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Hartley: "Silly" to comment on Norris offer "rumours"

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Hartley: "Silly" to comment on Norris offer "rumours"
By:
Co-author: Edd Straw
Jun 7, 2018, 8:08 PM

Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley says it would be "silly" for him to comment on "rumours" that his team had been looking to replace him with McLaren junior Lando Norris.

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL33
Lando Norris, Carlin
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL33
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, and Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Hartley has had a difficult start to his first full-time season in Formula 1, scoring one point to teammate Pierre Gasly's 18 in the first six races of the campaign.

Rumours began swirling after Baku that the Kiwi could lose his Toro Rosso drive, and he was asked about the situation in Monaco, where Hartley was forced to deny that his seat was under threat.

It then emerged earlier this week that McLaren had rejected an offer from Toro Rosso to place its reserve driver and F2 points leader Norris in an STR13 over Hartley.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, however, Hartley dismissed the reports of the offer as "rumours" when asked about them by Motorsport.com.

"I think it's silly for me to comment on rumours because that's all they are," Hartley said.

"I know what my contract says, I am very confident in the work that I've been doing behind the scenes with Toro Rosso to develop the car.

"Things didn't really go my way in Monaco in qualifying, but I felt very strong all weekend.

"Looking forward to hopefully putting a good weekend in place - but I don't think it makes a lot of sense to comment on rumour. I think there always seems to be rumours in Formula 1.

"Like I said, I know what my contract says and I know the work that I've been doing behind the scenes. I know I have the ability to be here and do a good job in Formula 1."

Hartley said that he has not yet discussed the reports with team principal Franz Tost, adding: "To be honest with you, I'm focused on this weekend, it doesn't even make sense for me to have the conversation."

Toro Rosso has scored points in only three of the six races so far, with Gasly's surprise fourth-place finish in Bahrain contributing more than half the team's current tally.

Hartley, who outqualified his teammate in two of the six grand prix weekends in 2018, believes his pace this year has not been reflected in his results.

"Obviously things haven't gone perfectly to plan, we've only scored points in one race, many of those races we didn't have, by far, points-to-score races.

"Pierre only scored points in two races, which in different circumstances I could have as well, but there's no reason why I can't turn it around.

"People seem to forget very quickly in Formula 1 and only remember the last event, so hopefully it will be a different headline after this weekend."

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