Brendon Hartley expects huge support to come from the Japanese fans for Honda and Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Toro Rosso will head to the Suzuka International Racing Course for Honda’s home race. The engine manufacturer will also be the title sponsor for this year’s F1 Grand Prix.
Hartley will race around the Suzuka track for the first time in his career. The New Zealander has raced in Japan before in the World Endurance Championship but were taken place at the Fuji Speedway.
The twenty-eight year says the 3.6 mile circuit is one of the highlights of the F1 calendar and highlights the first sector where he believes the cars will be pushed to their limit.
“Suzuka is definitely one of the highlights on the calendar and everyone in Formula 1 talks about the track, especially the high speed sector 1, where you really push these modern Formula 1 cars to their limit and I expect this sector will be the place where the current cars feel the most impressive,” said Hartley.
“In the past, I’ve driven Suzuka on F1 simulators and I did so again last week in preparation for this race, which will be the first time I actually drive the track.
“I have raced four times in Japan in the World Endurance Championship, but it’s always been at the Fuji circuit. I had some success there, with one win and a couple of third places and I always enjoyed experiencing the passion of the Japanese fans.”
Toro Rosso will visit Japan as Honda’s engine supplier for the first time since their partnership started at the beginning of the season.
Both Hartley and team-mate Pierre Gasly have visited Honda’s F1 factory ahead of the Grand Prix and is expecting to see huge support from the Japanese fans for both Honda and Toro Rosso over the weekend.
“I’m expecting a huge amount of support in Suzuka for Honda and Toro Rosso. I’m looking forward to it, because I always enjoy spending time in Japan; I love the food and the culture and hanging out with the people there,” added Hartley.
“We’re heading to Japan immediately after Sochi, with a busy schedule of visiting Honda’s F1 facility in Sakura, as well as other factories.
“Being Honda powered, it will be an important race for us and I hope we can put on a good show and deliver some points for the Japanese fans and the all the Honda guys.”