Daniil Kvyat Confirmed for F1 Comeback at Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda
After snubbing the Russian for hot prospect Max Verstappen, the Red Bull junior squad is giving him another shot.
Prior to Saturday's qualifying session for the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda announced in front of Daniil Kvyat's home crowd that the Russian would return to race with the team in the 2019 season.
Kvyat will occupy the seat of Pierre Gasly, whose performance in 2017 identified him as a worthy successor to Daniel Ricciardo, who will give up his Red Bull Racing drive at the end of 2018 to jump to Renault Sport F1.
"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," Kvyat stated in STR-Honda's press release. "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," he added. "Even if my duties were primarily simulator based, I've learned 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," Kvyat concluded.
News of Ricciardo's exit shocked the Red Bull organization, prompting a search for talent which resulted in the likes of ex-Red Bull program drivers Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne reportedly getting calls from Dr. Helmut Marko. Allegedly, it was Kvyat of all people that broke the news of Ricciardo's Renault move to Red Bull.
"He was informed about Ricciardo's move before it was announced, so he rang me before Ricciardo did," explained Dr. Marko to Motorsport. "But we had been in contact before that already."
Dr. Marko praised Kvyat and expressed excitement for the future of the Russian driver, whose F1 career was derailed after a string of poor races in favor of Max Verstappen, despite Kvyat having equaled Ricciardo the year prior.
"He's more mature, he's more settled, and I think we will see the fast Kvyat as we have in memory," Dr. Marko finished. "He's more hungry, and he saw how difficult it is to get a seat in F1. Now he starts everything new, there are all chances."