Hartley: WEC would ready Kvyat for F1 return

Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley thinks Red Bull outcast Daniil Kvyat could learn a lot from his own journey back to the Formula One grid.

Kvyat was dropped from Toro Rosso duty and the entire Red Bull programme late last year as the team after struggling for form during the campaign. That demotion was followed by Carlos Sainz moving to Renault, meaning Toro Rosso soon settled on Pierre Gasly and Hartley as its race line-up — one it has continued with for 2018.

For Hartley, it was a remarkable and unlikely return. Himself a former Red Bull junior, the New Zealander had been dropped from the programme in 2010, only to find success in the World Endurance Championship. As well as claiming two WEC titles, he also won the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours with Porsche last season.

Kvyat will remain on the fringes of F1 as Ferrari’s development driver for 2018 but he is yet to confirm if he will have any non-F1 racing commitments this season.

When asked if a driver in Kvyat’s situation should consider racing in other top-level series to learn the lessons required to return to F1, Hartley told ESPN: “I think yes to all the above, and I think endurance racing taught me a lot.”

He went on to explain how important his stint in WEC was in helping him find the mentality needed to return to the F1 grid.

“I think young drivers are sometimes very guilty of immediately blaming the equipment or the team, rather than looking inward a little bit. I think endurance racing teaches you that because against two top teammates you’re in the same car, there’s no hiding, and then you start learning off each other.

“You really have this open environment where, if one guy is quicker, you have to accept that very quickly and say ‘yeah, he was quicker today’, what’s he doing, let’s chat to him and work it out. That for me taught me a lot. There’s a bit of respect in there as well because you do your best to deliver your best performance every single day, but actually accepting that on a given day your teammate can do a better job than you — endurance racing teaches you that and can definitely help you out being a more rounded driver.”

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