Brendon Hartley is working to secure a new racing programme for the 2019 season following his Formula 1 exit, but does not feel the door is closed to make a return to grand prix racing in the future.

Hartley was dropped by Toro Rosso one day after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month, with Alexander Albon taking his place for 2019.

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The New Zealander spent just over a year in F1 with Toro Rosso, scoring four points, but is now evaluating other racing programmes with all seats on the grid for 2019 taken.

"[I'm] still trying to figure that out," Hartley told New Zealand's Radio Sport  when asked about his 2019 plans.

"I've maintained a relationship with Porsche through all of this, I was with them for four years through the two world championships and Le Mans. My phone has been glued to my ear over the last week, a lot of emails.

"Not the perfect time of year to be sorting out a drive, coming into December but I've got a good reputation and just trying to figure out what the right steps are and also what's going to keep me happy.

"You will definitely see me doing something next year, but it won't be Formula 1."

Hartley won his two FIA World Endurance Championship titles with Porsche, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017, with his efforts within its LMP1 programme leading to his surprise F1 move.

Of a potential return to F1 in the future, Hartley said: "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.

"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."

'I WOULD LOVE TO TELL THE STORY ONE DAY'

Hartley's exit from Toro Rosso came following months of speculation about his future, with rumours emerging as early as the Spanish Grand Prix back in May that his position could be at risk.

"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 said.

"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. I fought, I evolved through the season.

"There were articles in the press saying 'he needs to improve and beat his teammate' and actually and the end of the season I really felt on top of my game, built great relationships with Honda, all the staff at Toro Rosso and I was consistently out-performing my teammate.

"I'm really proud of how I handled the situation and how I improved during the season."

Tensions appeared to flare at Toro Rosso, especially towards the end of the season, but Hartley remained coy when talking about the political battles he faced in F1.

"I would love to tell the story one day," Hartley said.

"The politics I don't enjoy. It took me some time to get used to the extra media attention.

"I was definitely prepared coming into Formula 1 being involved in Porsche and LMP2 but I think the pressure definitely ramped up more than I expected in terms of being under the microscope a lot more.

"But I got more and more comfortable with that during the season."

 

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