Toro Rosso surprised everyone involved in Formula 1 yesterday by making the shock announcement that Daniil Kvyat will be replacing Daniel Ricciardo for the 2014 season. This was despite Antonio Felix da Costa being the overwhelming favourite for the race seat. But who exactly is Daniil Kvyat?
The 19-year-old Russian was born in 1994 and like most Formula 1 drivers started his racing career in karting. He has since raced in a number of different series, including Formula BMW, Formula Renault, GP3 and Formula 3.
After successful karting campaigns, Kvyat moved into the Red Bull young driver program and moved into racing proper in the Formula BMW series. Although he didn’t finish particularly high in the standings, two wins were enough to impress Red Bull. They backed him to enter Formula Renault later in the year.
In Formula Renault he competed in the Eurocup and the Northern European Cup and recorded a total of nine wins across both championships, finishing second in the NEC. He remained within the series for 2012 competing again in the Eurocup alongside the Alps. Kvyat was successful in both, winning the Alps title while missing out on the Eurocup title by 10 points to Stoffel Vandoorne.
Following those successes, he moved into GP3 and Formula 3 for the 2013 season. Heading into the final race next weekend Kvyat is able to win the GP3 championship. In Formula 3 he has won at Zandvoort as well as collecting five pole positions and seven podiums.
While having some impressive results he isn’t as highly regarded as other promising youngsters such as Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne and Felix da Costa. However Toro Rosso team principal was suitably impressed by the drivers young driver test in the Formula 1 car earlier in the year stating:
“He impressed our team with a strong performance and very informative technical feedback at the young driver test in Silverstone. This suggests that the basic qualities from which he can progress are all in place.”
Although the announcement did come as a surprise it makes sense for Red Bull to promote from within as they have done in the past, producing talent such as Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. The fact he is Russian might also help to bring investment to Toro Rosso and help market their energy drink in that market.
Only time will tell if Kvyat will progress into a successful Formula 1 driver, but he can take some solace from the fact that Fernando Alonso, widely considered one of the best drivers on the grid, also got his debut in the sport aged 19.
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