Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Hartley’s LMP1 experience gives him a secret weapon – Tost

2018 F1 season

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Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says Brendon Hartley’s LMP1 experience has given him a “fantastic” talent for saving fuel.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with RaceFans, Tost described how the technique Hartley learned while driving Porsche’s hybrid racer in the World Endurance Championship is helping him in F1.

“We observed already he is doing a fantastic job saving fuel,” said Tost. He knows exactly how to do this in a very efficient way. This is for sure coming from LMP1.”

Brendon Hartley, Porsche, 2017
Hartley won 12 WEC races with Porsche
Having a good fuel-saving technique allows a team to reduce the amount of fuel it puts in the car and therefore run lighter. However the differences between Formula One’s hybrid systems and those used in WEC means there is a limit to how much knowledge Hartley can transfer from his WEC days, said Tost.

“These are two different systems,” he said. “LMP1 [is] more or less a four-wheel drive.”

Hartley said the two technologies are “very different.”

“At Porsche we had the brake-by-wire on the front axle and the e-motor was through the front axle so the two engines were completely disconnected. Where here all the power and the brake-by-wire goes through the rear axle. Which is also why you notice it less because all the power’s going through the rear axle.

“To understand as a driver it’s quite straightforward: You push the foot down and you get lots of power.”

According to Hartley F1’s hybrid systems are “pretty seamless” and require little management on the driver’s part. “You don’t really notice you’re driving a hybrid,” he said.

“I don’t know how many horsepower I have at my disposal at my right foot but it’s a lot and there’s not really too many things to manage now. I think the teams and manufacturers manage it quite well behind the scenes so you almost forget that you’re driving a hybrid.”

Hartley’s first ‘home’ weekend

Brendon Hartley, 2018
Toro Rosso sponsor Casio arranged for Hartley to get an aerial view of the Albert Park track ahead of his ‘home’ race

Hartley said this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix will be “special” as it’s the closest the New Zealander has come to having a home race.

“It’s funny because I think it’ll be the first time in many years, probably ever, that I’ll see so many New Zealand flags in the stands,” he said. “Over the summer every second person I spoke to told me they were coming to Melbourne which was a bit of a surprise.”

“I know it’s not a home race but it’ll be great to race so close to home.”

Read more from Franz Tost in our exclusive interview with him here

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Author information

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’s LMP1 experience gives him a secret weapon – Tost”

  1. F1’s hybrid systems are “pretty seamless” and require little management on the driver’s part.

    Well that is a bit of a shot fired

      1. Because the popular belief is that the hybrids are so damn hard to drive with bad drivability and huuuuuge torque.

        1. @rethla
          Well, that’s partly true. But entirely disconnected from Hartley’s statement.
          What Hartley says can be taken as a compliment for the hybrid technology in F1, which functions almost seamlessly, whereas the technology in LMP1 feels a bit patched together. An F1 driver doesn’t need to think that much about the hybrid nature of his Power Unit. The power delivery is rather predictable, and the MGU component only becomes noticeable in the form of de-rates, that don’t really need managing by the driver in the concrete situation. Different engine mappings can be chosen to avoid de-rates in unsuitable places, or to recharge the batteries for an attack at a later stage. And that’s basically it.

          What Hartley means:
          F1 hybrids are finely engineered.

          What Hartley doesn’t mean:
          F1 cars are easy to drive.

        2. Nobody has ever said that. They are easiest cars by far because the electronics do most of the work.

          1. @socksolid
            What are you talking about?

          2. The hybrids have perfectly linear torque curves and no turbo lag at all making the engines easy to handle. The torque curve is smother than on the V8s. But the peak torque band is narrow so they need 8 gears. The cars also have essentially an abs on the rear axle due to the way the energy recovery works. With the V8s and V10s the teams used to add little throttle during braking to avoid rear axle locking in braking zones (and it was still harder to get it right and it was banned somewhere during v8 era). Now the computer essentially controls the braking on the rear wheels and when you turn in into a corner it gives you just the right amount of diff locking and engine braking making the car easier to drive. Back in the V10 era drivers like alonso had doubts about their skills after the first test of the year. In hybrids even the strolls and ericssons feel comfortable and capable.

            On mid corner the hybrids limit your power and on corner exit when the driver gets on power the computer decides when it gives you the full power (energy deployment). That means less wheelspin and easier to drive the car out of corners. They have the tracks mapped so each corner and session has its own numbers. Plus the bazillion different engine maps for different tire wears and compounds. This is one of the reasons hybrids are bad race engines. They make it almost impossible for drivers to make mistakes which is proven by the fact that the only kind of errors we see a driver make is brake too late and miss the corner. But out of corners ericsson can drive the car just as quickly as hamilton. Well, in reality hamilton’s car has better electronics. When is the last time you saw a driver get loose on corner exit? 2013?

          3. By getting loose I actually mean spinning.

          4. What is easy is sitting behind a keyboard and talking rubbish.

          5. @socksolid You’re confusing the middle 2010’s for the early-to-mid 2000’s

            Because the popular belief is that the hybrids are so damn hard to drive with bad drivability and huuuuuge torque.

