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Who is Toro Rosso’s new recruit Daniil Kvyat?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Oct 2013   |  4:10 pm GMT  |  75 comments

Russian driver Danill Kvyat will replace Daniel Ricciardo at Toro Rosso next season, alongside Jean-Eric Vergne after beating off competition from Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr – but who is the 19-year-old and what is his level of experience in motorsport?

Well Kvyat has secured two wins in the last four races of the GP3 Championship, a support series to Formula 1, to trail championship leader Facu Regalia by just seven points heading into the doubleheader decider in Abu Dhabi next month.

If the 19-year-old goes on to win the title, in his debut season, he would follow the same path as Valtteri Bottas, who skipped GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 after winning the 2011 GP3 title to progress straight to Formula 1 with Williams.

As well as his GP3 campaign, where he competes for MW Arden – which is co-owned by Mark Webber and Christian Horner, Kvyat is also driving for Carlin in the Formula 3 European Championship. The Russian took pole on his debut mid-season and has gone on to take a further five pole positions.

Even if he doesn’t win the GP3 title, his ability to switch between two different series, with two different sets of machinery, and perform competitively across both will stand him in good stead ahead of his Formula 1 debut.

When he gets behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso next season, it won’t be for the first time. The Russian took part in the young driver test at Silverstone earlier this year, completing 16 laps in a Toro Rosso.

Kvyat started racing karts aged eight and finished third in the KF3 European Championship as well as second in the Asia Pacific championship in 2008.

He graduated to single seaters in 2010, with the backing of Red Bull, and made his debut at Sepang in the Formula BMW Pacific championship. The Russian secured two wins and three other podiums in the series.

The following year, he took seven wins in 20 races in the North European Cup to finish second behind Sainz Jr in the standings. Kvyat also took third in the Formula Renault Eurocup. In 2012, he won the ALPS title as well as finishing second behind McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne in the Eurocup.

When he makes his Formula 1 debut next season, he will become the second Russia driver to do so after Vitaly Petrov, who competed in 57 Grands Prix for Renault, Lotus and Caterham.

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  1. cometeF1 says:

    I now know a lot more about him than l did 3 minutes ago. Thank you James.
    The part about his ability to switch from one category to another with relative ease is interesting. We will see if can apply that to F1.
    Will he beat Vergne, come close to him or be trounce by Vergne?
    All those “lesser” battles are just as exciting as the Alonso/Kimi partnership to come for me. I pity the fans that follow F1 but are only interested in who wins. In the past couple of years the ones that don’t care for Vettel or Red Bull have probably been suffering. l tend to appreciate what RB are achieving. lt cannot be that easy to be where they are.
    Hope Kvyat gives us good battles. Marc

    1. F123 says:

      +1

      Like x1000 my thoughts and sentiments too. Well put

    2. Me says:

      “I pity the fans that follow F1 but are only interested in who wins.”

      Unfortunately, there seems to be more and more of them.

      1. Rayz says:

        Agreed. Anyone who says F1 is boring just because one man is dominating the sport isn’t much of a fan in my opinion.
        It makes it all the more interesting to me to see who is going to step up and take the challenge to Vettel and Red Bull this weekend in India, and then on into 2014.

        We have still seen some excellent racing in 2013 and I for one can’t wait for each and every race.

    3. RobertS says:

      I agree. He seems to have earned this drive on merit not just how much money one haves. I also agree I appreciate what Red Bull and Vettel are doing at the moment, I think this year Vettel has been the best driver, very little mistakes compared to his team mate. Hamilton, Alonso and co have all at been out qualified or beaten by their team mates more often this year. Next year at Ferrari should be interesting and further down the field too!

    4. Matt says:

      I honestly think the Red Bull PR machine has done a number to make so many people go from Vettel is the demon to Vettel is *A* demon.

      I find that particularly strange because SV has been business as usual for the last couple of years.

      While I am interested in all of the battles in F1 I do hope the top teams and a few midfield teams work their way up the grid.

