Brendon Hartley is keen to learn as he mixes with F1 at Spanish Grand Prix
After being granted an Formula 1 licence, Palmerston North teenager Brendon Hartley was at the Spanish Grand Prix on the weekend as reserve driver for the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams.
At his first Formula 1 ‘meet the media’ function in Barcelona on Thursday, the 19-year-old said he will try to learn as much as he can while he is there.
"I’m not really there yet. There’s still some time to go and as a reserve driver there isn’t a big chance to get a race; but I have to pinch myself a bit because it’s a bit unreal when I think that I am here and knocking on the door.
“It is harder with no testing to get into a Formula One car - but I’m going to keep doing the best job I can in Formula 3 and maybe get the opportunity.”
“I live in Milton Keynes so hope to get some time in the simulator. For the moment I haven’t but hopefully I’ll be doing more and more .”
The 19-year-old is the first New Zealand racing driver in 25 years to be involved with a Formula 1 team.
Only eight New Zealand drivers have competed in Formula 1 since the World Championship began in 1950; the last was Mike Thackwell in 1984.
The Kiwi drivers that have raced in F1 are:
Bruce McLaren 1958-70 104 races – 100 starts – 4 wins
Tony Shelly 1962 3 races – 1 start
Chris Amon 1963-76 108 races - 96 starts
Denny Hulme 1965-74 112 races – 8 wins – 1967 World Champion
Howden Ganley 1971-74 41 races - 35 starts
Graham McRae 1973 1 race – Frank Williams’ team
John Nicholson 1974-75 2 races – 1 start (Nicholson McLaren was John’s company that built the Cosworth DFV engines for McLaren)
Mike Thackwell 1980-84 5 races – 2 starts
Kiwi drivers have won 12 F1 World Championship races– and one World Championship.