Hartley surprised his seat was under threat early in season | 2018 F1 season

Brendon Hartley says he doesn’t enjoy the politics of life in Formula 1 and was surprised to learn his place at Toro Rosso was under threat a few races into the championship.

McLaren junior driver Lando Norris was tipped to replace Hartley early in the season. Hartley went into the final race of the season unsure if he would return for the team in 2019, but on the Monday after the race Alexander Albon was told he would take Hartley’ seat.

Hartley said he isn’t prepared to reveal the full details of what went on during his only full season in F1 but admitted “the politics, I don’t enjoy”.

“It took me some time to get used to the extra media attention,” he said in an interview for New Zealand’s Radio Sport. “I was definitely prepared coming into Formula 1 being involved in Porsche and LMP2 but I think the pressure definitely ramped up more than I expected in terms of being under the microscope a lot more. But I got more and more comfortable with that during the season.”

“There were rumours very early in the season which was a big surprise to me when I thought I’d signed a long-term contract,” he added, “[I] came off the back of a world championship, a Le Mans win and after just two or three races there were rumours and a lot of questions being asked around my immediate future.

Hartley says he is yet to decide what he will do next year.

“I’ve maintained a relationship with Porsche through all of this, I was with them for four years through the two world championships and Le Mans. My phone has been glued to my ear over the last week, a lot of emails. Not the perfect time of year to be sorting out a drive, coming into December, but I’ve got a good reputation and just trying to figure out what the right steps are and also what’s going to keep me happy.

“You will definitely see me doing something next year but it won’t be Formula One.”

View the current list of 2019 F1 drivers and teams

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2018 F1 season

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