Daniil Kvyat’s career in Formula 1 has taken another major blow as he has been forced to step down from his seat with Toro Rosso to make way for Pierre Gasly, but a team sponsor claims that the Russian will only miss two races and will be back in the cockpit for the United States Grand Prix weekend.
Serguei Beloussov, boss of technology compnay Acronis who sponsor Toro Rosso, said, “Daniil is only substituted for two races while Gasly is being tested. Carlos Sainz leaves the team at then end of this season, so everything is still open.”
Kvyat’s career in Formula 1 has been checkered, starting off as a Toro Rosso driver in 2014 he impressed and was quickly promoted to Red Bull for 2015. But a series of incidents, and the rapid emergence of Max Verstappen within the Red Bull ranks, led to Kvyat’s demotion after the Russian Grand Prix last year.
Since then Kvyat has been comprehensively out-performed by Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz. This year the Spaniard has scored 48 of the team’s total of 52 points, while Kvyat has only managed four. The writing has been on the wall for some time.
But Red Bull’s remarkable patience with Kvyat finally caved in and they have sidelined Kvyat as they assess Gasly’s state of readiness for a full season with Toro Rosso in 2018.
With Sainz departing, to Renault on loan, a seat still remains with the team for next season with no other Red Bull junior driver ready to step up. This no doubt gives Kvyat and his minders hope that he will be on the F1 grid next year.
Igor Ermilin, President of the Russian Automobile Association, remains confident, “In the face of the change to Honda engines next year, they can afford this experiment. I think that Daniil missing these two races will not affect him or the team in any way. And I do not think they have decided what will happen next year.”
The switch from Renault power to Honda could weigh in favour of Kvyat who, thanks to his experience, would be able to provide valuable feedback when comparing the two power units.
However the Red Bull driver programme, headed by Helmut Marko, is notoriously ruthless and any future decisions regarding drivers hard to predict. The Gasly promotion a case in point.
Meanwhile a return to the F1 grid in Texas for Kvyat is likely, as the weekend clashes with the Japanese Super Formula season finale where Gasly has a chance to win the championship with Honda backed Team Mugen.
The Frenchman is half a point behind the series leader, with the Suzuka double header to decide the championship on 22 October.
Whether Gasly will replace Kvyat for the races thereafter, in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, is not known as yet.
Big Question: Does Daniil deserve another season with Toro Rosso?