Hartley joins Wehrlein as Ferrari F1 simulator drivers for 2019
Posted By: Editor   |  04 Feb 2019   |  1:20 pm GMT  |  38 comments

Former Toro Rosso race driver Brendon Hartley has secured a role as a simulator driver for Ferrari ahead of the 2019 season, joining fellow ex-F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein.

With last season’s Ferrari simulator drivers taking roles elsewhere for 2019 (Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat will race for Sauber and Toro Rosso respectively), Ferrari have been on the lookout for drivers with recent F1 experience to aid their development push over the 2019 season.

Whilst ex-Sauber driver Wehrlein was widely expected to be confirmed for the role, Hartley is a less-anticipated addition to the Ferrari family, and becomes the third former Toro Rosso driver to be given a development role at the Italian giants, after Jean-Eric Vergne and Kvyat.

Wehrlein – who has recently been a test driver for Mercedes after leaving his Sauber race seat at the end of 2017 – will combine his current Formula E race commitments with Mahindra Racing with the Ferrari simulator role.

Alongside Hartley and Wehrlein, Ferrari will bring long-time academy driver Antonio Fuoco into the simulator team for the first time in 2019, whilst 32-year-old sports car driver Davide Rigon has remained part of the simulator team since 2014.

Mattia Binotto, Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal said: “Our team has taken on four undoubtedly talented drivers, who possess innate feeling, with a strong understanding of race cars and tracks. These are exactly the qualities required in the skilful role of driving in a simulator, one of the vital pieces of equipment in the Formula 1 of today”.

Hartley with “many options” for 2019

Hartley’s role as a Ferrari simulator driver is his first since losing his seat at Toro Rosso at the end of the 2018 season.

Having been dismissed by the Red Bull driver academy earlier in his career, WEC champion and Le Mans winner Hartley was a surprise call-up for the 2017 United States Grand Prix.

He impressed enough to be given an opportunity to race for the team in 2018 alongside Pierre Gasly, but a lack of headline-grabbing results meant Toro Rosso opted to recall Daniil Kvyat to drive alongside Alexander Albon in 2019.

Speaking recently in The Players’ Tribune, Hartley admitted that he only knew he would be losing his seat after the final race of last season, which would’ve hampered his plans for 2019.

“So, going into Abu Dhabi, I knew that no matter what happened after the race I would leave the circuit with my head held high,” said Hartley.

“But, like the fans, I had no idea what was going to happen. That’s the thing about the politics in F1, it can be a little bit … awkward. Everyone sort of walks on eggshells, and there isn’t always clarity. So I just did all I could: my job. I out-qualified my teammate and drove to 12th on Sunday night.

“An hour later, I was summoned to a meeting.

“And a few minutes after that, I was no longer an F1 driver.”

He added that he refused to believe that a route back to Formula One was impossible, and that he has potential opportunities in other racing categories for 2019.

“I’m fortunate to have a few options in front of me, but I need make sure it’s a fit. I want something that will continue to challenge me, push me, and make me and those closest to me happy. The F1 door is definitely not closed and the experience gained from a year at the top of the sport means I will arrive more prepared and stronger for whatever opportunities come next.”

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

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I can Hartley belive it


Lets be honest.
Ricciardo should have been a shoey in at Ferrari. He has Italian heritage. He is teh best overtaker in the business.
Vettel blocked it obviously because Daniel smashed him at Red Bull.
Will Ferrari ever learn from all their mistakes ?


Ferrari have learned from their mistakes hence they’ve gone for “an up and comer”
in Leclerc. He’ll do exactly the same to Vettel that Redemption Ricci did to Vettel.
Sadly Redemption Ricci will now be doing an Alonso at Renault for a few seasons before he joins Alonso on the American circuit. (Tongue in Cheek 😉). Renault may get all the tyre and tech info from their FIA signing, so who knows how that’ll play out.


LeClerc was already in the pipeline, but I also think Seb blocked Ricci.
Hopefully he gets whooping with LeClerc – it’s amusing.


Wow. I wish I could get truck loads of cash to play high tech video games.
Still, he has a job. Good luck to you Brendon.


What kind of paycheck do you get as a simulator driver?


