Scuderia Toro Rosso has re-signed former driver Daniil Kvyat to its driver line-up for 2019. The 24-year-old Russian will replace Pierre Gasly, who is moving to the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team. Kvyat has driven for STR twice before, in 2014, and again rejoining from the 2016 Spanish GP to the 2017 United States GP.
Many thought the team may look to current McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne or another young driver but returning to Kvyat is a bit of a surprise for some fans. Daniil has been spending his time away from F1 as a development driver for Ferrari and I’d argue the time away has been good for him in both personal development and re-bolstering his cash and financial backer situation.
With the future of Sergey Sirotkin uncertain, Kvyat will be at least one Russian on the grid and possibly two if Sirotkin stays at Williams.
“First of all, I would like to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for giving me this opportunity to race in Formula 1 again and I am particularly pleased to be returning to a team I know very well. Toro Rosso has always made me feel at home and I’m sure it will still be the same next season. I would also like to thank Ferrari for trusting my driving skills which allowed me to stay connected to F1 as their development driver. Even if my duties were primarily simulator based, I’ve learnt a lot, and I now feel stronger and better prepared than when I left Toro Rosso. I never gave up hope of racing again, I am still young and I have kept in good shape to always be prepared in case another opportunity presented itself. I will give my best to deliver what the team expects from me and I can’t wait for everything to start again.”
“Pierre Gasly’s impressive performance since he made his F1 debut last year has landed him a drive with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing next year. It is well deserved and from a Toro Rosso point of view, I am pleased that, once again, a driver from Helmut Marko’s Red Bull Junior Programme has stepped up to Red Bull Racing – mission accomplished! As for Daniil’s return, I believe he deserves another chance in Formula 1. Daniil is a high skilled driver with fantastic natural speed, which he has proven several times in his career. There were some difficult situations he had to face in the past, but I’m convinced that having had time to mature as a person away from the races will help him show his undeniable capabilities on track. We’ll push very hard to provide him with a good package, and I feel the best is yet to come from his side. That’s why we are happy to welcome him back to our team, to start a successful season together.”