THIS TEAM AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF US?
Daniil Kvyat is lost. That’s the only word that
can be used to describe his situation since he
was relegated from Red Bull Racing back to
Scuderia Toro Rosso ahead of May’s Spanish
Grand Prix to accommodate Max Verstappen.
Just two races after finishing on the
podium in China, and the season after
outscoring the highly rated Daniel Ricciardo
(albeit largely thanks to the Australian
getting hit with more reliability problems),
the 22-year-old Russian was at rock bottom.
Perhaps even lower after watching
Verstappen win in Spain in “his” car.
Despite Kvyat’s troubles, notably hitting
Vettel twice in the space of two turns in his
home grand prix immediately prior to this
reshuffle, they weren’t the trigger for the
change. Ferrari was sniffing around
Verstappen and the only way to ring-fence
the hottest young property in F1 was to
promote him and sign a new deal.
For many, this would have been a crushing
blow. For Kvyat, it might very well prove to
be fatal, especially given Red Bull junior
Pierre Gasly has climbed inexorably to the
top of GP2 recently. And Kvyat is the only
one who can pull himself out of the tailspin.
“I cannot blame them for this,” says
Kvyat of Red Bull. “They made me a really
strong driver, but now I’m not so strong
because of all these things that happened a
few months ago. That’s not an excuse; it’s an
explanation. These things, in the end, should
make me stronger. It made me stop enjoying
F1 for a while, but now I need to get the
enjoyment back and love what I do again.”
The love hasn’t been much in evidence,
as frustration after frustration has led to
Kvyat being unable to match teammate
Carlos Sainz Jr.’s results. Speaking after
qualifying for the last race before the
August break, the German GP at
Hockenheim, he admitted the break might
not be enough to rebuild himself and almost
sounded ready to quit. Then, in the race
itself, he showed very similar pace to Sainz
and, speaking afterward, seemed relatively
positive again. But in the first race after the
break – the Belgain GP in Spa – while solid,
his pace relative to Sainz was unremarkable.
Barring a “phoenix from the flames”
recovery, a driver with undoubted ability and
potential is finished at Red Bull. He talks of
how important it is to focus on the task at
hand, to not let his situation get to him, but
a completely new team environment seems
the only way to get back on an even keel.
Sadly, his situation means that’s unlikely.
With his Formula 1 future on the line, Daniil Kvyat has the most to lose in the Max Verstappen promotion.
Daniil Kvyat’s return
to Toro Rosso wasn’t
just based on results.
But with other Red
drivers waiting in the
wings, his chance to
remain in F1 with the
energy drink giant
appears fairly slim.
Second place in the 2015 Hungarian GP
pointed to good things for Daniil Kvyat.
Instead, 2016 was defined by more lows
than highs and, four GPs in, demotion.