Virtual Bit coins


– OK Brendon, thanks for signing with us, we have high hopes and big plans for you. So why don’t you tell us all that you know about BR simulator, aero package, etc.

– Well… I wasn’t really involved in any of that so I couldn’t possibly say, so when do I start in the simulator?

– We’ll call you…


Hartley might be a nice guy, in the end it’s about performance, potential and nothing else, (well for some a huge donation to a team might help). Until they step in a F1 car and you cannot predict if they will perform and even if they do reasonable or quit good, with smaller budget teams that’s not even enough, (where the MONEY!, right Clair?). In the case of Hartley, he had a chance, missed it, so bb m8.


Hartley lacked speed, and aggression in and out of the car. He wasn’t at the level needed for F1, and he became a whiner at the end. He’s a damned good driver by any stretch of the imagination, just not good enough for F1.

If the teams are not ruthless with failing drivers F1 ends up with the situation of having a large chunk of the field not at the level they should be.

2019 is way more interesting as a result of the cull.

Bottas has a lot to prove this year. Mercedes want a successor to Hamilton, and Bottas isn’t looking clever as yet.

Vettel is in danger of being downgraded in his legacy. I’ve no idea if Leclerc will be fast enough to beat him, and it’ll be very interesting.

Will Verstappen continue to learn and improve. Will Honda step up? Will Gasly be fast (I personally doubt it).

Will Renault make a step up? How will Ricciardo and Hulkenberg compare. Will Cyril ever deliver.

Will Grosjean go a season without multiple brain farts? Will Rich energy prove to be a disaster? Will Magnussen return to form after a poor second half in 2019?

What kind of McLaren will 2019 bring? Will Norris beat Sainz who is looking like a decent journeyman rather than a star?

The promise of more durable tyres in 2019 may put paid to Perez podiums, as he’s alway been good at preserving tyres (how did F1 come to this?). Stroll’s reputation is already on the floor, but finally he gets a chance to go against a decent teammate in a probably decent car – we should get the answer on his merits to be in F1.

Giovanizzi vs Raikionnen. If Raikonnen is faster then Giovanizzi is done. If Raikonnen is slower then he should only race one more year and give the place up – he blocked a damned good Ferrari seat for too many years while being bettered by Massa, Alonso, and Vettel.

Over at Torro Rosso it’ll be impossible to read. Kyvat is occasionally fast, so the pace comparison will be interesting. Can Albon adapt, and is he fast enough?

And poor old Williams. I hope they catch up with the midfield. Kubica is an amazing story, and Russell is new. So many things unknown, and I really hope they make a step up as it’s so sad to see.


Ricciardo wanted to go to Mercedes, instead of Renault, but Mercedes decided to stick with the ultimare wungman: Bottas.


Luke C…Wolff didn’t want to ‘upset the team equilbrium’ by giving Ricciardo the drive. Read into that what you will.I certainly have my own opinions on this as i have expressed many times before.


“Don’t want to upset team equilibrium.”

Translation: “Lewis wants a wingman, not somebody who gets in the way of his winning races and championships”.


I agree with Kenneth. BH seems to have had a bad deal support-wise from his team. Maybe he was only planned for one season, unless he was a total superstar.


Anyone know what’s happened to our ubiquitous friend ChrisD, the most prolific commenter ever?

No sign of him for a while now. Maybe we should organise a search party?

Volunteers please….


Phil I went back reading posts and to my surprise they were many.

I mean one can’t take a vacation in the belief that the rate of articles are the same as usually. But no, boom what have we 5 in a few days. I’m impressed.


I am not going to attend the party, nor trying to find CD.


And still your name searcher

Here’s Johnny…sorry CD

I would have avsked the lurcher, but no need now.


Last seen in the company of a Mr James Allen, I believe.


Very unlikely to lead to a Ferrari F1 drive but if they choose to return to the top tier of the WEC they will be fully familiar with what he can do and as a LeMans winner he would be very well placed to secure a drive. A nice, straight talking guy, good luck to him


Yes very, very unlikely he will ever get a Ferrari drive, yet he could get an Alfa Romeo or maybe a Haas drive, in case one of the current drivers screw up.
And again… Vettel could go completely bonkers this year, you never known.


we should have a formula one simulator contest that we could follow on internet and see next gen potential.