      1. cometeF1 says:

        I agree with your last sentence. Of course the better if the battles include the one for the top spot. But it is not so at this point of the season it seems. l still find that this year the competition for 2nd, 3rd & further down the order is enough to keeping wanting to see every race. Marc

    5. Tealeaf says:

      Well if he loses to Vergne I dob’t see a future for this driver he needs to at least match the mouthy Vergne who’s comment about him being better than Webber backfired big time as it fueled Webber to help Ricciardo to get the Redbull seat, now this kid claims to deserve the seat because he performed the best, its not a good omen I wait to see what happens either him or Vergne will take a nosedive in their racing career after next year.

    6. WellBalanced says:

      +1

      Back in the day, races where Minardi managed to sneak a top 6 position were epic. Should be same when Caterham/Marussia do so.

  2. Scuderia McLaren says:

    This guys the real deal. Anyone that tars him with the ‘its Russian money talking’ brush doesn’t realise how fast he is. Do not get Sirotkin mixed up with Kvyat. They have nothing in common. Don’t forget Red Bull doesn’t need money, Sauber does.

    1. RogerD says:

      No, the Red Bull (F1 team) doesn’t need the money.

      After the Kvyat announcement the other day, @jamesallenonf1 mentioned that the Russian soft drink market is worth $14billion.

      Red Bull (fizzy drink maker) will no doubt be keenly interested in increasing their share of that pie.

      Also, if young Daniil holds up his end of the deal and boosts the profile of the sport in his homeland there might just be an oligarch or two keen on buying into a creditable, ready-made F1 team.

      Cui bono

      1. ximaera says:

        It’s hard to imagine how Red Bull can ever increase their share of Russian market by doing sports. They already are more well-known there than anyone else, and the only thing that keeps them from winning the market completely is Coca Cola (Burn) and Pepsico (Adrenaline Rush) holding large historical contracts with McDonald’s, Burger King and the likes. There’s no way one can knock Coca Cola out of McDonald’s by doing sports.

        The market is also already closed for newcomers. Monster Energy Drink (the one present on Hamilton’s Mercedes and Ken Block’s Fiesta) has been there for 1,5 years and achieved exactly nothing.

    2. Matt says:

      If Sauber was being supported by Russian money, is there a reason why they picked Sirotkin over this particular Russian?

      Unusual; also I’m not sure why Kyvat flew under the radar all the way until being announced. Even Eddy Jordan missed that ;)

      1. Tealeaf says:

        I suppose no one felt he’s ready, much like Jenson’s debut actually who came a bit earlier than expected but worked out in the end, we’ll see.

      2. Seán Craddock says:

        Sirotkin’s dad is the CEO of one of the firms that’s sponsoring Sauber I believe

    3. forzaminardi says:

      Not sure that STR don’t need the money…

    4. Janis1207 says:

      I don’t think it’s quite so simple.
      There are other young and very good drivers out there, and they didn’t get the seat.
      There is no doubt, Kvyat will bring some serious money to STR, there is also no doubt there is much interest from team sponsors in entering the Russian market. Both very valid reasons to prefer Kvyat over, say, another Spaniard.
      Just how good Kvyat is – let’s wait and see next year.

      1. Basil says:

        Maybe because he is a Red Bull junior? Crazy idea, I know.

  3. trodat says:

    James, one month ago you said Kyvat is not ready for F1. Have you changed your mind?

    1. James Allen says:

      No. It is a big step in a tricky year with new tech etc. however there is some testing and I bet he does the max. But I am l am passing on the intell that the senior Red Bull drivers rate him

  4. Sebee says:

    Horner and Webber own a team, and Horner relegates Webber to #2 at RBR? Must be too exceptional individuals to compartmentalize and separate the two relationships!

    1. Random 79 says:

      Horner: Not bad for a #2 partner ;)

      1. Sebee says:

        I should have seen this one coming a mile away. I tip my hat to you sir.

    2. GWD says:

      Since 2010 has MW Arden been in ‘co-operation’, according to wikipedia. You would think that if he felt he was being deliberately given the rough end of the pineapple and no other reason to continue, he would end the partnership… but hasn’t. But now I wonder how much of his continuation is his ‘putting up with’ all this is for the furtherment of his protege Mitch Evans?

