Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Singapore, 2017

Analysis: Was Kvyat unlucky to be dropped – or lucky to be kept?

2017 F1 season

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Daniil Kvyat was dropped by Red Bull in 2016, relegated to Toro Rosso, who dropped him earlier this year. They then brought him back for one race, only to drop him again.

You couldn’t accuse Toro Rosso of being too sentimental about the driver who’d started 51 races for them. The team’s decision to drop him for the second time in a month was announced in a perfunctory, 25-word statement which didn’t mention him by name.

Daniil Kvyat, GP3, Yas Marina, 2013
Kvyat arrived in F1 from GP3
For all this, was Kvyat hard done by at the hands of Red Bull and their junior team?

Red Bull’s approach to bringing new Formula One drivers into the sport is not like other teams. No other outfit has a dedicated second-string team, openly referred to as their ‘kindergartern’, containing their graduates from a junior team programme which extends across a wide range of lower formulae.

But from the outset Kvyat’s entrance into Formula One differed from the normal progression of Red Bull’s most successful young talents.

Late in 2013 it was clear which of Red Bull’s two drivers at GP3 squad Arden was having the better season. It was not Carlos Sainz Jnr who, in stark contrast to their future form as F1 team mates, usually finished behind Kvyat in the non-reverse grid races.

After a difficult start to the season getting used to Pirelli’s fragile tyres, Kvyat hit his stride in the second half of the year. Eighth in the championship at half-distance, with two races to go Red Bull decided to promote him to F1 with Toro Rosso in 2014.

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At the time it wasn’t hard to see their justification for leapfrogging Kvyat passed his senior and more experienced team mate. But Sainz wasn’t the only young Red Bull driver Kvyat overtook in the queue.

Antonio Felix da Costa, who was Kvyat’s flat mate at the time, had stunned in 2012 when he made a mid-season switch to Formula Renault 3.5, then a thriving series which rivalled GP2. Up against experienced talents like Jules Bianchi, Sam Bird and eventual champion Robin Frijns, Da Costa out-scored the lot over the second half of the season and won four of the last five races.

His return to the championship the following year did not produce the slam-dunk title win many expected. Instead, with a trio of wins, he ended the year third behind future F1 talents Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne. Failing to deliver the 3.5 title hadn’t stopped Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo from being promoted to F1 with Red Bull, but Da Costa was overlooked in favour of Kvyat, and shunted off into the DTM.

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Albert Park, 2014
Points on his F1 debut in 2014
The arrival of the Russian Grand Prix on the calendar was also well-timed for Kvyat. Red Bull, one of F1’s most highly-remunerated teams despite their relatively junior status, delivered a Russian onto the F1 grid in time for the championship’s inaugural race in Sochi.

At the time Kvyat’s debut looked hasty. Since then Max Verstappen’s arrival in F1 as a 17-year-old has changed that perspective. Their paths intersected soon after Verstappen’s 2015 debut, at which time Kvyat’s career path was continuing its remarkably steep ascent due to a surprising turn of events

Verstappen had already been announced as a future Toro Rosso racer when he took to the track for his first F1 practice session at Suzuka in 2014. The same weekend Sebastian Vettel made the shock announcement of his impending departure from Red Bull to Ferrari.

Red Bull’s driver line-up had been unchanged for five years. Now its junior team was required to elevate two drivers to the top team in consecutive seasons. Ricciardo had taken the place of Mark Webber at the end of 2013 and now a replacement for Vettel was needed.

In 2014, Vergne scored almost three-quarters of Toro Rosso’s total points haul. But Kvyat, still only 20, impressed by winning the qualifying battle. At the end of the year Vergne was shown the door and Kvyat began his second full season of F1 now driving for a championship-winning team.

Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2016
Kvyat scuttled his rivals in his final drive for Red Bull
If Kvyat won his place at Red Bull because he’d shown potential rather than performance at Toro Rosso, the same analysis worked against him in his only full season at the top team. Ricciardo was the quicker driver in qualifying and although Kvyat out-scored him by three points it was clear other factors had tipped that balance.

