Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat says he’s been eagerly awaiting this weekend for a while now, since the announcement of his return to Formula 1.
The popular Russian driver went through a tumultuous phase throughout 2016 and 2017. Having been promoted to Red Bull Racing from Toro Rosso at the end of 2014, Kvyat had a steady ’15 but a poor start to ’16 meant he was relegated back to the junior team while Max Verstappen took his seat at RBR.
From there, Kvyat struggled with confidence and form and was dropped by Red Bull at the end of 2017. He was signed up by Ferrari as a simulator driver and spent a year on the sidelines with the Scuderia. The experience seems to have served him well as, when Red Bull wanted to replace Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly at the Toro Rosso team, they called up Daniil again.
Team boss Franz Tost was very welcoming of his return, saying the feeling within Red Bull is that they promoted the young Russian too fast, but his return has shown a more measured, confident side of his character.
“I think that we have done a very good job during testing and completed a lot of laps.” said Kvyat of the two weeks of pre-season testing. “We have done our homework at the tests which is the most important thing, every time I was out on track it seemed we were in quite good shape. Exactly how good, only time will tell. It was my first time working with Honda and it went smoothly. They are very hard working, but performance wise, we will have to wait for the first couple of races to see where we are.”
Commenting on how he felt returning to the team where things fell apart for him only two years ago, Kvyat said everything is good: “As for being back with everyone at Toro Rosso, the attitude of the team is very positive. I see everyone working hard and in a well-focussed way, so now we need to keep it that way at the races. We are on the right path.”
“I am looking forward to the first race of the season. It will be cool for me to back in Melbourne, especially after a year off. I’m very excited, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while, but we must concentrate on our job rather than think about the excitement of the first race.”