11 Nov 2017

Hectic schedule helping Hartley cope in F1

10:12 am on 11 November 2017

New Zealand Formula One driver Brendon Hartley believes his hectic recent schedule is helping him stay focussed on the task at hand.

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley.

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley. Photo: Photosport

The past six weeks have been busy for Hartley, the 27-year-old from Palmerston North racing twice in Formula One, including his debut, and twice in the world endurance championship, where he has clinced another world title with Porsche.

Hartley jumps back into his Toro Rosso Formula One car this weekend for the penultimate race of the season in Brazil and said, at the moment, he is firmly in the zone.

"I guess I've tried not to overt-think it and even winning the [world endurance] championship hasn't really sunk in," the former Formula One test driver told media at the official pre-event press conference in Sao Paulo.

"I haven't really had time to reflect. It probably helps just going from one weekend to the next, I think this is my sixth race in-a-row.

"It won't be till I get home at the end of the year and all the racing is over that I'll be able to reflect and fully understand what has just happened to me."

The Kiwi driver in action for Toro Rosso during practice for the US Grand Prix.

The Kiwi driver in action for Toro Rosso during practice for the US Grand Prix. Photo: Photosport

Hartley finishing a creditable 13th on debut at the US Grand Prix last month before being unable to finish the Mexican event after an engine failure.

The top 10 drivers claim points in a Formula One race and, with two races now under his belt, Hartley hopes to come away with a tangible reward in his third crack in Brazil.

"I know for this weekend I have a firm goal of scoring my first point in Formula One, and that would be celebrated.

"So far from my experience in my two Grand Prixs I've had a lot to learn and a lot of small goals along the way. From my point of view, it doesn't change much."

It was a statement made in a relaxed manner, something Hartley has displayed since he joined the Formula One environment as an official driver at the American event.

But the New Zealander indicated it perhaps wasn't so surprising his step up to such a high pressure championship has not been as daunting as it could have been.

Hartley has been a test driver for leading Formula One teams Red Bull and Mercedes in the past and is currently finishing up his fourth and final year with Porsche in the world endurance championship.

He said there have been few major surprises.

"Working with Porsche for the last few years has made my transition quite smooth to Formula One because it's a similar amount of people involved and a similar structure in terms of engineering and pressure.

"Driving Le Mans for Porsche there's a big amount of pressure on your shoulders. I guess all those things I've learned to deal with."

The Brazilian Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 8am Monday (NZ time).