Kvyat stood on an F1 podium for the first time at the Hungaroring in 2015. Earlier in the race he was told to let his quicker team mate by, and Ricciardo might have won had he not picked up front wing damage while battling with Nico Rosberg.

A second podium appearance for Kvyat followed in China the following year, after he infuriated Vettel with a daring pass at the start. But when the pair clashed again at the next round, the consequences were devastating for Kvyat.

Heading into the first braking zone Kvyat rammed Vettel, knocking him into Ricciardo, then at the next corner he finished off Vettel with another hit from behind. As well as ruining his own race and Ricciardo’s, Sainz’s Toro Rosso ingested debris from the collision which put him out of the running. Kvyat had single-handled compromised three of Red Bull’s four cars.

This was the moment from which his career never recovered. Verstappen, who’d impressed in 2015 and begun his second season at Toro Rosso brightly, was given Kvyat’s seat.

Had Red Bull’s junior team been as full of potential talent as it had been when Kvyat was given his F1 debut, there would have been no shortage of drivers to take the vacant Toro Rosso seat. There wasn’t, and Kvyat rejoined Sainz. His former team mate proceeded to take a bat to him, out-qualifying Kvyat more often than not and out-scoring him by a whopping 42 to four.

Start, Red Bull Ring, 2017
Deja vu: Kvyat triggered Red Bull Ring crash
Surely that was it for Kvyat? By the end of 2016 Red Bull had the reigning GP2 champion Pierre Gasly on their books who would be an obvious fit alongside the more experienced Sainz at Toro Rosso. But no, Kvyat was given another season and Gasly was shipped off to Japanese Super Formula.

“Kvyat would be forgiven for feeling edgy about his prospects of seeing out 2017 in the STR12,” was F1 Fanatic’s verdict on his prospects for this season at the end of last year. His form didn’t change: At mid-season he was almost on par with Sainz in qualifying, but had contributed just four of Toro Rosso’s 39 points. Nor had he learned how to stay out of trouble: in 12 months he had accumulated more penalty points than championship points.

Kvyat’s departure was announced almost four years to the day since he was given his F1 chance. Toro Rosso’s decision to drop him before the end of 2017 vindicates those who questioned their judgement in keeping him to begin with.

A Sainz-Gasly partnership would have made vastly more sense. Having loaned Sainz to Renault, Toro Rosso has had to recall a driver it first dropped seven years ago. The team is now running a pair of promising but highly inexperienced drivers at a time when its position in the constructors’ championship is under threat from two teams within six points of them.

Whether or not the loss of financial backing from Russia played a role in Kvyat losing his seat, if the point of Toro Rosso is to prepare drivers to race at Red Bull, Kvyat has fallen short of that standard for some time. Far from being hard done by, he was fortunate to get as many chances as he did.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 61 comments on “Analysis: Was Kvyat unlucky to be dropped – or lucky to be kept?”

    1. I think it would be fair to mention that he had atrocious reliability in his second stint in the Toro rosso, which contributed greatly to his lack of points, that said, RB would have been better off keeping Verne…

      1. 4 retirements including one which I know was completely his fault is hardly atrocious.

        1. I think there is one single technical problem (not immediately leading to retirement) which was atrocious to him: At the early part of the 2016 Monaco GP. Having been dropped from Red Bull was a hard hit for him, but at the earlier part of the Monaco weekend, including qualifying, he looked defiant, somewhat at it again. It was when his car-electronics failed him, and after he needed two trips to the pits (including losing a lap) to rectify it when he lost his cool, and those laps behind slower cars that were a lap ahead, the crash with Magnussen, and probably a subsequent bashing by Marko, somewhere in there he completely broke.
          Now there has been enough time to see whether he would eventually come back to form, and he did not, but it’s still worth mentioning that he was significantly better in the first part of his career than what we saw lately. Not as good as Ricciardo or Verstappen and thus rightfully demoted, but… I somehow cannot help but feel this was an human asset that was not optimally managed and utilized.

