An incident which saw Kvyat collide with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel twice in the first two corners, has seen the Russian demoted to the junior team Torro Rosso, while in return 18 year old Max Verstappen heads the other way and joins up with the Red Bull team until the end of the season.
The incident in Russia comes after controversy in China at the previous race, where Kvyat made a dive down the inside consequently causing Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen to crash. However, the collision was deemed by race officials as a race incident, and it would have been harsh to attach the blame to Kvyat.
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Questions will be asked if the demotion from Red Bull was fair. Kvyat picked up Driver of the day in China and did extremely well to finish on the podium. The Russian also out-scored his teammate Daniel Ricciardo last year for the most part, and is still only 22 years of age.
The demotion does look harsh, but the reality is Verstappen’s results have been outstanding this year in a car running an old Spec Ferrari engine. Picking up a 6th place finish in Bahrain and crossing the line in 10th in Melbourne in the opening race, spells success for Torro Rosso and is exactly where they want to be.
Red Bull team principal spoke highly of Verstappen and described him as an “outstanding young talent”. Horner also said he was “Pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull racing” speaking to the BBC.
At the other end of the spectrum, Daniil Kvyat will represent Red Bull’s junior team Torro Rosso for the remainder of the season, however does potentially have a future with Red Bull. Dr Helmet Marko, Head of driver development said that the move was “not a demotion for Kvyat.”
“We wanted to take him out of the firing line and help his career instead of harming it” Marko told Auto Blid.
This comes after Kvyat received heavy criticism following the Sochi Grand Prix, and said after the race “it is easy to attack me.”
However, for Verstappen, it is a big opportunity for him now to impress and aim to secure his permanent position as the next Red Bull Driver. Red Bull famously have a superb track record of bringing through the very best young Drivers in the sport. Sebastian Vettel being the prime example, as he went on to become a four-time World Champion.
Verstappen also joins a very elite list of drivers who have joined up with a top team after just one season. Vettel and Lewis Hamilton being just two of very few drivers who have achieved this feat, as the young Dutchman is very much following in footsteps of big names.