Brendon Hartley believes Honda has provided the Red Bull Toro Rosso with an engine that will good for all scenarios in 2018, with the Kiwi having no concerns about its racecraft or raceability.
Hartley may have missed out on the top ten in the opening round of the season in Australia last weekend, with early flat spots on his tyres thanks to a first corner lock-up and a puncture later in the day, but he feels positive about the forthcoming campaign, and feels Toro Rosso will be able to go toe to toe against their rivals.
“I did drive with a different engine at the end of last year,” Hartley is quoted as saying by Autosport. “I think the Honda is pretty flexible with a bit of racecraft as well.
“Obviously DRS and top speed is a big part of making an overtake, but from what I’ve seen so far everything is running pretty seamlessly, from a driver’s point of view there’s not too much to manage.
“Everything is going in the right direction, there is no real concern from my side. From what I understand [Honda] have updates coming too. There’s no concern from racecraft or raceability.
“I can’t comment on Mercedes and Ferrari [and] what they do, but we have a few tools to try and make an overtake stick.”
The Australian Grand Prix marked the first race of Hartley’s first full season in Formula 1 following his four-race stint at the back end of 2017, and remarkably it was the first race he has not gone into race day with a grid penalty for an engine change, remnants of the unreliability Toro Rosso and Renault suffered.
Looking back at the Qualifying session in particularly, Hartley feels Toro Rosso should have made three attempts during the opening phase of the session rather than the two they did, with the Kiwi being eliminated at the first hurdle as a result.
“I felt really comfortable in the team, in the car,” said Hartley. “Much more than last year. Qualifying, in hindsight we probably should have done three runs, I think that would have given us the best opportunity to get through to Q2.
“Half a tenth more I would have been through to Q2 and had another shot to improve again. But I felt comfortable, I felt like I knew what I wanted from the car. From that point of view I was really happy, I managed my time well within the team. We just didn’t get the result we targeted, which was a point. As we saw that was a bit out of reach.”