        2. I recall there were a lot more non race ending problems, not just complete blow ups.

      2. I miss Jev. He could’ve done a decent job in Kvyat’s position alongside Ricciardo. I don’t think Jev was better than Max, but he was miles ahead of Kvyat, that’s for sure. He deserved more F1 time. In fact he deserved to be recalled instead of Hartley (who I regard as a tremendous driver, make no mistake, but at the end of the day he’s an established sportscar racer).

        1. this (excellent) article really made me feel for JEV. i felt at the time he was extremely harshly done by on several occasions, and it appears (though will never be confirmed) that it all came down to money. toro rosso seem to rely quite heavily on pay driver money (e.g. sean gelael), which is hardly surprising given the inequities in the sport – but you can’t help but feel it’s something of a false economy at times. think how good williams could have been this year if they’d had 2 drivers as good as bottas in 2016 – surely those results would more than offset whatever the strolls are paying.

    2. His drop to Toro Rosso was certainly unlucky but seemingly inevitable as Max showed his immense potential, sure the incidents at China and Russia were his fault but not dreadful by any means, he got a podium in China. However, somewhat understandably, his performance at TR has been appalling and he deserves to be dropped from there. 5 points vs Sainz’ 50 odd is woeful. In particlular I remember he was running quite well at Singapore, only to end up in the barriers with no one else to blame. The question on my mind is will he ever return? Williams have stated their interest in him as an option for next year but I really hope he does not end up at Williams when there are 3/4 better alternatives. So I doubt it. It’s sad to see Kvyat go so unceremoniously but he has brought the drop from the RBR programme on himself.

      1. I can’t see a place for him anywhere else. If Williams are to take the young driver route, then Wehrlein is clearly the more interesting prospect and would come with some money/favour from Mercedes. Short of that, I’d rather they take a gamble on Kubica. In fact… if I were Williams, I’d give him (Kubica) the race at Abu Dhabi this year to test it out if Massa is willing to retire (again!) at Interlagos.

    3. You can make arguments from both sides here…. I don’t think he’s been particularly lucky or unlucky here though. He’s just another young Red Bull driver who didn’t quite make the grade (I don’t think anyone is going to argue that he should be in the Red Bull over Verstappen or Ricciardo)

      He’s unlucky that just as he got his chance at Red Bull, Max Verstappen appeared on the scene but that’s how the Red Bull Young Driver Programme works – he wouldn’t have got a chance in a top car at all if it wasn’t for that programme so you have to take the rough with the smooth.

      I wouldn’t say Kvyat has impressed me more than Vergne, Buemi or Alguersuari and they all got a similar amount of races before being dropped – can anyone make a good argument for putting any of them in a Red Bull over Ricciardo or Verstappen? Doubt it…. With Sainz positioned as the current back-up to those 2, there is no point in keeping Kvyat for another season.

      Toro Rosso will continue to look for the next Verstappen/Ricciardo/Vettel but once it becomes apparent that a driver isn’t on that level (they usually get around 50 races to prove this), they will be dropped. The fact that very few of the Toro Rosso rejects get offered seats with other teams suggests that the decision to let them go was correct.

      1. Totally agree with you – summed up much more efficiently than my ramble below.

        No room at Red Bull, who have quality drivers and easily the second best in the junior team. Football style relegation rules apply at Red Bull…

      2. From what I understood drivers who come from the Red Bull program have to pay back their “education” cost. This also helps stop them from moving to other F1 teams immediately (unless the new team is willing to cough up the money).

        I wonder what happens when the trainee is dropped from the program. Are they still held to pay this back or is it waived when they get the boot. Because if this hangs over their head trying to find another team then that would seriously hurt their chances.

        1. @patrickl – Didn’t know about that. I guess if a driver is good enough, the new team will pay whatever they have to pay but if it’s a middle-level driver, it’s enough to make you consider other options.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          1st November 2017, 20:25

          @patrickl I’d love to know what sort of investment Red Bull makes into their junior drivers. Also, I do have to wonder if the contractual obligations disappear after they leave Red Bull or are dropped by them.

