Brendon Hartley believes Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda has the potential to surprise people during the 2018 Formula 1 season, and he is optimistic good results could be just around the corner.
The New Zealander, a two-time champion in the FIA World Endurance Championship, joined Toro Rosso for the final four races of 2017, but over the winter switched from Renault Sport power to Honda power, with the twenty-eight-year-old getting his first taste of the STR13 last week at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Despite inclement weather conditions, Toro Rosso completed more laps than anyone else across the four days in Spain, and Hartley says that whilst some people have written the team off, they could offer a few surprises during the forthcoming season.
“I’m really optimistic and positive about this new relationship with Toro Rosso and Honda,” said Hartley to Crash.net. “Everyone’s working really hard. I see that we’re going to improve during the season. I hope that we can be a bit of a surprise.
“I think a lot of people wrote us off with the new partnership with Honda. I really believe we can surprise a few people. I know myself the people in this team and how hard Honda are working as well. I’m really looking forward to the season.”
Hartley admits he does have his own goals to achieve in Formula 1, such as breaking into the points for the first time and delivering a podium finish to Toro Rosso, but he, alongside team-mate Pierre Gasly, are just two pieces of a much larger puzzle that are all working towards the same targets.
“I know myself, my goals, of how I want to perform,” said Hartley. “But it’s hard to put a number on that. It’s a team sport, it’s not just individuals. There’s more than 400 people in Toro Rosso working towards that goal.
“I’m the final piece of the puzzle inside the car, myself and Pierre, but it’s a big team effort. I have some personal goals and targets that I want to fulfil, and I think only I’ll know if I’ve achieved them.”