Brendon Hartley has said he “would love to tell the story” about his axing at Toro Rosso this season.
The New Zealander faced speculation about his Formula 1 from pretty much the start of the 2018 season and eventually lost his seat to Alexander Albon for the 2019 season.
But Hartley is content with how he handled himself throughout those testing times.
“I mean there were rumours very early in the season which was a big surprise to me when I thought I’d signed a long-term contract,” Hartley told New Zealand radio station Newstalk ZB.
“I came off the back of a World Championship and a Le Mans win and after just 2-3 races there were rumours and lot of questions being asked about my immediate future.
“I’m happy with how I handled that. I feel under the circumstances other people could have potentially cracked and I actually came out much stronger because of it.”
Hartley went on to say that he felt that he did everything right during his first full season with Toro Rosso to warrant another year with the team.
He added: “I fought, I evolved through the season, there were articles in the press saying ‘look he needs to improve, beat his team-mate’ and at the end of the season I felt on top of my game.
“I built great relationships with Honda, the staff at Toro Rosso, and was consistently out-performing my team-mate.
“It wasn’t particularly easy, seven years away from single-seaters, but I was very comfortable with the job I was doing at the end of the year.
“What I will say is F1 is very complicated, there’s a lot of money involved, politics, and some of the reasons drivers stay or leave isn’t always in your control or for reasons of pure performance.
“In any case I left the paddock with my head held high.
“I knew I’d given it my best shot this year. I knew that I’d stepped up to the plate when I needed to.”
Hartley was pressed on whether he could tell the full story behind his departure, but said some elements would have to stay confidential for now.
He said: “I mean…yeah there are probably parts of it that I can’t really disclose.
“I would love to tell the story one day. Probably not everything I can disclose to be perfectly honest.
“The politics, I don’t enjoy, it took me some time to let’s say get used to the extra media attention.
“I was definitely prepared coming into F1 being involved in Porsche in LMP1 but the pressure ramped up more than expected, in terms of being under the microscope more, but I definitely got more and more comfortable with that during the season.”
Although he has been axed, Hartley is open to returning to Formula 1 in the future.
“I would never say it’s closed. 10 years ago when that door was effectively shut, I’ve proven that it’s possible to open it again,” he said.
“I’m now in a position where I have a Super License, I have hands-on Formula 1 experience, I definitely didn’t disgrace myself and I definitely wouldn’t say that door is closed.
“Things, as everyone can see in this situation, can change quickly. The door could still potentially be open.”