          1. It costs red bull about 5 million. I’ve no idea about the payback.

          2. Yeah exactly. I also wonder what happens if they get the axe. I can imagine it would be hard to find another F1 team after Torro Rosso when your previous employer demands several million from a potential future employer.

            On the other hand it could very well be that the payback gets waived if they are cut from STR. Seeing how they deal with the (dropped) drivers I doubt that though.

    4. It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for him, but I think Kvyat has suffered from two factors; firstly, a promotion that came far too soon, and secondly, Max Verstappen.

      When Vettel moved to Ferrari, to my mind it was clear that the driver for promotion was Jean-Eric Vergne. He’d served his time and compared favourably to Ricciardo at Toro Rosso. For whatever reason, Kvyat was given the chance to prove himself at the highest level, when he should have had another season honing his skills at Toro Rosso.

      Once Max Verstappen came along, Red Bull had to play hard to keep up with the demand for the youngster. Mercedes and Ferrari were swarming and Red Bull had to offer something more substantial than a seat at the 6th-8th best team on the grid. Something had to give… and unfortunately for him it was Mr Kvyat.

      He was the given another chance to prove Red Bull wrong against the highly rated Carlos Sainz and he did not take it.

      It’s painful to see young careers such as Kvyat, Jaime Alguersuari and the like cut short by Red Bull, but equally, Formula One is for the very best. Kvyat is clearly not as good as Ricciardo, Verstappen or Sainz, so he had to drop out to find the next talent.

      1. Agreed1
        But the current talents do not impress me much. I do not see anything special to prove they are the talents TR/RBR is looking for.

    5. It’s strange how much credit some drivers get and some don’t get. Kvyat, Raikonen, Bottas… I really don’t see why there teams shoul keep them.

    6. Lucky to be kept.
      But that was hard to say. Feel real sorry for Daniil but he didn’t perform after being dropped by Red Bull and with Gasly and now Hartley (coming from nowhere) he is done.

      The guy has talent and is fast & he can be a great driver if he can get a life-line elsewhere. Williams maybe but I don’t think so.

      I know Helmut Marko has a job to do, but who can trust this guy – pure lies.

      Best of luck to Daniil – I have met him a few times, once in Melbourne with my son and he was awesome, the next at testing after being dropped by RBR and Max won in Spain. You could tell he wasn’t happy but so professional but I felt so sorry for him that day- a broken young man!

      Williams maybe??

      1. He has looked fragile to me since then. It’s tough losing employment of any kind. But no longer being a Formula 1 driver (a dream for many) must be devastating if you’re not ready for it.

    7. He wasn’t impressive on his debut season, he wasn’t impressive with what was the worst Red Bull in 6 years and he wasn’t impressive back at Toro Rosso, in fact, he was worse than ever there.

      His win over Ricciardo back in ’15 didn’t mean anything as reliability was pretty bad that year and Ricciardo lost some results at the end of the year to try new versions of the PU, starting from the back.

      He is not better than Ricciardo or Verstappen, so he wouldn’t last on Red Bull anyway, maybe he could find himself a place at another team, but i doubt it. In the end, he is gone after 3 years, just like the average Toro Rosso guy. His difference is that he won a short trip to Red Bull in between.

    8. Tough call whether he still deserves a spot. If so I guess only Williams and Ferrari have shown in the past to rather go for experience than potential

    9. a bit of both.. Red Bull have a young driver program which wants to bring great drivers to F1, so far Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Sainz are going great – while Kvyat has not been great but decent, so they keep with their theme and give someone else a good. Hartley, though not technically a young driver, has been doing well in other series so Red Bull are testing to see if he can be great in f1.

    10. Lucky to be signed

    11. I consider Kyvat unlucky to have been kept… …and hired too soon in the first place.

      It would have been fairer on him if he had been dropped in Spain 2016 (as was transparently the intention) and helped to find a place elsewhere (be that in F1, elsewhere in the Red Bull empire or simply in a different seat in motorsport). That Toro Rosso didn’t want Daniil was obvious. Franz Tost hates failure and this was hardly going to be an exception. Nobody else has ever made Toro Rosso work after getting into Franz’s bad graces, and Daniil had done so via the last 4 races at Red Bull. The subsequent 18 months has simply been a lengthy, painful and inevitable goodbye, with no plausible chance of salvaging anything.