Pierre had it over him for a while there, but I thought that Brendon had the wood on his teammate for a decent finish in a car that seemed stagnant development wise. That Honda gave him deep praise showed how much he contributed to their development.

Believe that the egos of VER and GAS will collide heavily if Pierre can get anywhere near him and if so the insurance Marko brought back in for such a scenario, KVY will again fill a seat in the big bulls.


It will surely also help Ferrari with their experience in opponent teams, Hartley especially, he must have a lot of intelligence on what Honda was busy doing last year. I wonder if they are contracted to keep quiet even if they move to rival teams, would be interesting to know.


He wouldn’t be able to steal Honda’s IP, but anything stating he couldn’t in generic terms talk about what Honda were trying to do would almost certainly not be enforceable.

Tornillo Amarillo

Ferrari has the initiative, with Hartley and Wherlein joining the team, with Binotto, with the Alfa Romeo done-deal, with an Italian Giovinazzi in the grid and also Kimi in this new B team, a good car and a promising Leclerc with Vettel, also Haas in the radar, a lot of data to share and gaining momentum to challenge Mercedes this season and maybe more in 2021…


One of those drivers who should be happy to have spent any time in F1 at all, plenty of people of a similar talent level don’t get to compete in any Grand Prix, so a full season and a bit isn’t too bad is it?

He should have kept his trap shut about the shenanigans within the RB driver academy, as Kvyat has proven, there is no limit on the number of times a driver can be fired and unfired by those guys!


I wish him nothing but the very best!


Nice for Brendon. His new colleague Wehrlein may participate in this year’s Le Mans for Ferrari, plus do a couple of IndyCar weekends. Not the Indy500 though because his FE schedule has a race in Berlin then. No photo of Pascal shown here, but he looks quite different nowadays.


I like Hartley. He’s an honest driver. He may not be the fastest driver on the grid but he was not given the support that he really needed..IMO. Of course i have no access to the reality within the team but from what has been leaked he certainly was being ‘white anted’ as early as Monaco!!! What i don’t understand is the role of Marko in all of this. He was the one who brought Hartley back in and then it appears that he was the one trying to push him out? It certainly would be great to get the full story and Hartley might just let some more inside info trickle out. Let’s hope so.


He is perhaps slower than the standards expected by RB, and may be not prepared enough to jump into F1 at the start of 2018. Hope he finds his speed and experience in that Ferrari role. Though, I think, if available, Ferrari would have liked Ericsson for this role.


He has a great knowledge how the electrical energy operates in Honda engine…. It will help Ferrari to avoid any threat from RBR


Well done Hartley 👍
Back in the Ferrari play pen .


On a different note
Vijay Mallyah extradition granted by UK.
Vijay will be doing Porridge for a long long time. Jail Bird Vijay. How might the Comedy tv series Porridge intro be for Vijay voiced bt late great Ronnie Baker.
“Mr Vijay Mallyah, you have been found guilty by this court. For the crimes of…..”
How the mighty have fallen ! They’ll be opening a few bottles of Kingfisher at the Indian Embassy in UK.


There is the small matter of the appeal…!


@ BKF…That’s good news. It’s time for Mallya to face the music. Hopefully his appeal will fail and he has to return to face all those thousands of people, staff at Kingfisher Airlines who worked without pay to try and keep it going but ultimately lost out. Whilst all this was happening here was Mallya frolicking around the high society favoured hotspots in the Med. working on his ever expanding waistline with fervour. His lifestyle in comparison to those who he is alleged to have dudded couldn’t be more starkly represented. Hopefully truth will out.


Redline I’m hoping the appeal fails. This has gone on long enough. He makes Walter Mitty look almost Angelic.

Well said Kenneth 👍


@ BKF whilst i am a 100% supporter of capitalism there is a dark side to some aspects. People like Mallya, according to publically acknowledged data, appear to have an affinity with those constituents of the Socialists..Labor/Labour Party. They are great at spending other peoples/your money……for self enrichment.

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