In all honesty, Brendon Hartley knew what he was getting into. unceremoniously dumped by Red Bull just at the point he thought he was on the verge of the big time, did the kiwi really think things had changed over the intervening years.
Brought back into the fold at a time Toro Rosso needed to replace Daniil Kvyat, who was himself being dumped for the umpteenth time, Hartley is looking increasingly unlikely to be retained by the Faenza outfit for 2019, when he would partner, er… Daniil Kvyat.
Nineteenth in the standings with just two points, things don’t look good for the two-time WEC champ, especially when his teammate, Pierre Gasly, in on 28 points.
However, the kiwi insists the results don’t begin to tell the story of a difficult year during which he feels he has not had the support of the team.
“There’s definitely been times I’ve been a bit unlucky,” he told reporters ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix. “With all things being equal, I’ve definitely shown I can do the job.”
Asked about rumours currently doing the rounds linking Alexander Albon with the second Toro Rosso seat, he replied: “I said it already before, from my point of view I have a contract for next year and anything else is better to discuss with someone from Red Bull.
“Obviously my position in the team was already being questioned after three races into the start of the season, which is a pretty shitty position to be in,” he added. “But I feel like I’m stronger because of it, and for the rest I don’t know.
“Definitely I’ve changed my attitude a bit,” he insists, “become more focused in a selfish way, managing my time and just keeping my mind on points that move the stopwatch.
“In an ideal world, you’d have full support, from a contractual point of view,” he added, “and you’d just be able to focus on doing your job, but it’s Formula 1, it’s not always like that.”
“When you’ve signed a long-term deal, to have to answer questions about your immediate future, it’s not really the ideal situation to be in, for any sportsperson,” he replies. “But I’ve had to deal with it, and I feel like I’ve dealt with it well, and i feel like I’m performing very well, even if I maybe haven’t scored in the points as much.”