      Not that hiring someone who’d taken 3 years to master Formula Renault-level racing, and was only one year beyond doing so, was exactly promising in the first place. I think I said at the time that if Daniil succeeded in F1, it was a problem for F1’s claim to have the most talented drivers in the world (since it would suggest F1 was less difficult than GP2/F2 – no GP2/F2 team would hire someone with such a poor record unless they came with a lot of money). For a time, it looked like Daniil would succeed anyway. With a more patient team, perhaps he could have done. But had Red Bull been a more patient team, Daniil may never have had this problem in the first place, and we could be telling a completely different story.

    12. Still something remarkable about how Verstappen was brought into the fold. He’s a Red Bull junior in name only. Sainz, Kvyat and Gasly got so unlucky and frankly blindsighted by him. He was not a Red Bull junior. Most of the juniors that reached F1 were with Red Bull from Formula Renault and were in the fold for at least three years before reaching F1. Verstappen was brought into the Junior Team only once he had signed for STR. Really, that was the point most of them had their careers ruined or at the least put in definite hold. Even Sainz, who has been so much better in F1 than his junior career suggested he would, is unlikely to reach the heights his first few years suggest he can. Because Red Bull changed the deal, if you will. Might as well explain the current dearth in the Red Bull Junior Team: nobody trusts them to stay loyal to their drivers, years of performing in lower categories and then being sidestepped for someone from the outside.

      1. Makes you question why they need a junior team anymore.

        1. Because they will correctly feel that years of experience, training, bringing talent slowly, getting them totally engrained in the team, is still the best method. Verstappen was a bolt from beyond. Yes, I agree that perhaps they can just scout the best talents in (relatively) late stages of their development, but then they have to compete with Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, as indeed they did for Verstappen. But a Junior Team, in theory, allows them to cherry pick the best karters, FR drivers and other really young guys. Marko has an eye (literally) for that, I guess, even with plenty of misses. Verstappen is the exception, but then the fact that his second ever season of motorsport was in F1 is still exceptional to an almost unbelievable degree.

    13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st November 2017, 13:56

      If we look at this objectively and forget about the demotion, the person.

      First if we look at Max’s promotion, his victory in Spain – which was incidentally courtesy of Rosberg – validated his promotion right from the get-go. His race in Brazil 2016, though, was something that left all of us speechless. We’d only seen and heard of a few drivers capable of such feats under rain.

      Kvyat drove for Toro Rosso in 2016 from races 5-21 which is 17 races. In those races he only managed to score 4 points while his teammate scored 34 (I believe).

      At that point, it didn’t seem likely that Kvyat could make a recovery. They extended him for another year and it’s obvious that a recovery at Toro Rosso will not happen. Kvyat has scored 5 points and cost his teammate alone 15-20 points (Sainz could have scored massively in Baku) so he has actually managed to score negative points for the team.

      Could Toro Rosso give him another year?

      If they did, why not give him a 4th year, and a 5th, and a 6th?

      He’s already had plenty of chances to match Sainz, let alone impress the team and from a results perspective he has failed miserably. Toro Rosso might have been better driving a single car in 2016 and 2017 and that argument alone is a reason for Toro Rosso to offer his car to another driver. They are paying for a second car and are losing points and money having that car participate in races – money that they could have spent on Sainz’s car.

      1. No arguing there’s not a place for him anymore in the junior programme, what annoys me is the way it was handled.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          1st November 2017, 15:51

          @paeschli How else could it have been handled?

          If Kvyat had scored as many points as Sainz and also not affected Sainz in a couple of races, Toro Rosso would have been commandingly ahead of Williams right now in the WCC in P5 which would have been their best result surpassing their P6 in 2008.

          If he had scored half of Sainz’s points they would have been 1 point behind.

