Toro Rosso have publicly thanked Brendon Hartley for his contribution to their program in 2018, having opted against keeping him on for next year.
Hartley joined Toro Rosso at the end of the 2017 season, deputising for the struggling Daniil Kvyat before being given the seat full time for 2018.
The two time WEC Champion initially struggled with Formula 1 but, by the end of the year, was consistently close in pace to Pierre Gasly and finished P9 at the United States Grand Prix. While Gasly was promoted to Red Bull Racing for next year, Hartley was dropped after the Abu Dhabi race with the team opting for Formula 2 racer Alex Albon in the second seat.
With no immediate acknowledgement of Hartley in their announcements, the team drew flak on social media for not doing so; this was exacerbated by Honda thanking Hartley for helping so much with their development of the power unit over the season. However, on Thursday, Toro Rosso finally broke their silence:
“Following the recent announcement that Alexander Albon will join Scuderia Toro Rosso to race alongside Daniil Kvyat in 2019, we would like to thank Brendon Hartley for his campaign with the team.
After a hugely successful sports car career, Brendon returned to Red Bull’s F1 family, making his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso at the 2017 United States Grand Prix.
Brendon has played an important role in the development of our partnership with Honda and his experience and feedback has proved highly beneficial. We wish Brendon all the best for the future.”
And more kind words from Tanabe-san 🗣️
"Everyone at Honda enjoyed working with Brendon throughout the year…"@BrendonHartley #ThankyouBrendon🎌 pic.twitter.com/Km5TiGGNKx
— Honda Racing F1 (@HondaRacingF1) November 27, 2018
Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal, Franz Tost, said: “We would like to thank Brendon for his hard work with the team. It was not an easy task to move from sports cars to Formula 1, especially at short notice. His consistency over the final four races of 2017 earned him a 2018 race seat and, while ultimately we were not able to continue into 2019, he has been a key part of the team and aided the development of the Honda powertrain. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”