            @rethla the comment mentioned “seamless” and “little management” though. Doubt that’s really related to driveability and torque. It’s about

            teams and manufacturers manage it quite well behind the scenes so you almost forget that you’re driving a hybrid

            As nase said.

          6. @socksolid
            Sorry mate, but I’m gonna have to agree with @major-dev here (in essence but not in vocabulary). Your comment contains so many inaccuracies or even falsehoods that I just don’t know where to begin.

          7. I don’t think I see nothing incorrect in socksolid’s paragraph. All the drivers have complained that the cars are too easy to drive, and like it or not with computer control over everything any kink in power delivery or braking will be nulled by software – it would be dumb not to. There are ample examples of maps for everything, and who was it that couldn’t drive the car around the track because he said “the map didn’t know which corner it was in”?

          8. Chip McDonald, actually, yes, there are considerable errors in socksolid’s post, to the point where, given his repeated stance on this site and the way that he has refused to accept any criticism of his posts by other posters here, I am beginning to wonder whether socksolid is being employed to run an active disinformation campaign on this site.

            Just as a start, Cosworth published their own simulations of the current V6 turbo engines, as against the old V8 engine they produced, that show that he is completely wrong about the usable torque band (and I would rather trust their judgement than that of socksolid). The V8 engines had notoriously narrow peak power bands – less than 2,000rpm – and were pretty gutless at low revs, whilst his comments about driver aids ignore the fact that the V10’s and V8’s existed in an era when devices such as traction control, or the existence of two way telemetry systems (allowing people on the pit lane to adjust the performance of the engine on behalf of the driver) were fully legal.

          9. Just for the record this anon dude is almost fanatically following me around this site.

            But I’ll reply anyways. First of all I never said the V8s had lots of torque. No idea what is your point to disprove something I never said. I said the V8s were less smooth than the hybrids. Again it is another fact that the hybrids use the electric power to make the engine torque curves more linear and fill in the gaps in the engine torque curve with electric power. They are smoother. Especially in corner exits when throttle control is important. Making the car easier to drive.

            And yes, the V8s were gutless at low rpms. Any race engine is gutless at low rpm if it is small capacity high revving engine. Even V10s were gutless at low rpms. The 3,5 liters were gutless at low rpms. Even the 1000hp turbos were gutless at low rpm. But the reason why the hybrids needed 8 gears was narrow power band. Not narrower than x. Just narrow. And also because of fuel saving. Although the main reason probably was that there are less gear ratios to use during season so the same gear ratios need to work in monaco and monza.

            But look at me refusing accept any criticism. In fact I’ll welcome any criticism when it is facts. But no. I’m obviously being paid by the v10 (or v12?) mafia to inject contradictory statements to this hybrid… discussion. (do you think someone might actually pay me to do this? I could be rich in no time!)

            And yes V10s had traction control. Have never denied that either. Still difficult enough to drive:
            I’m still waiting for the similar vid from hybrid era.

            You once again did not offer any usable criticism. You did not address a single point I made. If my posts are so full of errors then it should be easy to find at least one to dismiss with facts. Here’s list of statements for you to dissect at your leisure:
            – hybrids use the electric power to make the engine torque curves smoother
            – hybrid regenerative braking acts like abs on rear axle
            – V10s used to add throttle on corner entry to prevent rear tires from locking/yaw control
            – f1 engines are set up so that every corner (probably different sectors per each corner) has essentially its own torque curve/electric power deployment

            Have at it.

          10. fill in the gaps in the engine torque curve with electric power

            Oh Dear. If i learnt anything from Jurassic Park it is that it’s never good to fill the gaps in something ancient with something modern.

          11. socksolid, so, now you are resorting to smear campaigns whenever somebody happens to criticise you? You really are quite a nasty piece of work, aren’t you.

          12. I knew it. You are nothing but a troll anon.

      1. @mrboerns
        But can you repeat the question?

  2. Hopefully he is able to stick around, personality is healthy for the sport

  3. Not a great accolade for the sport, when your talent is “saving fuel”
    I’d put that on par with my friend, he’s great at saving for his pension!

    1. In all fairness saving resources was a significant part of what made Prost great. And he’s won as many titles as VET and HAM.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard
        Coincidentally, no-one has ever put Prost on the same pedestal as Senna and Schumacher.

        1. Nor Piquet. Doesn’t make them right imo.

          Besides loads of people would put Schumacher under (insert driver here, maybe JV?). Doesn’t make them right either though, of course.

        2. @damon, actually, yes, I have seen people put Prost on the same level as those two drivers, if not even rank him as a better driver. In polls from the 1990’s, you would usually see Prost and Senna being fairly evenly ranked – however, with Senna often having had more favourable media coverage over the subsequent years, with Prost being painted as more of a villain, that seems to have influenced the trend in more recent years to rank Senna over Prost.

    2. When you’re driving a Honda it is..

    3. “saving fuel” is what the hybrids are all about.

      1. … or any combustion engine in competitive racing, for that matter.

