After scoring a point in his surprise comeback United States Grand Prix drive for Toro Rosso, Daniil “the Torpedo” Kvyat is officially no longer driving for either of Red Bull’s Formula One teams, Autosport reports. Kvyat was told that he would no longer be driving for the team after last weekend’s race, Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost confirmed today.
Tost told Autosport:
He is not any more with Red Bull and he is therefore free to do whatever he wants to do. He is not any more with Red Bull or Toro Rosso.
Kvyat had been previously moved aside this season for lackluster performance in F1 in favor of running promising 2016 GP2 champion Pierre Gasly in his seat. Gasly was supposed to drive in the Super Formula season ender (which sadly got canceled for a typhoon) finale over the United States Grand Prix weekend, and Carlos Sainz Jr. was switching to the Renault team early, so Kvyat got another chance to drive for Toro Rosso. Kvyat even scored a point with a tenth-place finish!
However, now that both Gasly and 2017 Le Mans winner Brendon Hartley are both free for the rest of the season, Toro Rosso is sticking with those two for now. Tost told Autosport:
We want to test them for the rest of the season as there is a high possibility this will be the driver line-up for 2018.
This supports all the still unconfirmed reports that Toro Rosso has already decided on Hartley and Gasly for 2018. Either way, the team clearly sees more potential in both Gasly and Hartley than they do in Kvyat, who landed back at Toro Rosso after briefly driving for Red Bull’s main F1 team, only to be demoted back down to Toro Rosso to make way for Max Verstappen.
Hartley may not have lit the top of the standings on fire in Austin, but he held his own after spending five years out of a single-seater race car. He finished a not-bad 13th, and Tost believes he has real potential to do well in F1. Hell yes.
Even Red Bull A-squad team principal Christian Horner told Autosport that Hartley and Gasly may be able to make it onto his team eventually:
The two drivers that Franz has for next year represent two exciting prospects for Red Bull Racing further down the line.
Horner was particularly impressed with Hartley, having come up through Red Bull’s junior program and succeeding in sports cars after the F1 ladder didn’t pan out into a F1 drive the first time around.
Pour some vodka out for our Russian friend Kvyat, though. Hey, buddy: there’s always Formula E, I guess.