Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Hartley shrugs off Norris rumours: “I know what my contract says”

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In the round-up: Brendon Hartley dismisses rumours he could lose his Formula 1 seat at Toro Rosso.

What they say

Hartley said he hasn’t spoken to team principal Franz Tost about reports this week that Toro Rosso had approached McLaren about hiring Lando Norris to replace him.

Its the second grand prix in a row that I’ve obviously been responding to rumours but its not really interesting for me to comment. I know what my contract says. I’m very confident in the work that I’ve been doing behind the scenes with Toro Rosso to develop the car.

Things didn’t really go my way in Monaco in qualifying, but I felt pretty strong all weekend. Going to take the same approach this weekend.

[There’s] upgrades coming, it’s positive, looking forward to hopefully putting a good weekend in place. But I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to comment on rumours. I think there always seems to be rumours in Formula One. But anyway I know what my contract says and I know the work that I’m doing behind the scenes and I know I have the ability to be hear and doing a good job.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018
Marcus Ericsson, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly, Stoffel Vandoorne, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez, Brendon Hartley

Several of Alonso’s rivals turned up to mark his 300th F1 race weekend at a special event at the track yesterday.

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Comment of the day

Is extending the F1 calendar in December a bad idea?

I think March to the end of October is fine. I think it’s crazy that they want to run it on to December. However, that’s a by-product of possibly having 22 races next year.

I think 18-20 is ideal. Certainly no more. If they want new races then drop some existing ones on poor circuits. I don’t mean places like Monaco, Silverstone, Monza and Spa. Mind you I would not mind seeing Monza swapped with Imola.

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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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  • 31 comments on “Hartley shrugs off Norris rumours: “I know what my contract says””

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      8th June 2018, 0:50

      I always worry about a driver’s future when he tells people he has a contract.

      1. There will be a clause in his contract stating the team’s minimum expectations of him, so provided he’s above the “low tide” mark he’s safe.
        I do hope the new Honda engine meets the hype because I think a few good finishes would dampen the speculation.

        1. @drycrust, there have been times when drivers have still been meeting those expectations and have nevertheless been sacked, so I wouldn’t place much faith in that.

          I agree that a few decent finishes would help, but if Red Bull have already tried approaching multiple drivers – there was talk in the Formula 2 paddock that they also approached Artem Markelov (who also rejected their offers) – it would suggest to me that they are already set on replacing Hartley as soon as they can find a viable replacement.

          The main reason why he’s stayed there so far, as noted in the linked article on the Racer site, is the fact that fewer drivers seem to want to sign a contract with them in the first place. In the past few years they’ve not been able to sign up as many up and coming drivers as they used to be able to do in the past, and the drivers they did pick up were often dropped within the same year.

          There has been a gap of three or four years in Red Bull’s young driver programme, so whilst in the past they would have had a driver in a junior series who would have been available, now they are in a position where their next drivers in line – Neil Verhagen and Dan Ticktum – are, in part due to the new superlicence points system, still too inexperienced and too far down the ladder to enter F1 (Ticktum has only just started Formula 3, whilst Verhagen is still in Formula Renault). That seems to be why they are now trying to poach drivers from the training programmes of their rivals – it’s the only option they have at the moment if they are determined to replace Hartley.

    2. He needs to shine here and beat gasly to have any hope of staying in F1

    3. If this Honda upgrade puts Torro Rosso truly on par with Mclaren, it will be most embarrassing…

      I shall have to employ a double facepalm if this happens…..

      1. Honda drivers are more or less certain to take a penalty this year though. Mclaren are still better off with Renault as they’re ahead in terms of overall development as well as reliability.

        No need to be overly dramatic for one race. Same thing happened in Bahrain!

        1. except it cost $500m to swap from Honda to Renault….

          1. wow, where did you get that figure?

          2. @jeffreyj wow, where did you get that figure?

            1. @alfa145

              The decision, though, cost McLaren dearly: Not only did Honda supply free engines, but contributed significantly to McLaren’s budget, and covered Fernando Alonso’s stipend.

              The switch meant leasing customer Renault engines at the going rate, namely £18m plus a re-engineering programme; Honda also demanded a severance package, said to be £20m annually through to end-2020. Add in the loss of Honda’s commercial package (estimated at £60m per season) and Alonso’s earnings (£30m), and the financial swing borders on half a billion dollars over three years.


      2. Isn’t it already most embarrassing for them what happened at Mac? Honda is miles and miles away from proving anything.

    4. Regarding the COTD: TBH, with this format, it wouldn’t really head all the way into December as only the race itself would take place in December while all the practice sessions, as well as qualifying, would still take place in November (next year, the first Sunday in December will be the 1st day of the month meaning that the Abu Dhabi GP weekend next season would run from the 29th of November till that day, and not any further into December), so not really any difference there compared to previous seasons (especially 2015 when the race day was the 29th of November) the current one included.
      – Dieter’s tweet, though.