        1. Yes. F1 used to be all about fuel saving, lifting and coasting in pre-hybrid era. Rally and gt racing also compete who can lift and coast the most during their races. Same with motorbikes, boats, dragsters and historic racing. All about who has the most efficient toyota prius inspired engine! “Look, our engines weigh over two as much as yours but we get 10% better fuel efficiency” (said no one ever… seriously). Obviously this is sarcasm. and I hope your post was as well.

          1. @socksolid
            Yeah, no. Note to myself: I should just stop reacting to your comments and spare myself the headache. Not worth it.

    4. @Tom if we go by your analogy and compare it to the article, it seems like your friend draws less salary because he can “save up for pension”.

      You really want to compare the two?

  4. I too am famed for my fuel saving.

    my ‘Gangsta’ name is “Clutch Ryda”.

  5. I need Hartley’s technical insight on what the difference between Renault hybrid and Honda.

  6. I wouldn’t mind so much if Hartley finished near the front of the grid, but he wasn’t finishing near the front of the grid last year, it was closer to last. If it was simply a choice between gaining a few places or saving fuel then I’d go for the gaining of places, but engines have to last 7 races now. Saving the engine has become more important than it was, so I guess that equates to saving fuel. Unfortunately while we did see Honda engines can survive a whole race distance each day at pre-season testing, it seems from the comments of others that Honda regularly changed their engine, so we can’t be sure an engine will last 7 races. Still, if it can, then maybe the benefit of saving fuel and engine life will benefit Hartley by avoiding the grid place penalties.
    As I thought about this you get into an interesting question of economics. On the one hand is the fact that shortening the life of an engine by gaining places will give you the benefit of more Championship points, which amounts to millions of dollars per year, but only if you gain a place in the Constructors’ Championship. If you don’t gain a place in the CC then you’ve had to pay for an extra engine without the benefit of those extra millions of dollars in prize money to pay for the engine. For example, for the 2016 season Toro Rosso (63 points=7th place) were paid $23M (this is the Column 2 or Merit payments), while McLaren, the team that finished ahead of them in the Constructors’ Championship (76 points=6th place), were paid $31M (this is the payment based on merit, not the total payment). So gaining one place in the Constructors Championship was worth $8M. From one website it seems the cost of an F1 engine is about $6M. So say one driver in a team was aggressive and shortened the life of his engines and used 4 engines in the season, he’d need to have gained 13 Championship points in the process to justify shortening the engine life, otherwise he’d have cost the team $6M without any benefit. If both drivers were aggressive and used two extra engines in a season, which cost an extra $12M, then the team (using the 2016 season results) would have had to have finished the season in 4th place ($36M) to profit from the expense of two extra engines. Force India were 4th in the Constructors’ Championship with 173 points.

    1. Yeah but an extra engine is not a new engine.

      Remember they’re changing bits and pieces all the time, a number of those bits and pieces are included in their yearly contracts for whatever amount of millions the supplier is contracted by.

      AFAIU the PU suppliers provide a yearly service to the teams, and that service includes a number of engines for testing and demonstration runs in whatever configuration is deemed necessary, there’s also an allocation of racing components that complies with what the FIA mandates. I suppose extra components are prorated in the contract, along with service intervals and personnel available to the team during different periods of the championship. So I really question that notion that an engine is $8M, full stop.

      Is that for a PU during winter testing?
      Or is it for a rebuilt PU that blew its ICE?

      In the case of a driver that pushed too hard as in your example, does his engine need new components or factory time? Is either of those two conditions covered under the contract or is it “Bam Eight millions, dude!”? I think your maths are off.

      1. I have no idea as to how the FIA or whoever it is define “a 7 race engine”. If they define an engine as requiring the cylinder head and sump to be sealed to the block and no internal parts are to be changed, then it effectively means no modifications or changing of parts. On the other hand, as you suggest, they may not seal the cylinder head and sump, in which case you can remove the pistons, crankshaft, spark plugs, valves, etc, meaning that only the cylinder block is required to last the 7 races. If you added the cylinder walls to the changeable parts then really that makes a joke of the whole regulation.

    2. Give the guy a break. In his first race he had a 25 place grid penalty before he even got in the car. He finished 13th in his first race, and set the 8th fastest lap time overall, which was 1 second quicker than Kyvats best race lap time.
      In mexico he was in 11th before the Renault crapped itself, in Brazil he had engine problems all weekend, high oil consumption and that ended his race early too. He was in a battle for 13th but finished 15th at Abu Dhabi, one place ahead of Gasly. In all his races he had penalties and started from the back, if you buy into the conspiracy theories that Renault gave them bags of wild hamsters rather than an ICE, then that also needs consideration.
      Don’t judge him on those 4 races, look at his testing, he was solid and no one could assume he was a new comer, he barely put a wheel wrong, considering his lack of open wheeler racing in the past 8 years, and the fact he has an enigma of an engine. Is it reliable? is it powerful? Is it thirsty? atleast at this stage, we can say, it appears to be more reliable than the bag of wild hamsters STR had late last year.

      1. Not to mention Le Mans 24hrs Winner

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