Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley has always been eager to fit as many races he could into one season, but now as he embarks on his first full Formula 1 season he will focus only on the 21 races of the 2018 world championship.
Hartley was handed an unexpected recall to Toro Rosso late last year and as a result, the New Zealander juggled his time between the F1 schedule and the final race of the WEC where he raced with Porsche.
At the tail end of the 2017 season, he journeyed between the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, China, Japan and Bahrain during a period of seven consecutive weekends.
Hartley told the New Zealand Herald that this season F1 will be his primary focus, “I will still have an association with Porsche and being a Le Mans winner you are part of the family.”
“But I won’t be doing any races other than Formula 1, which I think is the sensible thing for me to do because I need to be fully focused.”
“I have a big challenge ahead. I am very aware of that. I am going to spend all my energy and time on being fit enough, going into the races fresh, sharp and putting every effort into making this next season work.”
“It is a massive opportunity that I have got there. In previous years I have tried to compete in every single race I could.”
Hartley added that despite his reduced race schedule he is only likely to return home once a year, over Christmas, “Probably just the same as all the other years, which is Christmas. There was only one year where I didn’t come home and that was just because we couldn’t afford the flights back.”
The flight from London to Auckland is a massive 20 to 24-hour haul with a similar return journey and he admitted, “It is quite a big time commitment to come home, especially during the year and getting over the jetlag. There is not a big enough break to justify coming back.”
“I very much cherish my time in New Zealand, which is generally a month over this sort of time period, we really make the most of it.”
“It is obviously still home but that being said we have made a life for ourselves in Europe – we have been there more than 10 years now,” added Hartley.