    5. ConcreteDive
      8th June 2018, 5:03

      I understand what Dieter Rencken is saying, but here’s what I’m thinking: he’s one of the few journalists who isn’t rubbing their hands with glee at Verstappen’s response. I’ve always liked Mr. Rencken’s approach. He bluntly asks what he wants to know, and expects the same in response. But that’s rare. Most of the others are like those kids you used to know in the playground who would do things like put their fingers a hair’s breadth from your face and say ‘I’m not touching you, I’m not doing anything wrong.’ And by the extreme rule of the book, they’re not, I guess, but they’re being sleazy jerks and really DO deserve a headbutt. When I watch those press conferences, with a few exceptions (Dieter being one), I find myself wondering if the people asking the questions were those douchebags from school. I’m pretty sure they are. It makes sense in my head…..

      1. Hahaha CoTD right here!

    6. “Several of Alonsos rivals fail to attend his 300th : Only younger talent are available” -there, FTFY… :)

      RE: Monaco qualifying and qualifying in general, I still say let the race promoter choose the way it’s done.
      If it fits their weekend format, have a Saturday shootout, have a Sunday morning single car hot laps, have a whatever you come up with that sets the grid.
      I want to see the cars go out and tear it up, I want to see the driver wrestle the magic lap out of nowhere and I want that to be highlighted. Use qualifying rubber, fuel, setups, all that

      (…I may have spent a few / too many hours looking up hot laps from way back years on Youtube in the last couple weeks)

      1. Yup, no HAM, VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, VES….

        1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
          8th June 2018, 8:34

          No “Hulkenburg was right” K Mag or former teammate “aka the man who arguably lost him the 2012 championship” Grosjean.

          1. Pierre was there for the party or to fight?

            1. Lol good one

    7. I agree with @dieterrencken‘s tweet, Max’s response was very immature and uneducated. It really made me cringe.

      But it should also be pointed out that whoever made the question should consider if journalism is really what he was born to do, what kind of stupid question is “Max, why do you crash so much?”

      1. Yeah I was a little shocked he said that. And then I was thinking “Max you silly boy, you’re just stirred the pot and gave them ammunition”. I guess he really doesn’t care what the media thinks

    8. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      8th June 2018, 10:04

      I think Jacques technically did lead for a millisecond in 98, a lunge on Fisi before going onto the grass at T1 haha. To be fair to Max as soon as I heard that Daily Mail question and the tone it was asked I was hoping someone would headbutt him.

      1. @rdotquestionmark I’d like to stick up for Max on this one too. I read it as a throwaway remark. If Ricciardo had said it there would be no problem.
        Also, starting a tweet ‘Completely unacceptable…’ just makes you sound like a Daily Mail reader whose pothole hasn’t been fixed :D

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          8th June 2018, 13:46

          Exactly @ollie it’s like context is completely ignored nowadays for sensationalism

    9. RE Brendon Hartley: Famous last words.

    10. Verstappen is doing himself no favors lately….and frankly I kinda love it. F1 hasn’t had a proper bad boy in a while – as in one with the talent to back up the arrogance – although I would rather see him get some proper finishes instead.

      1. @maciek Well said and I agree.

    11. I like the idea of an Indy style 4 lap run from a standing start at Monaco.

    12. @keithcollantine Thank you for COTD. It’s always exciting to see your thoughts as a topic of discussion.

    13. I’m sorry but @RacingLines (@keithcollantine does Dieter not have a tag here?) needs to remember he is a journalist before he starts tweeting his personal opinions.
      Questions of his driving WERE legitimate. But Max has repeatedly answered these question for 3 years any time he is involved in something and let’s be honest, apart from his current poor form by his own admission, Max has generally been one of the fastest race drivers on the grid and after Ricciardo, one of the best overtakers.
      The old adage is “you are only as good as your last race” and Maxs’ last race was excellent! So how was the line of questioning “legitimate”? I think “lazy” would be more accurate!
      And given Max drove from last to the points in Monaco do you think his driving is really”out of control”? I think you are the one that let your emotions get out of control with your tweet. You are trying to paint Max as “out of control” when he had an angry reaction to a question he is sick and tired of answering. How “in control” were you when you wrote your very angry and in my opinion inaccurate tweet?
      Maybe you and your colleagues should look in the mirror because right now, myself and several other fans don’t bother to watch a press conference with Max now because you guys ask ZERO new questions. What happened to specialized F1 coverage that was a bridge between fans and the sports? Now the objective seems to be to sell through conflict and create some where there isn’t…remember Seb jumping in on that stupid question to Lewis??
      When you tweet your hurt feelings and start name calling the drivers, you completely erode your journalistic credibility.
      Maybe if we raise the bar with the questions, the quality of the answers will improve?

      1. Really? Max Vestappen has threatened physical abuse against journalists if they keep asking him questions that he didn’t like, and you’re trying to defend that? He is grossly out of line, and this sort of behaviour should not be tolerated by either Red Bull or Formula 1.

        Dieter didn’t name call anyone, simply said that Vestappen is as out of control as his driving. Journalists of all persuasions often have opinions on matters, and often share those opinions. Based on Verstappen’s driving behaviour this year, which has been erratic, describing it as “out of control”, seems to be perfectly appropriate.

    Comments are closed.