          They are currently sitting in P6 which is their best finish but that’s all because of Sainz’s performance.

          Aside from Toro Rosso besting their own result in F1, how much is P5 worth versus P6 in the WCC?

          1. I think you are one in an extreme minority that thinks Sainz wasn’t at fault for spinning himself in Baku. If you add that he lost a chance to do a lot more because of Kvyat, then he blew his chances of an even better result anyway by getting himself a 3 place grid drop from the previous race and qualifying behind Kvyat. Kvyat may have caused him to over react, but the way he did was totally unnecessary and the commentates on Sky and Channel 4 thought so too. It was just a massive over reaction. Kvyat was slowly coming back onto the track as close to the wall as possible. Sainz moved over suddenly when there was over half a cars width between them and spun. He had no need to do that. I think Kvyat was to blame in Britain, but the team boss blamed both of them equally. So saying Kvyat has cost Sainz 15 – 20 points is really harsh.

            Sainz certainly has done very well, but has missed out on many points down to his own mistakes too and he’s lost more due to this than because of Kvyat. He crashed out in Bahrain, Canada and Japan and has caused more retirements than any other driver this season. Even if he has done well, he clearly has done nothing like as well as he could have done and lots of this is due to his own mistakes.

            1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              1st November 2017, 22:40

              @thegianthogweed Yes I definitely am in the minority with Baku but I still believe that Kvyat’s return to the race was risky – a lot of people think this was easy to avoid. Brundle would have probably died in that corner :-) Just kidding!

              As you said Sainz could have scored possibly more points if he had driven the perfect season. That means that Kvyat could have also easily scored 48 points.

              I feel bad for Toro Rosso – they are in P6 but they could have snatched P5 this year and hit the 100 point mark. They could have used that money to give bonuses to the team.

            2. Kvyat could have done a lot better, but given that he has had significantly worse luck than Sainz, I don’t think he’ll have managed as many as Sainz even if he was as good. I think that if their luck had been switched round, Kvyat would have around 18, and Sainz probably under 30. So that still proves Sainz is a huge amount better I guess. But there are races like Austria and 1 or 2 others where Kvyat looked better and would likely have got more points if not for him suffering bad luck. But this didn’t happen. And he has only got 5. I think if their luck had been even this season, Sainz probably would have fractionally less than he does now and Kvyat would probably have 10 – 14. All guesswork, but Kvayt certainly lost out on easily beating Sainz in Australia, getting 2 points in Monaco, and although he had a bad first corner in Baku, if he didn’t have engine problems later, he will have likely had a better finishing position than Sainz as he looked stronger than him that weekend IMO.

    14. Hi, long time reader, second time commentator. This was a great read. I love these longer pieces weighing up the pros and cons of an argument. Thanks Keith!

      It’s hard to argue that Kyvat was hard done-by. Although that crash for RB does feel like a turning point and being demoted to a junior team seems to have crushed his confidence. I wonder if things would have turned out differently for him had he a) not had that one horrific lap, taking out three bull cars and b) Max Verstappen wasn’t such a hot prospect who they clearly wanted to switch (Although I always felt Sainz held his own with Verstappen and MV was overrated, until Brazil last year that is!)

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st November 2017, 15:42


        He did a fantastic job explaining the gravity of that lap and didn’t even have to include the fact that Kvyat managed to hit a former Red Bull driver who had won 4 championships with them.

        It really was the catalyst for Verstappen’s promotion – ironic as the crash compromised all the RB affiliated drivers on the grid (Vettel included) except Verstappen and yet he benefited the most from the crash even post-race.

        1. I don’t think Russia 2016 actually had little to do with his demotion back to Toro Rosso. I’d bet that it was going to happen anyway in the coming races and if anything, they pushed it forwards to make it look like there was a connection.

