Team: Toro Rosso
Car No.: 28
Best Finish: P13 (USA)
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 23rd
Brendon Hartley offered one of the most surprising stories not just in Formula 1 this year, but in wider motorsport.
Seven years after being dropped from the Red Bull junior program, Hartley was drafted in as a shock replacement at Toro Rosso for the United States Grand Prix when both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Pierre Gasly were unavailable.
Hartley placed a call out of the blue to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko when he learned Porsche would be closing its factory LMP1 program, and was given a surprise call-up for Austin, where he impressed on debut despite not having driven a single-seater for five years.
Hartley’s performance earned him a deal for the remainder of the season, only for a lack of reliability with the Renault power unit in his Toro Rosso car to leave him powerless to fight for his maiden points.
The New Zealander was not so stressed about the struggles once Toro Rosso confirmed his deal for 2018, when he will look to prove himself in F1 and add another chapter to a racing career full of twists and turns.
Perhaps most crucially for Hartley, there will be stability and consistency. 2017 was a topsy-turvy year for him, featuring a dramatic Le Mans victory and a second FIA World Endurance Championship title, and an eight-weekend run of races to close out the year – not for the faint-hearted!