New Zealand's Formula 1 star Brendon Hartley is welcoming any push from Red Bull to hurry the development upgrades to the Honda engine his Toro Rosso team is using this year.

With Red Bull switching to Honda power in 2019 there have been concerns raised that Hartley and the Toro Rosso team will serve as guinea pigs, helping speed up the development of Honda's power unit before the big team begins using it.

But Hartley, who has already used his three allocated power units and will therefore incur a grid penalty whenever new updates are introduced, is welcoming any boost in power.

"I think there were always updates planned, one of which has already come, but I know there is other stuff in the pipeline but at least from what I have seen, I haven't seen any added pressure," Hartley said.


"Of course we will welcome all the performance gains that we can.

"The way the team is working together and systematically going through it collectively – Toro Rosso and Honda together – it is all going in the right direction."

Many think Hartley is instrumental in providing feedback to the team and to Honda about his car and engine and that his previous experience working with the factory Porsche outfit in the World Endurance Championship is ideally suited to the current situation.

Despite pretty ordinary results to this point Hartley still feels positive about where the team is heading.

"It was a really positive start from the first laps at Barcelona testing, where I think a lot of people had written us off before the season had even started. Collecting the most laps on the first test was already a positive start.

"I think everyone at Toro Rosso saw it as a big opportunity having Honda on board.

"We have had an update already in Canada. The progress keeps moving forward every weekend and I think it is only positive I would say between the relationship between Toro Rosso and Honda."

Hartley enjoyed some time out, mountain biking in the United Kingdom after the last race at Silverstone a fortnight ago.


He suffered a massive crash in qualifying at the British Grand Prix when the suspension on his Toro Rosso collapsed and sent him into a scary high-speed collision with the wall. But he feels no lingering effect from the incident.

"Actually waking up on the Sunday I was ready to go," he explained. "There were almost no knock-on effects, which was a surprise after watching a replay myself and seeing how spectacular it looked.

"In fact the impact was smaller than what I had at both Canada and Barcelona – I think I have probably taken the top three crashes of the season by myself.

"Hopefully that doesn't happen again."

Hartley is looking forward to this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring.

"It is a proper track; it has got history – obviously not the same one that was raced many years ago through the forest.

"I am remaining surprisingly optimistic after the last few results I've had. I feel most of the bad results over the last two months have been out of my control. I still feel strong and in good spirits and ready to take on this weekend.

"As we have all seen from P7 – after the top three teams – to the very back it is a very tight battle. If we are able to eke out two more tenths from the car from any area of development that could mean securing quite a few points or not scoring."