    3. Liam in Sydney says:

      It’s just business, mate. :)

    4. Glennb says:

      True but even Horner answers to someone.
      I’ve often thought about the CH / MW relationship and see your point.

    5. Vivek says:

      Exactly my thoughts as well …

    6. Racyboy says:

      I think Mark relegated himself to #2.

    7. Dan says:

      when it come’s to $ they’re all best mates.

  5. shri says:

    Never heard much about him at the YDT at Silverstone and his abilities.

    Much was talked about Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr in the last little while.

    Certainly a surprise hire. Hope he will give Vergne a hard time.

    Was financial backing / money a consideration by any chance ?

    The question I have James is why do they keep Vergne and not try someone else. Vergne has 2 full years and does not look like the next world champion.

    1. MattDS says:

      Vergne is the perfect yardstick to measure a new talent up against. RBR know how Vergne and Ricciardo compare, and soon they’ll now how Ricciardo stacks up to Vettel.

      This is a clear advantage over completely renewing the STR lineup with two rather unknown quantities.

  6. Rod says:

    Looks good on paper. He should be able to manage it.

  7. Sebee says:

    Also, did you see Alonso’s 1571 points world record helmet?

    FYI – Vettel is only 220 points behind and gaining fast.

    1. Glennb says:

      220 points or about10 races ;)
      The helmet is vain. The modern points system is way different to the old. Schumi would have about 3000 points otherwise ;)

      1. Sebee says:

        I took it upon myself to spend 5 minutes, take Schumi’s result and apply current point scoring to his history since 1991. Mind you this is unchecked, and I didn’t look at 1/2 points in any races from 1991-2006, and it was manually done so typing errors may be present.

        But, if Schumi was scored under current system he would have scored 3693 points before exiting F1 in 2006 for his results. This at least will give you a target Vettel should be going for if he really wants to be apples to apples. Add to this points scored on Schumi’s 3 year return and Schumi is at 3890 under current system.

        Of course Alonso would have a higher number as well than this 1571 if all his positions were scored with current point system. What that number would be? I’ll let one of Alonso’s fans do that excel.

      2. Sebee says:

        OH, just remembered, they took Schumi’s points away in 1997, didn’t they? Those thieves! :-)

        Make that 3464 plus recent 3 years for 3661 total.

      3. Glennb says:

        From F1fanatic: Selected drivers for comparison.
        Schumi 3890
        Prost 2483
        Alonso 2414
        Kimi. 1882
        Senna 1881
        JB 1683
        Seb 1591

        Dont know how to link with an ipad :(

      4. Sebee says:

        Glennb,

        Thanks! So basically Alonso needs to score another 1571 that’s in his helmet to match Schumi! ;-)

      5. Sebee says:

        Finally! I figured out what Alomso’s 1671 helmet reminds me of.

        COMMODORE 64! It’s exactly the color of that machine and 1571 was a model of floppy drive! :-)

    2. Vivek says:

      No coincidence that the new points system started in 2010, the year from which Vettel started winning more often than not.

      Had Vettel done 2 of his championship years in the old points system, he would have been much further back.

      These comparisons of points tallies no longer make any sense.

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        You’re right, they no longer make any sense, even if everyone’s win points are counted as 25 etc.

        It’s not just points changing from 8 to 9 to 10 to 25, or with points for further down the field.

        It’s also the number of races per year from 9 or so to 16 up to 20.

        Then you could also argue about recent massive improvements in reliability to gain points.

        Look at Jim Clark’s reliability, loads of career F1 wins and only one 2nd place due to car failure. Not to even count he’s miss some races in a 9 race season, such as Monaco, to have a go at beating the Americans at the Indy 500.

      2. Sebee says:

        When doing my Schumi under new points system calculation, one thing clearly struck me. Schumi didn’t score much outside of top 5, or podium for that matter. He’d rather DNF than take finish P14. This past 3 years must have been a whole different experience for him.

