Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

Hartley to change number for second grand prix

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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Brendon Hartley will switch racing numbers for this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

The Toro Rosso driver ran as number 39, one of Toro Rosso’s reserve driver numbers, when he made his debut last weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. Hartley, who is set to see out the rest of the season with the team, has now chosen to use number 28.

“It was a steep learning curve in Austin last week so I’m looking forward to putting some of the lessons learnt into practice this weekend here in Mexico,” said Hartley, who won the World Endurance Championship round at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit last month.

“It’s a tricky venue for the engineers, as the high altitude plays havoc on downforce and cooling, but from a driving point of view it’s a great track and one I really enjoy.”

Number 28 was last used by Will Stevens in 2015. Hartley previously used it in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2011.

Pierre Gasly will return to Toro Rosso this weekend for his third grand prix start.

“I’ve never raced there,” said Gasly, “so it will be exciting to learn a new one.”

“I’ve been there as a reserve driver with Red Bull for the last two years and I think it’s a unique event. The atmosphere there is very special, the fans are great and very passionate. The part of the stadium in the last sector is also amazing, always full of spectators cheering the drivers on. It’s great to see all the grandstands completely full.”

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 38 comments on “Hartley to change number for second grand prix”

    1. I thought drivers couldn’t change numbers, so how does that work? And I also thought 28 was reserved until 2018, if it was used in 2015, no?

      1. He hasn’t changed numbers. 39 is Toro Rosso’s spare number, for stand-ins. 28 is Hartley’s private number.

        Regarding Will Stevens using 28 and now Hartley, that does surprise me. I was also under the impression that a number is reserved for 3 years.

        1. When permanent driver numbers were introduced for the 2014 season, it was noted that they would be reserved for 3 years (although I wish I could find an article to back this up). So Hartley using number 28 does not seem to follow this rule.

          1. @georgeod – Are you suggesting the FIA don’t apply their own rules consistently???? :P

      2. Yes – it should indeed be reserved until 2018. Sporting regulations state two full seasons must pass.

        “Prior to the start of the 2014 World Championship season race numbers will be permanently allocated to drivers by ballot, such numbers must then be used by that driver during every Formula One World Championship Event he takes part in throughout his career in Formula 1. A driver’s career in Formula 1 will be deemed to have ended if he does not participate in an Event for two entire consecutive Championship seasons.”

        So I assume there must be an option for a driver who knows he won’t be back in F1 (I’m sure Stevens is well aware that he won’t be back) to release his number to someone else.

        1. I’m sure Stevens is well aware that he won’t be back

          @neilosjames Given Hartley’s unexpected ‘return’ to F1, Kubica’s discussions with Renault and Williams and the possible return of Di Resta coming back perhaps it’s not so certain?

        2. A driver’s career in Formula 1 will be deemed to have ended if he does not participate in an Event for two entire consecutive Championship seasons.”

          That is not in line with Stevens driving in 2015. Come Australia 2018, Hartley should definitely be permitted to pick number 28. Before that, however, it doesn’t quite add up.

          I think having him select a number rather than letting him use Toro Rosso’s designated reserve number implies he is indeed an option for 2018.

    2. With today’s news that Kvyat will not be returning to Torro Rosso, it wasn’t until this article that I realized that TR is running drivers this weekend with a total of 3 F1 race starts!

      It is also entirely possible that they could start 2018 with the same drivers, so they’ll only have 9 race starts between them. Is that the experience that you want when starting with a new engine partner?

      1. Where is three race starts coming from? Gasly has done one and Hartley has done one. Or am I missing something huge?

        1. Gadly did Malaysia and Japan.

      2. Does experience really matter for torro rosso? I get the impression as they are been used by red bull as a test bed for honda, the kind of feed back say McLaren needed or given would be different. And essentially, red bull are running a team that gets free engines, and some $40 million in funding for free.

      3. Clearly they dont want experienced drivers driving a car with a new engine which may or may not reap results. Alonso is an extreme example. Take Sainz for instance. 3 yrs in STR, one more year with Honda and he would certainly rot away. Only adds to the teams financial woes. Now, you dont have to pay Gasly or Hartley much, plus limited liability wrt engines, and voila, STR is perhaps not such a bad business to run.

        1. Plus, Hartley knows how to communicate with race engineers as he has 10 years of experience on that account; even with hybrid technology race cars (LMP1).

          1. This is one of the reasons why I think picking Hartley is an inspired choice, excellent ability to communicate feedback to the engineers. Other great reasons include:

            – Top level racing experience (he has won Le Mans, and the WEC World Championship in 2015, and is likely to win it again this year);
            – Factory team experience;
            – Familiarity with complex hybrid systems (I would argue that the Porsche LMP1 hybrid is system is a whole level more complicated than F1);
            – On track consistency; and
            – Familiarity with a large number of F1 circuits. Since Hartley has been in WEC they have raced at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, COTA, Shanghai, Bahrain, Sao Paulo, Nurburgring, and Mexico. The Porsche 919 has tested at Monza, Paul Ricard, and Abu Dhabi (probably more). He has raced in Junior Formulas at Monaco, Hungaroring, Catalunya, and Hockehheim. This means the circuits on next year’s calendar that he might not be familiar with are Melbourne, Montreal, Red Bull Ring, Singapore, Sochi, and Suzuka. Also lets not forget he was a simulator driver with Mercedes for a while, so he might have driven most of these circuits virtually.

