Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko has made a telling revelation about how highly he rates Daniil Kvyat, but at the same time is mystified why the Russian driver failed to deliver as expected a fact that ultimately led to his demise and ousting from the Red Bull programme earlier this year.
Kvyat was a rising star not too long ago, in his first season as a Red Bull driver he outscored Daniel Ricciardo, the Aussie had a season earlier trounced Sebastian Vettel in the same team.
Asked in an interview if he felt Kvyat was more talented than Toro Rosso’s new drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly, Marko replied, “Yes, I completely agree. Unfortunately, he just showed it in his first year with Toro Rosso and in his first year with Red Bull Racing.”
Kvyat’s first year with the senior energy drinks outfit in 2015 was packed with promise, but in 2016 he fell apart. He failed to match Ricciardo and became accident prone, by the Spanish Grand Prix that year the team had demoted him back down to Toro Rosso and promoted Max Verstappen to the senior team. The rest is history…
Marko explained, “After that, [Kvyat’s] performance went down drastically. He had brake and tyre issues, that Ricciardo didn’t have. In short, something happened to him mentally. He lost his speed and his ease.”
Asked to explain the cause of the dip in performance Marko replied, “We don’t know… We tried many things, but his speed just wouldn’t come back. Unfortunately we have no idea what happened.”
“There were also too many accidents at the start of a race, and he didn’t react too well to it either. He retreated into his shell and didn’t want anybody to tell him what to do.”
Marko also recalled, “It’s sad, because I remember GP3 in Monza and Spa where he completely outperformed the competition.”
“At Toro Rosso there was also one race where he started from behind and made his way through the field,” added Marko in reference to Kvyat’s performance at the 2014 Italian Grand Prix. “He was attacking [Kimi] Raikkonen when his brakes failed. He had some sensational races.”
Marko and his team kept faith in the Russian driver, longer than they had with most of their previous drivers, but when the axe was wielded it felled Kvyat swiftly after he crashed out of the Singapore Grand Prix.
Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost explained why the team opted to drop Kvyat for Malaysia, “For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil Kvyat has not really shown his true potential so far this year.”
Kvyat raced one more time at the United States Grand Prix, replacing otherwise committed Gasly, but a week later Tost confirmed, “He is not anymore with Red Bull and therefore he is free to decide whatever he wants to do.”
Marko underlined the statement, “Kvyat will not return again. We do not believe he can make the turnaround in the long term.”
No longer a Red Bull driver, Kvyat nevertheless remains with an outside chance of returning to the grid with Williams, where he is up against well backed Sergey Sirotkin and people’s favourite Robert Kubica to land the last remaining seat on the 2018 Formula 1 grid.
Big Question: Was Red Bull fair in axing Daniil when they did?