Daniil Kvyat has seemingly made one mistake too many and found himself demoted from Red Bull Racing’s driver line-up with immediate effect.
His place will be taken by Max Verstappen, while Kvyat will return to his former team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, for whom he raced in 2014.
“Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent. His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive so far and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing,” Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said.
“We are in the unique position to have all four drivers across Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso under long term contracts with Red Bull, so we have the flexibility to move them between the two teams.
“Dany will 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,” he concluded.
After punting Sebastian Vettel into retirement and in turn compromising the race of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, the Russian found himself in hot water with the team’s management in the aftermath of a race where it should have scored significant points and walked away with none.
The decision has been made by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko – presumably in consultation with both Red Bull-owned teams – who was reportedly enraged by Kvyat’s mistake on the opening lap of the race.
Marko is a man who has proven time and time again to be utterly ruthless in dispensing with drivers from Red Bull’s driver programme, which has certainly destroyed more careers than it has made.
On balance therefore, the decision could be judged to be overly harsh. Kvyat has shown plenty of pace and, at just 22 years of age, still has plenty of untapped potential. He has not been a slouch behind the wheel this year, as was evidenced by his podium finish at the preceding Chinese Grand Prix – a race that was also mired in controversy after running into Sebastian Vettel…
There is also the future of Max Verstappen to consider. The Dutch teenager is considered the star of the future in Formula 1 and Red Bull will be desperate to hang onto the prospect it rocketed into the sport.
Moving him into a seat with the potential of more promising results might predispose him to sign a contract extension with the team – assuming this deal didn’t come with those strings attached already – and that would keep him out of the clutches of Ferrari and Mercedes, for the time being at least…
Images via Red Bull Racing