Hartley, Watson

Toro Rosso: We want Hartley to be succesful

Hartley, Watson

Brendon Hartley is enduring a cruel first full season in Formula 1, the New Zealander gaining a reputation as an incident-prone driver and amid speculation that he will be axed before the end of the season Toro Rosso team manager Graham Watson says they are backing their man.

Hartley’s position in the team has been subject to a number of rumours, one being an offer made to Lando Norris to replace the 28-year-old, which McLaren allegedly turned down.

Watson told Newshub, “We want him to be successful. As a Toro Rosso team we are 100 percent behind Brendon.”

Ultimately the call on who drives for Toro Rosso is made by Red Bull, more specifically the team’s consultant Helmut Marko.

Watson explained, “The drivers are predominantly controlled by Red Bull and then we as a team are the guys who work with these two guys and try and make them have the ability to be a world champion in the future.”

“We don’t have the actual control of what happens with our drivers in Toro Rosso,” conceded Watson.

Hartley was eliminated from the Canadian Grand Prix on the opening lap after crashing heavily with Williams driver Lance Stroll, prior to that he also had DNFs at Monaco and Shanghai.

Meanwhile, teammate Pierre Gasly is having an impressive year. More often than not the Frenchman is quicker than Hartley. After seven rounds Gasly has 18 points, Hartley one.

Watson continued, “Unfortunately for Brendon, with the luck he’s been having at the moment he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“It’s not been entirely Brendon’s fault; it’s just been difficult to put a full weekend together for him without any sort of interference from either reliability of car setup issues deficiencies.”

At the same time, Watson is aware that the pressure is mounting on Hartley, “Like anything in life – you’ve got to be showing results to be in a safe place.”

“I think if you look back at the Red Bull history, it’s clear that they have goals and want to achieve it. But it’s not really for me to say. Those decisions will be made at a much higher level in the company,” concluded Watson.