Kiwi F1 driver Brendon Hartley battling teammate for long-term spot at Toro Rosso

There’s only thing standing between Brendon Hartley and a long-term future in Formula 1 – and it’s his Toro Rosso teammate.

Dumped in 2010 as a Red Bull reserve driver, it’s taken him years to earn this chance, becoming New Zealand’s first full-time driver in 42 years.

His team has told him in no uncertain terms what it will take to keep his spot.

“His main competition – and I said this to his face – is his teammate,” said manager Graham Watson.

“He either needs to be beating his teammate or be very close to him where there’s nothing to pick between them. That’s target number one.”

That teammate is 22-year-old Pierre Gasly, a young French driver with speed to burn who surprised many by recording the sixth fastest time in preseason testing.

Both Gasly and Hartley will begin their rookie seasons at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

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