            All up having a car with a new engine partner it is kind of handy to have a level headed, consistent, articulate driver who can give good feedback to the engineers, driving on circuits that he is generally familiar with.

      4. This is a very weak driver lineup for Torro Rosso. At 27 years, Hartley is no spring chicken. Gasly, the youngster, does not have a good reference and therefore it would be difficult to judge progress. The only gambit here is 2018 Honda engine. With a lineup such as this and if there is no engine upgrade, Torro Rosso may find themselves well out of the points, but not necessarily out of funds.

        1. Does it matter that Harley is 27 years old? I’m 28 years old myself and not a has been!

          1. If he wasn’t fast enough 6 years ago, why would he be now?

            You can make a fast driver consistent, but making a consistent driver fast is a lot harder.

        2. @pinakghosh
          I really don’t think constructor’s position next year is a big priority for Toro Rosso. They’re essentially testing/developing the Honda engine in advance of Red Bull potentially using it later, I fully expect them to take the position Sauber has been occupying this season. What they need is two technically minded drivers who will bring the car home every weekend, which is presumably one reason why Kvyat got dumped.

          As a fellow 28 year old I also object to this blatant ageism!


          You can make a fast driver consistent

          Well, that didn’t work with Maldonado ;). It’s too early to say how fast or not he’ll be, considering he’s been out of single seaters for so long I though he did a decent job in Austin.

      5. Do you need experienced drivers to do 10 – 20 laps a weekend before breaking down? New drivers to the sport will be excited to just be involved even if it is primarily jumping on the back of a moped to ride back to the pits.

    3. This is hell confusing. Who’s using the car originally used by Sainz, btw?

      1. Car A: Sainz -> Kvyat -> Gasly
        Car B: Kvyat -> Gasly -> Hartley

        1. Can they do that with Gasly driving both cars at one point? Surely if that’s allowed, the other teams would be swapping their drivers about? They’d pick a number 1 driver and when he’s about to take an engine penalty, they’d swap him into the other car…..

      2. Duncan Snowden
        26th October 2017, 2:52

        It was Kvyat in America – the C4 team commented on it during practice, and mentions that Hartley was in the Gasly car (i.e. the one Kvyat started the year in) – but who knows what they’ll do when Gasly returns. Surely they’d want him to stick with the side of the garage he already knows? Mind you, you’d think they’d have done the same with Kvyat.

        “Confusing” is right.

      3. @fer-no65 I’m sure it will be Gasly as he’s taking Kvyat’s place which was using the car originally used by Sainz as well as the PU element allocation, race engineer, and mechanics.

      4. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        26th October 2017, 10:49

        I somewhat remember that there was a regulation about how and how often teams can switch drivers. I think it also makes a distinction between 1st and 2nd cars…

        1. @hanswesterbeek The only relevant rule is that teams must not use more than 4 drivers in a season across both cars.

          1. So if Gasly or Hartley are ill or injured Kvyat has to be called up again?

    4. Just gotta say that after being a New Zealander following the F1 for 17 years, having Brendon racing has taken my enjoyment and emotional involvement in the sport to a whole new level! Have followed him since he was about 15 in the Toyota racing series and I had given up on ever seeing a kiwi in F1 (we don’t have any big sponsors able to fund drivers – almost impossible to get into F1 without one!). We do have great drivers all around the world in Indy cars, WEC, Formula E and the V8 super cars. Very pleased the the biggest stage has finally given NZ fans a driver!

      I know that people aren’t happy about RB’s handling of drivers but no other team has made this fan happier.. so thank you Red Bull, look forward to seeing what Brendan can do with this opportunity.

      1. @antznz Kiwi’s like Finns punch well above their well weight in all level’s of motorsport.(l remember seeing the late great possum in action)
        l hope Hartley soars in F1 been long over due for a Kiwi driver and l hope we get a NZ F1 in the near future

      2. It’s nice to see a country close to ours, in sporting history terms, having a driver there. In South Africa, I doubt we’ll ever have another driver again, since government withdrew any support from all motorsport(including circuits), and companies suffering under their mismanagement of public funds and lack of support as well, so nothing will happen under sponsorship either.

        So for me, NZ would be the next best thing, due to our close sporting history and relations. I wish Hartley all the best. :)

        1. Danny Ric lives just over the water from SA…. But it is great to see a Kiwi in F1, i just hope the Honda engine is a rocket in 12 months time..

      3. @antznz, Ant .. don’t you remember Denny Hulme ?? ok , so he was F1 champion even before I was born (and sadly I was there the day at Bathurst that he passed away) and us Aussies haven’t had a F1 champ since 1980 either

        1. @potsie159 oh yeah I know we have some amazing heritage with Denny and Bruce, but that was many decades ago and before I was born.. I did mean finally as it in has been a long time since that golden era! It’s a bit more special as I’m from the same town as Hartley. We definitely remember Denny and Bruce here. I’ve seen several of the historic mclarens including cars that Denny won races in, amazing machines!

    5. Toro Rosso doing their best this season to give pub quizzes obscure F1 trivia rounds for the foreseeable future

    6. After this weekends GP, Toro Rosso will have used 10, 26, 28, 39 and 55 on their cars. When was the last time a team used 5 numbers in a F1 season?

    7. Regarding Will , Stevens using 28 and now Hartley, that does surprise me. I was also under the impression that a number is reserved for 3 years.

    Comments are closed.