Formula One team Red Bull Racing have promoted youngster Max Verstappen from their junior team Toro Rosso, to replace Daniil Kvyat, who had a disastrous race in his home Grand Prix in Russia.
Red Bull have immediately demoted Kvyat to Toro Rosso, making way for one of the sport’s brightest young talents, 18-year old Max Verstappen. At the Russian Grand Prix, 22-year old Daniil Kvyat collided with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel twice in the matter of seconds, leading to the German’s retirement.
— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) May 5, 2016
The exchange will be effective immediately and the two drivers will play for their new teams for the remainder of the season. The move is a surprise to many as Kvyat has incidentally secured Red Bull’s only podium finish of the season, at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen already has made history last year when at 17 years old, he became the youngest F1 driver in history. After a splendid debut season, he’s been touted as the next big thing in the sport and all the big teams like Mercedes and Ferrari were eyeing the Belgian for the 2017 season, when his current contract expires. With this promotion, Red Bull are likely to be trying to tie him down for future seasons.
Verstappen said, “The next step in my relatively short career so far is an amazing opportunity,” he said, while thanking Red Bull for “the confidence they have me”.
“The Real Deal”
Daniil Kvyat was once quoted by Red Bull chief Christian Horner as “the real deal”. The 22-year old Russian was also promoted up from Toro Rosso in 2015, to replace Sebastian Vettel, who was leaving for Ferrari. But now with Kvyat’s demotion, questions have to be asked about Red Bull’s policies.
Horner said: “Dany (Kvyat) will be be able to continue his development at Toro Rosso, in a team that he is familiar with, giving him the chance to regain his form and show his potential.”
The incidents which led to the exchange began at the Chinese Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel got angry at Kvyat, who made a very aggressive overtaking maneuver, which led to Vettel and his teammate Raikkonen colliding. But compared to the Russian’s driving at the Russian Grand Prix, that looked quite harmless.
In Sochi, Kvyat crashed into Vettel’s car twice in two consecutive corners, causing the Ferrari driver to retire. Vettel was heard shouting harshly on the team radio, with comments aimed at Red Bull and Kvyat himself, regarding his driving.
Daniil Kvyat has so far raced in more races for Red Bull than he had for Toro Rosso. He has a total of 21 finishes in the Top 10 out of a total of 40 Grand Prix starts. Whereas his replacement Max Verstappen has 13 from 23 starts.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 5, 2016
Ruthless Red Bull?
This exchange is a clear example of the way the Red Bull team operates. They use their junior team Toro Rosso to breed young and upcoming talent and promote them when needed. But in this case, the driver is being demoted based on just a couple of mistakes in two races and so, the Formula One world is left bemused and surprised.
From the next race onwards, we can see the teenager Verstappen lining up alongside Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull car while Daniil Kvyat can be seen in his old Toro Rosso outfit.