Brendon Hartley impressed enough in the United States Grand Prix to have retained his Toro Rosso seat for the rest of the F1 season, as it looks like Daniil Kvyat will not return to Toro Rosso. Ahead of his debut last weekend in Austin, Hartley sat down to compare Formula 1 with his current LMP1 program in the World Endurance Championship.
Hartley grew up dreaming of Formula 1 but rose to fame driving for Porsche in the WEC from the start of 2014. He won the championship in 2015 with Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard and took victory at Le Mans this year with Bernhard and Earl Bamber, and is set to become a double sportscar champion as well.
The team dynamics in Formula 1 and LMP1 are a night and day difference. Whilst a teammate in Grand Prix racing is your first enemy, LMP1 drivers have to work as a team to get the best result possible for both their car and the team they are a part of.
“In LMP1 you need to be a team player, you have to be actually.
When you start to learn that and when you start to get on with your teammates and work together it’s an incredible feeling to be a real team lets say, because I think teammates in single seaters is quite a loose term.
Because it’s not really your teammate, it’s your first enemy!” – Brendon Hartley
It isn’t only the dynamics of the teams that are different. Both cars, whilst featuring hybrid systems are different animals to drive and not least because you have a roof over your head in LMP1.
This allows a driver to not worry about his visor, although it does tend to get rather hot in an LMP1 cockpit as you are not getting a cool breeze blowing into the cockpit. Formula 1 cars, especially the 2017 monsters, are much faster and are loaded with downforce, providing the maximum in grip and speed. But the LMP1 cars are no slouches either and are loaded with downforce themselves – both are at the very peak of their respective classes.
Harley contends that despite the differences, one thing does not change. To get the bast lap time possible, you just drive as fast as you can:
“They both have a lot of downforce, they both have a lot of power.
Both Formula 1 and LMP1 are at the height of technology in Motorsport, so there are similarities but I take quite a simple view when driving a race car.
The idea of getting around the track as quick as possible doesn’t change”. – Brendon Hartley
Mexico bound 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/RDhAqxQ12G
— Brendon Hartley (@BrendonHartley) October 24, 2017
Porsche are quitting LMP1 at the end of 2017, so Hartley is a free agent heading into 2018. The opportunity with Toro Rosso is a great way of showcasing just how far he has come from those early Red Bull junior days at the turn of the decade.
If he continues to impress for the rest of the season, he could well find himself as a full time Formula 1 driver with Scuderia Toro Rosso. And after what he went through to rebuild his career after being axed from the Red Bull program, it would be a just reward for the fast and charismatic Kiwi.