Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has welcomed back former driver Daniil Kvyat for 2019, saying he knows the young Russian has the skillset to succeed in his second chance.
Kvyat’s career looked to off the rails this time last year. Having raced with Toro Rosso in 2014 before promotion to Red Bull Racing in 2015, he was quickly demoted back down to Toro Rosso in early 2016 in favour of Max Verstappen after some early racing incidents and underperforming. From there, Kvyat’s confidence seemed to take a knock and his form, and results, suffered. He was dropped by Red Bull entirely at the end of 2017.
However, with Daniel Ricciardo jumping ship to Renault for 2019, Red Bull needed a new driver to slot into a Toro Rosso and, with few options available, Kvyat was re-recruited having spent a year with Ferrari as a simulator driver.
Tost says that this wasn’t an issue of being backed into a corner in the driver market, and that Red Bull really feel that Kvyat has re-found the form he had prior to his slump: “We all know that Daniil Kvyat is a very highly-skilled driver – he’s shown that in the past. He won GP3 in his first year racing with us, he put in a very good performance in 2015 with us and then off to Red Bull Racing. I just think it all happened a bit too fast. He came back to us and there were some problems with our car in those days – we were not so competitive.”
“Daniil was then at Ferrari for a year as a simulator driver where he had the chance to learn a lot, to get more measured and the Daniil we have back now – he’s the Daniil we know from former times. Therefore, we are confident he’ll do a good job. If the car is running well like we expect it will, he’ll do a good job.”
“He is more measured, and more relaxed. If the car and package is good, he’ll be there.”
There has been rumours linking Dan Ticktum to the seat with Toro Rosso, but the second seat alongside Kvyat eventually went to Nissan e.Dams Formula E signing Alexander Albon, who raced in Formula 1 last year. When asked, Tost said that Ticktum was never under consideration and that Kvyat was always the one at the top of their shopping list to lead their 2019 campaign: “To be honest, I couldn’t believe he was out one year. It feels like just yesterday but that’s F1 – everything goes so fast. He knows all the mechanics and engineers and it was easy at the Abu Dhabi tyre test; it was like he had been racing with us the day before!”