Daniil Kvyat has beaten off strong opposition from Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr to land the second Toro Rosso seat for next season, replacing Daniel Ricciardo.
The news that the 19 year old has a confirmed seat means that next year there will be at least one Russian on the grid, when F1 arrives in Sochi for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix. He becomes the second Russian driver to make it to F1, after Vitaly Petrov who raced in 57 Grands Prix for Renault, Lotus and Caterham.
The choice is interesting; after Mark Webber announced his retirement from F1, creating an opening at Red Bull Racing, da Costa was widely tipped as his successor. As the summer went on however Sainz staked his claim, helped by influential friends of his father, the former rally champion.
But this site heard from senior drivers in the Red Bull programme that the one they felt had the most talent was Kvyat and it is reassuring to see that the management shares this view. The youngster has really impressed this year in GP3 and still has a chance to win the title.
He will be following in the footsteps of Valterri Bottas who moved into F1 direct from GP3, without doing GP2.
Team principal Franz Tost said, “Daniil is a very talented driver, which can be seen from his results in all the junior categories. He was a very successful Kart driver and, in 2012 he took the Formula Renault 2.0 Championship title with 7 wins. This year, he competed in six rounds of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, taking 1 win, 5 poles and 5 podiums.
“In addition to this, he is still in a position to win the GP 3 Championship, as he is only 7 points behind the leader. He impressed our team with a strong performance and very informative technical feedback at the young driver test in Silverstone.”