End of the line for Daniil Kvyat?

Bayden Westerweller Roar Guru

By Bayden Westerweller, Bayden Westerweller is a Roar Guru

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    Daniil Kvyat has once again been dropped by Red Bull. (AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA)

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    For the second time in as many months, and the third since early 2017, Daniil Kvyat has found himself relegated by Red Bull, a move that further points towards a definitive divorce of driver from team.

    Dropped by Toro Rosso for last month’s Malaysian Grand Prix in favour of Pierre Gasly, the Russian was recalled for the United States Grand Prix last weekend while Gasly pursued a Super Formula title in Japan.

    Tenth place on return was an admirable effort, though Kvyat has again been torpedoed for this weekend’s event at Mexico, with the man he partnered at Austin, debutant Brendon Hartley, retaining his seat, while Gasly resumes his duties.

    The 23-year old faces an uncertain future as Toro Rosso – set to field its fourth combination this season, and now without either driver it commenced the season with – appears eager to evaluate Gasly and Hartley at the final races, the Frenchman at least certain to secure a berth for next season.

    If it proves that Austin was Kvyat’s final outing for 2017, with little speculation tying him to a ride elsewhere next year, it’s would be appropriate to reflect on the termination of a once promising career for an individual who was the victim of circumstance.

    His retrenchment from the senior Red Bull outfit following last season’s Russian Grand Prix will forever be the seminal moment that fans remember Daniil Kvyat for. There were two different drivers: the Kvyat of pre-Russia 2016, and the one that came after, the latter a shadow of its former self.

    Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat

    (AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA)

    A second consecutive non-start at Australia, followed by a seventh place at Bahrain and third at China, opened his account in reasonable fashion. But a clumsy collision at Russia precipitated the decision to replace Kvyat with Max Verstappen with immediate effect.

    The Russian was told by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel that “you are like a torpedo” following a first corner near collision at Shanghai. It was his accident on home soil, however, that eliminated the German and legitimised the calamitous outcome, at least in Red Bull’s opportunistic eyes.

    That Verstappen claimed victory on his Red Bull debut at Spain, and in doing so became the youngest race winner – another piece of creative license on behalf of the energy drinks company – did little to dispel the notion that Kvyat had been had to appease the Verstappen camp’s demands.

    While the Dutchman continues to vindicate the switch, Kvyat subsequently registered just a further four points that season. Subsequently, in his 32 starts after the demotion, he registered a paltry nine, with a trio of ninth places his greatest haul since the fateful podium at China.

    It’d be remiss not to run the rule over the Russian’s achievements prior to his figurative crucifixion, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that he remains Formula One’s youngest point scorer on debut, having claimed ninth at Australia in 2014.

    Thrust prematurely into the main game with Red Bull following Vettel’s departure to the Prancing Horse for 2015, his arrival coincided with the Milton Keynes outfit’s downturn in form. Nevertheless, he outscored his esteemed teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, with a career best second place at Hungary.

    Thus the irony of being ousted before his time had come isn’t lost to sceptics of the Red Bull programme, and the subdued Kvyat which has been on display since this moment is of little surprise. It’s a ruthless business though, and the Russian’s inability to move on cannot be endured forever. If it therefore comes to pass that Formula One has seen the last of him, he’ll not be the first one that got away.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • October 26th 2017 @ 4:58pm
      steve said | October 26th 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

      You would think so, in Formula 1 at least. It really isn’t a surprise its come to this. Though I’m not sure Hartley is the answer.

      • Roar Guru

        October 27th 2017 @ 9:32am
        Bayden Westerweller said | October 27th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        It’s better that he’s been released now rather than led on for any hope of a reprieve, and for what it’s worth, he can pursue alternatives.

        Hartley has been off the scene for a while, though he deserves the opportunity at the final races to prove he can be counted on. and Red Bull would secretly be willing him to do so to vindicate his earlier presence in its programme.

    • Roar Guru

      October 27th 2017 @ 9:03am
      Jawad Yaqub said | October 27th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      You’re right in saying that since Russia 2016 we have seen a different Daniil Kvyat, one that lacked confidence and had a tendency to find himself out of the race on the first lap at most races since. It is unfortunate that it all had to come about the way it did, because regardless of how he would have performed at Red Bull in 2016, they were going to replace him with Verstappen in 2017.

      It is a sad statement, but the reality is that his time as a Red Bull affiliate driver was marked from the day he was promoted to the senior team.

      • Roar Guru

        October 27th 2017 @ 9:37am
        Bayden Westerweller said | October 27th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        He was always on a hiding to nothing, though the manner in which Red Bull handled him was pathetic, if anything replacing him with Verstappen ahead of the 2016 season would have been more humane. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s been unable to redefine himself in the time since.

        Who knows how he would have fared had he remained at Toro Rosso through 2015 and been in a position to make the jump to the senior outfit at a later date with a lot more experience to his credit.

    • October 27th 2017 @ 12:42pm
      Jacko said | October 27th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

      I know its probably not so good for him but i am excited to see An NZer have a shot at the no 1 game and wish Hartley all the best with his endeavours to get a regular driving contract. he has been a F1 possibility for a number of years earlier in his career and its great to see him getting a second or third chance……Speaking of NZers in open wheeler racing it was amazing to see Liam Lawson at the GC 600 in the wet going so well…I mean he was born in 2002….

      • Roar Guru

        October 27th 2017 @ 1:16pm
        Bayden Westerweller said | October 27th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

        It had been thirty three years since a Kiwi had last competed so it was a huge moment, which alongside an Australian in Ricciardo is great for the local interest and hopefully creates a friendly rivalry. Hartley is much more rounded than his initial ‘stint’, when he didn’t really get an opportunity yet did little wrong.

        They start young these days, look at Verstappen and Stroll, though the super license restrictions now make it difficult to enter the top echelon too soon, but if he’s good enough, no reason why F1 shouldn’t be on the radar in a few years.

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