        Check this out.

        Schumi until 2006, which is what was needed to convert old placement to new points Schumi finished with 91 wins as we all know, but 154 podiums, and if you stretch to top 5 that’s 174, or only 21 more point placements. Stretch that to top 10 and you get 195, or only 41 more than podium. Amazing.

        Clearly Schumi’s moto was, stick you P4 and higher where the sun don’t shine. :-)

      3. Sebee says:

        Type-o – 175 top 5s not 174.

      4. Tim says:

        I had much the same thought. It’s like comparing apples with oranges. Similar to Kimi finishing however many races in the points – not saying it wasn’t a tremendous achievement, but it cannot be compared to the days when points only went down to 6th place.

      5. Sebee says:

        I just calculated Schumi’s total points scored for you under current system to make it all apples to apples. I counted all Schumi’s P1-P10 placements each season and multiplied by points for that positino. 3693 is the number I got, add to this his recent 3 year stint under new points system and Schumi is at 3890 under currenet 25 for win system.

      6. Sebee says:

        Bad news for Lewis fans!

        I ran a new 25 points simulation on 2007, and Alonso beats Lewis by 1 point under new points system. 266 to 265. :-)

      7. Tim says:

        I preferred your Schumi calculation :-)

    3. kfzmeister says:

      It may come to a screeching halt. You never know.

  8. Lee says:

    I bet Torro Rosso hope he really does do some Russian when he’s on the track, although he Moscow quickly to beat his team mate.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Well done :)

  9. F458 says:

    Here’s hoping the lad is the next Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel/Raikkonen as F1 is very short on young talent

    1. James m says:

      How do you define young? I would say ham, hulk, vett, grosean, rosberg, riccardo are all young talent. You don’t need to be WC by 25 to be talented

  10. Jeroen says:

    Guitierez also won GP3 and both him and Bottas have not exactly lived up to expectations. I don’t understand why the feel they need to put him there now unless his nationality does matter most. Bernie really wants Russians and Asians, especially now a market like brazil might lose its one and only driver. I doubt he is going to set the world on fire. Also what happen to the gp3 2012 Aussie champ by MW Arden, 3 Aussies too many :-)

    1. Racyboy says:

      You mean 19yr old Kiwi, Mitch Evans.
      Probably still got some time up his sleeve.

    2. Mark in Australia says:

      If you are referring to Mitch Evans, he is a New Zealander… But soon enough he’ll get adopted as an Aussie… It’s what we do!!

  11. Grant H says:

    Its mentioned above that kvyat started racing karts aged 8, by comparison anyone know what age most of the top drivers started?

    1. Glennb says:

      Vettel 3 1/2.

    2. Aaron says:

      Lewis Hamilton started karting age 8. That is the youngest age at which anyone can compete in the UK under MSA rules.

    3. Kenneth M'Boy says:

      Sebastian Loeb 21 years old – what a legend.

  12. Lachlan Mackinnon says:

    A good choice on the part of red bull/toro rosso! The kid looks as though he has speed and has demonstrated form at the right time. F1 is about timing, ability, money and connecting all the dots at the right time. People will always jump to the money argument first but I think this is a good call by the team. The fact there is a Russian GP next year just adds a bit more cream to the cake!
    I’ll give it 6 races next year before he really starts to challenge vergne. I’ll go even further……I’ll put money on the table that vergne won’t get to the end of 2014 with kvyat out performing him before the summer break.

  13. BigHaydo says:

    I’m always a little disappointed when drivers are signed into an F1 seat that then require “who is driver x?” articles. As the supposedly elite motorsport category, should we really have to ask the question? No disrespect to Kvyat specifically and good luck to him, but if he was F1 grade we really should know about him already and his talent and potential should be clear as the canine proverbials. When F1 has jettisoned so many talents over the past few years it’s disappointing to have to ask ‘who are you?’, followed by relative anonymity and mediocrity on the race track. These should be the very best drivers from around the world, and attract the top drivers from other top series. As Mark Webber once said, this isn’t a finishing school…

