Evans super licence status but would love to see him get a shot.
Looking at the requirements, he may not qualify. His last three years have only seen him score 4 points on the License Qualification Table. Ironically, had he have made the jump 2 years ago he would have made it based on the previous 3 years without any problems.

I think he would have to qualify for a license based on proven prior performance in junior categories.

It would be great to see him have a chance though.
Absolutely nothing to do with this thread, other than his name was mentioned, but the mention of the name Pierre Gasly always reduces my hubby to hysterics.
I expect that’s probably not a politically correct reaction.
It is strange how suddenly the Red Bull young driver programme has suddenly hit the skids so to speak in that they have not got anyone good enough to be promoted now
Hartley is lucky to be given a lifeline as drivers who fall out with Helmut or get dropped don;t get a second chance. He represents everything really not part of the Red Bull philosophy - 2nd chance and over 25 years old

As far as replacements I would have thought Honda want a Japanese driver to keep the association a happy one but I have not seen many mentioned at the moment

Red Bull might as well go and recall Alex Lynn who not long ago was touted as good as Sainz and Verstappen and beat Gasly in their year as teammates in Gp2 based on countback when he was still with the programme but his career has stalled in the last 3 years
Alex Lynn does not have a super licence. Plus he's be awful in Formula E.

No Japanese drivers (young ones anyway) hold super licences hence them not being talked about.

Ticktum might have one at a push by end of season.
RasputinLives That is what I mean Lynn's career has gone backwards since leaving the Red Bull programme and beating Gasly in Gp2. He's getthing thrashed by Bird in F2 as well

I would have thought Matshushita was in with a shout but clearly not

Ticktum I think still needs a few years going F2 at least before he gets to be promoted

Now Kubica is being mentioned as a replacement which is as left field Toro Rosso can be in driver replacelemts
That's two races in a row now that Hartley has been unlucky and taken out by others having an incident. First Leclerc clouted him in Monaco when his brakes failed and then Stroll threw him in the wall. I'm actually starting to feel for Hartley, he did a good job in quali and got the car into 12th and then that happened. I know his days are probably numbered but the last two lousy results/DNFs were nothing to do with him. They were just bad luck.
He's only had 10 races in the Toro Rosso but it seems that Red Bull / Toro Rosso realise maybe he does not have the potential to be a future world champion
You know how Deadpool 2's character Domino's superpower is being lucky? Hartley is the opposite of that. He may have all the skills but he's unlucky and if I had to choose between skill and luck, I'll take luck. I am a Porsche fan so I was thrilled to see him come to F1 after watching his drives in the Porsche 919 but he just can't catch a break.
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