Honda chiefs thank Brendon Hartley for helping develop F1 engines - 'he was very strong on the engineering side'

Despite a cold departure from his team, Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley has received some kind words from other members of the Formula 1 community.

Honda's motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto and technical director Toyoharu Tanabe took time to thank the 29-year-old, who they say helped "accelerate" their F1 engine's progress.

"Everyone at Honda enjoyed working with Brendon throughout the year," Tanabe said.

"He was very strong on the engineering side, always giving very precise and useful feedback, based on his great experience working with hybrid power units and as a double world champion and Le Mans winner in LMP1.

"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 was confirmed to drive for Toro Rosso in next season's championship.
Brendon Hartley. Source: Associated Press

Thanks to the significant progress Honda made in F1 this year both in performance and reliability, Red Bull's confidence in the Japanese manufacturer grew enough to agree to partner with them in 2019.

Yamamoto said Hartley was partly to thank for the deal.

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

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

"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."

Yamamato finished his kind words with an inside joke.

"Brendon, remember, you are always welcome to drop in and enjoy one of those Japanese meals that you like so much! Arigato, Brendon-san."

Hartley's former team Toro Rosso seemingly ushered him out the door after the 2018 season wrapped up, making no mention of the Kiwi in their announcement for their 2019 line-up where it was revealed Hartley had been replaced by Alexander Albon as Daniil Kvyat's teammate.

Instead, the team later shared a picture on social media with the message, "Thank you for your commitment this year, Brendon! All the best for the future!"

There has been no statements from Toro Rosso officials other than that.

Hartley scored four points for Toro Rosso in a rollercoaster 2018 to finish 19th in the Driver's Championship.

The Kiwi driver is hoping for a deal with Toro Rosso after his debut at the US Grand Prix in Austin this morning.
Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley. Source: Getty

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