Yeah, Toro Rosso (Red Bull) might seem a bit harsh. But they are willing to put money in drivers and try en retry them out. Look at all the other teams picking up their 'young driver programs'. And the sudden influx of young drivers especially clear with Ferrari's choice for LeClerc.
In hindsight they must all have known for quite a while this was decided. Hartley's "Thank you to almost all 500..." remark was razorsharp.
Personally I think Hartley was to focused on being a development drivers opposed to racing driver. His experience (and attitude) compared to Gasly brought Honda a lot of constructive feedback opposed to Gasly.
But this attitude put him behind Gasly most of the times who in contrast focussed on getting results.
However amiable his character, him being a teamplayer (with experience and knowledge) benefited Honda and indirectly Red Bull unmistakably but did not directly resulted in race results. For this they might better hang on to him as test driver/reserve driver (speculation follows) before we see Hartley enter the DTM in 2020 in an Aston Martin branded Honda engine.... That would be a great reward for Hartley.
Apart from that it's nice to see Albon in an F1 seat. He performed quite well with the available budget at hand.
And since F1 seats are quite sparse I have to complement STR to try out drivers and giving them a chance.
I'm looking forward and quite curious to see if Kvyat en Albon can deliver in 2019.
It looks like Red Bull is testing en learning to see 'how to spot the gem from dropped out drivers'. They might be cherry picking in the future from other 'young driver programs'...
To close up:
Honda engine chief Toyoharu Tanabe.
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.
General Manager Masashi Yamamoto:
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.
https://twitter.com/ToroRosso/status/10 ... 0738313216
Thank you for your commitment this year, Brendon!
All the best for the future!