    1. GWD says:

      A finishing school F1 shouldn’t be, but is seemingly becoming… similar problem is happening in MotoGP – Marc Marquez has undeniable talent, but undeniable dangerous rough edges that will improve over time. Even Jorge Lorenzo admitted that he wasn’t mature enough early on and had to become a better rider, so it’s probably prevalent in all top series now. Which is kind of weird, considering the amount of money that is being invested and is on the line. You’d expect sponsors/backers to demand properly experienced and well-rounded low error drivers, yet we see teams employing younger and younger drivers that are fast, but we don’t know how completely skilled. Grosjean, for example? Now showing he most likely belongs in an F1 seat, but geez, his early ‘stuff’ could have had much more servere consequences…

  14. Craig Baker says:

    Same frame as Vettel but weighs a little less. I am starting to see a pattern here. 175 cm tall and 58kg in weight.
    Are Red Bull doing their talent identification at the worlds equestrian race tracks now?

  15. Elie says:

    “he took seven wins in 20 races in the North European Cup to finish second behind Sainz Jr ”
    Holy smoke how many did Sainz Jnr win then.

    Obviously this kids got talent and no one can fault the reasons for signing him. At the same time you can’t say the backing he got didn’t also play its part.

    Thanks for the profile James

    1. Omniprescient says:

      Elie: “the backing he got”:

      Do you mean the reported backing by the senior RBR drivers and engineers, and the management of STR? It is because he is an able racer, that’s a no-brainer. His prospects as a marketing tool in the RU market certainly cannot be considered as “backing”? Or what else, then – just curious. Let’s get clear about it for once, because this constant “he wouldn’t be selected if it is not for Russian money” becomes a nuisance. I note, however, that “Russian money” transcended in a matter of days into somewhat less ascertainable “backing” (of sorts) – now let’s get to the core of it…

    2. Basil says:

      Which backing? Feel free to share your insight.

    3. Elie says:

      My apologies- the Red Bull backing especially with a Russian GP looming and suggestions would have favoured their choice – in no way am I suggesting he doesn’t deserve his drive. Like many I thought Sainz was special for the seat

  16. Warren G says:

    Still not convinced this kid is anywhere near ready for F1. A few wins and a couple championship runner up results really shouldn’t qualify such a young driver for F1. Especially in a Torro Rosso. Surprised they haven’t become known as a career killer yet. Only 2 drivers have graduated to the top team and not a single one has secured a drive elsewhere.

    Makes you wonder how good the talent spotters are.

  17. Sebee says:

    Alright, I needed a good laugh, and I got one today with this:

    http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns26627.html

    Vettel gargles with high-proof whiskey! :-)
    McLaren have been issued mosquito AK47s.
    And thank goodness Nico has quick reflexes, or the entire Mercedes team would have been eating road kill ribeye steaks!

    Sure as heck sounds like an adventure to me.

    James, have you been? Is it really that bad? I rememeber the comedian Russel Peters talk about the prema-smell when he got off the plane for the first time in India.

    1. Sebee says:

      Us and Them!

      >
      McLaren is sponsored by Hilton, and so the mechanics are staying at the hotel that is plagued by disease-carrying mosquitoes, while the drivers and team boss Martin Whitmarsh are at the safer Jaypee Greens.

      Now that’s what I call Team Spirit!

  18. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    So Daniil only won the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Alps title, and with that he got in F1. However, certainly he has a recent good record, and presently racing for Horner in GP3. Good luck then!

  19. Dan says:

    James, wouldn’t happen to know what kind of salary Danill would be taking home at Toro Rosso? Being so young and drivng for Horner I kinda get the feeling he’d come cheap? A big benifit to Torro Rosso in 2014 with sky high budget blow outs. There is also a rumor going around that a Russian is looking to buy Torro Rosso, know anything about this?

    1. James Allen says:

      Very small. TR don’t really pay their drivers much at all. They give them an opportunity and pay for junior racing series

      I think there is some Russian sponsor interested in coming in, but if a buyout is imminent it will come from Abu Dhabi and Aabar group

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