          1. When that season started the thought why RBR didn’t promote Max from race 1 had crossed my mind, because of Max’s reputation and because Kvyat was obviously challenged over his head. It became more and more evident what was going to happen and I believe that Kvyat’s total collapse in Russia was a consequence of the immense pressure he felt, because he already knew what was coming. Out of courtesy for Russia and/or some Russian sponsors, I think RBR wanted to wait until after the race in Russia. Kvyat tried – obviously too hard – to show that he deserved the seat with RB, also – and especially in Russia. I think that he broke, because he tried too hard to be better and faster than he was, and that is a pity for him and something we all can make a mental note of:
            If You are hard pressured at work or in sports, then take care that You don’t screw up because You try too hard, too aggressive. Keep cool, work more, do the best You can, take whatever happens with an open clear mind, but avoid being known for screwing up big time!
            Why Kvyat had the seat for so long in 2017? I don’t know, sponsors or lack of other talent, which Torro Rosso could make an agreement with?

      2. @squeakywheel You’re welcome :-)

    15. my second comment of this topic, Kvyat deserved to be dropped because he was not quick enough. F1 needs the best drivers in the world. I’m actually quite sick of too many young drivers being given a seat in f1, it works for some – like Verstappen, but others like Stroll produce 1 good performance every 5 races, and its usually because of others positions in the race. I wish F1 could field “the best drivers in the world” – Poach drivers from other series and forget about pay drivers. let young drivers develop in junior series – hire young drivers into f1 for 6 races, and if they are not immediately fast like great drivers like Verstappen, put them back into 2nd tier series. look at Palmer, he had more than a season and a half and showed glipses of speed so sporadically that it makes F1 a joke that is meant to be the pinnacle of motor racing… but here I am ranting, in f1 the champion each year is always the guy in the fastest car…

      1. Oh come on. You want to rewrite the history of F1 in some romantized notion of “the pinnacle of motorsport?” Young lions duking it out in the worlds fastest machinery? In your dreams mate. F1 has always been a mixed bag of professionals, has-beens, rich kids and rookies. Since 1950 – look it up.

    16. Michael Brown (@)
      1st November 2017, 15:31

      Unlucky to be sent to Toro Rosso in 2016 (until Verstappen’s performance in Brazil), and lucky to be kept for 2017. In my opinion, Vergne should have gone to Red Bull in 2015 instead of Kyvat. I think Kyvat was sent to Red Bull too early and fell apart as a result.

    17. That 2014 Torro Rosso is top 3 in the worst looking racing cars of all time. Gonzo on wheels. No wonder half the world switched off!

    18. He was lucky to be kept in Toro Rosso but unlucky to be dropped from Red Bull. That’s all.

    19. The end was just little sad as the last race was one of his best. But the damage had been done earlier. Similar feelings about the end of Jan Magnussen’s F1 career.

    20. I think he had plenty of talent but the early promotion to Red Bull wrecked any chance of him having a decent career.

      Some drivers can be pushed early and respond well… Hamilton, Verstappen… but the vast majority need a few years of ‘learning’ before they get launched into the big leagues. He wasn’t mentally ready for Red Bull, then had his head shattered even more when he was demoted. There was never a way back from that.

      So… a mixture of the two options, I think. He was lucky to get another shot in 2017, and equally unlucky that his career developed as it did.

    21. ”Was Kvyat unlucky to be dropped – or lucky to be kept?” – Lucky to be kept for as long as he was.

    22. I’m not a fan of judging anyones performance based primarily on points, but the fact, that Toro Rosso scored exactly 100 points during the races Sainz and Kvyat spent together as teammates in 2016 and 2017, and 92 of them belongs to Sainz, cannot be explained by bad luck, technical failures or anything, that’s just too big of a difference. If Williams picks him, and would be trusted him with the role of the lead driver, he might get back on track, but he hasn’t done enough to be among the first picks for any remaining seats, I’m afraid.

    23. Is Verstappen lucky that JEV was let go instead of Kvyat?

      Wouldn’t the early promotion of Verstappen to RBR have been made more difficult if JEV was promoted to RBR instead of Kvyat and had proven to be a steady hand with potentially fewer mistakes? Especially if he had similar success to Kvyat’s without the costly errors.

