FAENZA, Italy — Daniil Kvyat’s future in Formula 1 came into murky waters on Wednesday morning, with Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko confirming that the 23-year-old Russian will not return to Scuderia Toro Rosso.
The news comes despite a 10th-place finish for Kvyat at the United States Grand Prix over the weekend, Kvyat’s first points-scoring effort since the Spanish Grand Prix in mid-May.
Though Toro Rosso has not made an official comment on Kvyat’s status as of press time, Marko — advisor to Toro Rosso due to Red Bull’s backing of the team — made his comments in German car magazine Auto Bild.
“Kvyat will not return again,” Marko told Auto Bild. “We do not believe he can make the turnaround in the long term.”
Marko added that Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, who were confirmed for the Mexican Grand Prix on Monday, will contest the three remaining races of the season (Mexico, Brazil & Abu Dhabi) at Toro Rosso.
“Gasly and Hartley will finish the season,” he said. “Then we’ll see what happens.”
Over the course of Kvyat’s 72-race Formula 1 career, the Russian (nicknamed the Torpedo) has been under scrutiny from fans and his team bosses almost since the start.
He debuted at Toro Rosso as a 19-year-old in 2014 and became the youngest points-scorer in F1 history with a ninth-place finish in the season-opener in Australia, finishing 15th in the championship standings and moving up to parent team Red Bull Racing the following year.
Kvyat scored his best-career F1 finish, a runner-up, at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2015 and added a second podium for Red Bull in China to kick-start the 2016 season.
However, it was his home race — the Russian Grand Prix — that sparked a slide for Kvyat.
Kvyat collided twice with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap of the race, earning him a demotion back to Toro Rosso before the next race in Spain as Max Verstappen moved up to replace Kvyat — promptly winning on debut with Red Bull.
Collisions this year with Fernando Alonso and then-teammate Carlos Sainz, as well as impeding Lance Stroll in back-to-back qualifying sessions, brought Kvyat within a whisker of being banned for a Grand Prix due to penalty points, but it was Toro Rosso that ultimately benched the Russian in favor of Gasly in Malaysia and Japan after Kvyat crashed out again in Singapore.
He returned for Sunday’s race at Circuit of the Americas only because Gasly was requested by future Toro Rosso engine supplier Honda to compete in the Japanese Super Formula finale at Suzuka — a race that was ultimately washed out by a typhoon.
With Toro Rosso out of the equation and all seats but Sauber and Williams having officially been accounted for, Kvyat’s option to remain on the grid in 2018 may come down to the second seat alongside Stroll at Williams — a pairing that has seen contention already from opposite ends of the paddock.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
Email Race Chaser Online: [email protected]
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews