Brendon Hartley said that he holds “unfinished business” in Formula 1, following his departure from Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda after 14 months.
Yesterday, it was announced that Hartley lost out on retaining his drive at Toro Rosso to Formula 2 series star Alexander Albon. Similarly to Hartley, Albon has been recalled to the Red Bull driver programme after losing the energy drinks giant’s backing in 2012.
An initial contract between Albon and Nissan e.dams for the upcoming 2018-19 Formula E championship was terminated just hours before Toro Rosso announced the Thai/British driver’s signing.
Hartley completed 25 races for Toro Rosso, making his debut in the 2017 United States Grand Prix, scoring four points – all in the 2018 campaign. His last race for the Faenza-based team, Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saw the double World Endurance champion finish in twelfth.
“I left the circuit on Sunday with my head held high,” said Hartley on his Facebook page. “I’m very proud of my story and journey so far but am left feeling I have unfinished business in F1.
“For the moment that has been put on hold. I’ve hit speed bumps before and I am a strong believer that tough situations make you stronger, it also helps that I have a great NZ support crew, family, friends and wife.
“I also want to thank my trainer Rich and almost all of the 500 strong Toro Rosso staff who I have stood beside and have enjoyed working with this season, all of the engineering team, the mechanics, marketing, PR, logistics, hospitality crew, factory staff and of course all at Honda Racing.”
The New Zealander’s 2019 plans are currently unknown, Hartley keeping positive by saying that he still has “plenty more pages to write”.
“I really do appreciate the support I have received from fans across the globe this year,” he added.
“I still have plenty more pages to write in my story and I will make the most of the opportunity’s in the next chapter.”