      Alternate history is full of what ifs could have beens. Interesting to ponder though…

    24. Kvyat can really complain about how he was finally dropped this last time. That was bad particularly cause they called him back for one race and the engineers apparently praised him after the race. On the other hand he asked for clarity and he got it!

      For the question in the title, to me it is easy: he was lucky to be kept. I was not convinced when he joined but he did a god job on his rookie season. He also did a good job in 2015 for Red Bull. Actually by saying he did a good job I mean he performed better than I expected. It was a bit harsh his relegation back to Toro Rosso, looked a bit rushed BUT we cannot deny the Verstappen Effect. Red Bull wanted to see how Max would do.
      In the end he was lucky to be kept for this season. As many people said he wasn’t good enough for Red Bull so once he went back why did they kept him? I guess they were not too confident on Gasly or though that Gasly as reserve driver for the main team made more sense…
      Still no much logic in retaining Kvyat considering the main goal for Toro Rosso (junior team to provide drivers for Red Bull).

    25. Before 2014 great, from there onwards not f1 material.

    26. I believe, the big shunt in qualification at Japan end of 2015 and a few races later the crash during the race at COTA was already Daniil’s downfall. Also the fact that Max that year in his Toro Rosso was often on the same pace as Daniil, which didn’t helped him either. Judgement day came than after his aggressive driving in Shanghai and the double crash in Sochi.

    27. Not a fan but think he did ok…Williams would be able to find a good driver here… better than MAS.

      1. In what universe did kvyat do a better job than massa this year? What makes you think he would improve beyond massa level anytime soon? Poor excuse to send massa out again, he might be older but he’s also better than kvyat currently.

    28. Hope 13th place and DNF in the last race will be the top result of that team for many years to come.
      Honda, please sink Mucca Rosso to the very bottom of cemetery of failed F1 teams next year!
      BTW now I own Honda 2.4 liter Accord and it’s the second best car I’ve ever drove after BMW 3.0 liter turbodiesel valkyrie.

    29. Great article, one addition, Max had a 3 year deal. 2 years Torro then in the third year he automatically moves to Red Bull………

      1. As an italian, I’m gonna have to remind you (and everyone who writes torro) that it’s toro, just 1 r, the equivalent of bull; rosso, the equivalent of bull, has 2 s, seen some people writing the opposite on both words!

        1. Rosso equivalent of red ofc, I meant, can’t edit.

    30. @keithcollantine The reason why Toro Rosso kept faith in Kvyat for so long was that, in spite of all his troubles, he was inherently very quick.

      More often than not, he matched Sainz’s quali and race pace over their time together – laptimes tell the story, but if we need insider opinions, just look up a few Franz Tost interview about Kvyat.

      Austin this year is a prime example that, if need be (i. e. if something big is at stake), he can deliver – he was much quicker than the highly-rated Hartley in both quali and race trim, even if we consider Hartley probably went full race setup, having incurred his engine penalties. Said penalties, by the way, meant he had a newer-spec engine compared to Kvyat which was 0.2s per lap quicker, according to Mark Hughes.

      In a nutshell, Kvyat’s problem was always consistency and staying out of trouble and because he was SO quick otherwise, Red Bull just kept hoping he can mature. They’ve probably never seen someone so quick but at the same time so inconsistent and error-prone. Their hopes can be justified to a point – even in the case of cars, there’s the saying that ‘it’s easier to make a quick but unreliable car reliable than a slow but reliable car quick.’

      So there’s the reason for Kvyat’s higher-than-usual number of chances.

    31. That was a fascinating read, @keithcollantine. In my mind, Marko had already guaranteed Kvyat’s seat to the Verstappens after Sochi. The double-whammy into Vettel just made it look like that was the reason for the decision. In BHR Kvyat finished 7th and in CHN 3rd, so he was doing pretty well at the beginning of 2016 before Sochi. There seemed to be a lot of heated discussions between Marko and Verstappen Snr. prior to Sochi and, at the time, it left me wondering whether the Verstappens had a get-out clause from the Red Bull family if Marko failed to promote Max early enough for their liking.

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