Brendon Hartley's F1 team confirm they were ready to axe Kiwi driver

Brendon Hartley's Formula 1 team have confirmed rumours surrounding the possible axing of the Kiwi driver were true for a time.

Red Bull Racing consultant Dr Helmut Marko told German motorsport website Motorsport Magazin Hartley's future at Toro Rosso was in jeopardy after the Kiwi had only earned one championship point after seven races so far this season.

"If the trajectory had not improved, then we would have had to look somewhere for an alternative," he said.

"But that's not the case and Brendon is now competitive."

Hartley had shown improvements at the last Grand Prix in Canada where he qualified 12th for the race before being the victim in another unfortunate accident which ended his race just five turns into the first lap.

Hartley is set to compete in the French Grand Prix this weekend, with qualifying starting at 2am NZT on Sunday.


'Probably just being a bit too safe' - Scott McLaughlin pipped for Supercars pole position in first Darwin race

Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin has been pipped for pole position in this afternoon's first Supercars race in Darwin by Holden's David Reynolds.

Reynolds snatched the top spot off the Kiwi early in the 15-minute session, setting a time of 1:05.89 to take pole by four tenths of a second.

“I threw everything I had at it and it stuck," Reynolds said.

"The car was pretty good, thanks to all the boys, they put in the hard work last night to change the set-up a bit."

McLaughlin was critical in his self-evaluation afterward.

"I just missed a little bit on my lap, probably just being a bit too safe trying to get that first lap in, and paid the price.

"[On the second lap] I basically knew through 1, the track had changed completely grip wise. It’s unbelievable how it all happens and how our cars react to that rubber.

"It’s probably something we need to think about in the future, but it’s the same for everyone."

The first race of the Darwin Triple Crown starts at 6:45pm NZT this evening.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22:  race winner Scott McLaughlin driver of the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Ford Falcon FGX celebrates on the podium during race 1 for the Supercars Australian Grand Prix round at Albert Park on March 22, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)
Scott McLaughlin on the podium at the Australian GP. Source: Getty



'I'm still smiling' - Kiwi F1 driver Brendon Hartley thanks fans for messages of support after crashing out of Canadian GP

Kiwi F1 driver Brendon Hartley has taken to social media today to thank fans for their messages of support after he crashed out of the Canadian Grand Prix yesterday.

Hartley, 28, driving for Toro Rosso was involved in a collision with Williams driver Lance Stroll in the opening lap of yesterday's race.

"Thanks for all the kind messages that have flooded in over social. I'm all ok," Hartley posted on Instagram.

"Yes I have been a bit unlucky recently, yes there has been a bit of noise in the background, but I feel strong, hungrier than ever, and I have full confidence in myself and the team of people around me."

The New Zealand driver was on the outside of Stroll and was nudged into the wall, both drivers walked away unharmed from the crash.

"I will continue working hard to make my own luck at the next race. Lastly and maybe most importantly, I’m still smiling 👍

"Thanks to all at Toro Rosso and Honda for doing a great job all weekend."