Motorsport: Honda praises Brendon Hartley for engine development role

Kiwi Brendon Hartleyhas received some kind words from Honda's F1 management team.
Kiwi Brendon Hartleyhas received some kind words from Honda's F1 management team. Photo credit: Photosport

Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley has earned touching tributes from Honda Motorsport bosses.

The Honda-powered Toro Rosso team released the 29-year-old on Tuesday, after a stuttering first full season in Formula One, where he scored just four competition points in 21 races.

The former world endurance champion has been replaced by young British/Thai driver Alexander Albon for 2019.

But Honda has recognised his contribution to developing an engine that Red Bull Racing hope will propel them back to the front of the grid.

With the Red Bull senior team set to take on Honda as its engine supplier in 2019, one of Hartley's key roles during the season was working with developers in Tokyo to ensure development was on track.

Honda Motorsport general manager Masashi Yamamoto has commended the Kiwi on his professionalism and work ethic.

"On behalf of Honda, I would like to express my thanks to Brendon for all his hard work this year," Yamamoto tweeted.

"Brendon is always a friendly and charming person, who immediately embraced Japanese culture and Honda's way."

Yamamoto continued praising the former Le Mans winner for pushing the developers to their limits.

"It gave everyone at Honda so much power and confidence in what we were doing this year after several difficult seasons.

"I particularly remember when he qualified sixth at our home race in Suzuka. That meant a lot to Honda.

"We will miss him and wish him all the best for the future."

Yamamoto also invited Hartley back to the office anytime to sample the Japanese cuisine he enjoyed

Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe backed those comments, praising Hartley for his engineering ability.

"He was very strong, always giving very precise and useful feedback," Tanabe tweeted.

"That feedback accelerated our development in terms of set-up work, which helped us progress over the course of the year.

"Thank you, Brendon, and we wish you all the very best for the future."

Hartley posted a thank you Twitter message on Wednesday saying he leaves F1 with his head held high but a feeling of unfinished business to accomplish.