Formula 1 star Brendon Hartley is back in New Zealand after a phenomenal breakthrough year that saw him become the ninth Kiwi to race in motorsport's top category.

With a fulltime contract safely tucked into his back pocket the 28-year-old cut a relaxed figure as he spent time with reporters at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park along with fellow Kiwi Le Mans winner and friend Earl Bamber.

Hartley conducted a number of media interviews and took a handful of hot laps in what is likely to be his only public appearance during a short summer break back home.

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He will get married to long-time partner Sarah in New Zealand early in the New Year before heading back to Europe in the middle of next month for a fulltime assault on the Formula 1 championship with Toro Rosso.

"I haven't been so involved in the planning process," Hartley told the Herald. "I've been pretty busy so I have a good excuse.

"We have a few friends coming from Europe – I think a lot of people were looking for an excuse to have a holiday in New Zealand so it will be fun.

"We are not particularly traditional so it will be a fun time with some friends and family."

There won't be a lot of time to relax or honeymoon however as Hartley is needed back in Europe to prepare for the season ahead before the end of January.

"We have a few days after to enjoy with friends and some time to get on my mountain bike a bit," he said.

Hartley will help work on the development of the Honda power train that Toro Rosso will employ in 2018. He will get his first chance to drive a Honda-powered car in winter testing at the end of February before the first round of the championship in Melbourne in March.