Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Red Bull bosses gave me “no explanation” – Kvyat

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Daniil Kvyat says the Red Bull hierarchy gave him no explanation for why he was dropped in favour of Max Verstappen.

“There was no real explanation, to be honest,” he told journalists during today’s FIA press conference.

“I think if the bosses want something to happen they just make it happen. Simple as that.”

Helmut Marko, Toro Rosso, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016
Marko called Kvyat to deliver the news
Kvyat described how Red Bull’s Helmut Marko called him to break the news while he was watching Game of Thrones. “I was in Moscow, I was laying on the sofa watching a TV series.”

“And then the phone call comes, we have some news for you. And I think it was about 20 minutes’ talk, I wanted and I think I deserved to have a lot of explanation. I got to know many interesting details, I must say, but I think I’ll keep it for myself for now.”

Kvyat admitted the decision, which was announced last Thursday, came as “a bit of a shock for myself” but said he does not intend to change his approach after returning to Toro Rosso.

“I think I’ve always been giving my answers on the track and I think nothing will change,” he said. “I will try to give as loud answers as possible on the track.”

“There are 17 races remaining. I come back to Toro Rosso, the team which I raced for in 2014, the team I really like a lot, the team that I felt the last few days has given me a very warm welcome which I am very grateful for. Already now I can feel the atmosphere is very positive in the team. The goals are clear for the team and for myself and I’ll be pushing the absolute limits on the track and I’ll be giving my answers there.”

Kvyat said his demotion to Toro Rosso does not prove he was handed the opportunity to drive for Red Bull too soon in his career. “I don’t think so,” he said.

“Like I said if you look what happened three weeks ago or whatever I was standing on the podium. And then suddenly there was a few decisions made around.”

“But like I said the bosses make them and I have nothing other than accept them and do my best job possible now in the team I am with. I think it should be all OK but I think I’ve done everything correctly until now and nothing will change from my side.”

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014
Kvyat raced for Toro Rosso in 2014
Returning to Toro Rosso does not necessarily mean his career has been “blocked”, Kvyat believes.

“Obviously first hours after [the decision] you’ve been thinking a lot,” he explained. “And then the work started, I go to the factory, I see Toro Rosso people which are very motivated, which are extremely hungry.”

“And to be honest I don’t see this as a ‘blocking’, but you have to take the most positive moments now. Because actually there are more positive moments now than anyone can imagine, I think. And I take it as a golden opportunity with Toro Rosso.”

“Like I said I really like the team, I really enjoyed working with them. Most of the people are the same. And I believe we can do a really good job. And then once a good job is done there is more opportunities to come. You always have opportunities, you always have something to fight for.”

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 84 comments on “Red Bull bosses gave me “no explanation” – Kvyat”

    1. Have to wonder which details he is talking about

      1. My guess – “We were going to promote Verstappen in 2017 anyway, we’ve just decided to do it early”.

        1. How good is Max..l am not convinced so far,,though a season and bit its hard to judge….he has had few clumsy moves he got away with so far in F1. Carlos’s didn’t have the “rub of the green” last year compared to Max…l think Ric has always punched above his team mates including Seb and his machinery, his peers rate him also…be interesting Ric’s cool head verses Max’s hot head.

          1. I’d like to see the off track battle between the smiling assassin and baby diva. I could completely imagine Ricciardo being all smiley and cool while Verstappen sulks and shouts on the radio.

      2. According to Ant Davidson in the FP1 coverage one of them may be that the data showed he was consistently slower on a lap than Ricciardo by a quarter of a second or more.

        1. @lockup Who is consistently slower than Ricciardo: Verstappen or Kvyat?

          1. than Kvyat @vvans

            1. er, Kvyat slower than Ricciardo I mean

        2. not true – from 53 laps of the Russian GP 20 were Kvyat faster, 33 were Ricciardo faster

    2. “I think it was about 20 minutes’ talk, I wanted and I think I deserved to have a lot of explanation. I got to know many interesting details, I must say, but I think I’ll keep it for myself for now.”

      There’s something in that… Anyway, good for him to have this attitude of saying things very loudly on the track. Well it’s the only attitude possible really besides losing a seat entirely.

      1. I think he’ll give the ‘details’ at the end of the year. Right now he’s still within the Red Bull family, so saying something distasteful might leave him out of the sport. I think he’ll tell the media what really happened at the end of the year when he leaves the Red Bull family.

    3. This is a very, very hypothetical idea, but….

      Would Kvyat be able to attract Russian sponsors if he were to leave Red Bull to help him secure another seat in another team? He has proven himself on track and it seems Russia as a whole is more interested in F1 because of him. But I also don’t think he would get a seat without bringing some kind of financial backing with him.

      1. I think he would be able to get a seat. He’s better than say Magnussen or Palmer, Haryanto, Nasr and Ericsson…

        1. Not sure how you can say he better than those guys unless they are in the same car…Mag Nasr and Ericsson very capable drivers

        2. Well, I’m not so sure about Magnussen @xtwl. He brougth that poor Renault in the points zone while Kvyat played destruction derby. He seems to be a more mature driver now than when He was at McLaren.

        3. not sure after demotion… I think he is done in this tough business, look at piquet jr, a fast f1 driver….

      2. There are always rumours about Toro Rosso being sold. And about Russian investors wanting to buy into an F1 team.

    4. Should never have been promoted in the first place. Be very interesting to see how Sainz compares to him.

      Either way, 17 more races and he’s off the Red Bull merry-go-round.

      1. why, he outpointed Ricciardo last year

        1. Seriously? Did you even watch last season??? Apart from the points difference Ricciardo was clearly the superior driver.

        2. @dvb78 – Sure but there’s always danger in looking at numbers and coming to a conclusion without analysing further. After all, Jenson Button outpointed Alonso last year as well as leading more laps, finishing ahead more and outqualifying him ( http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/12/07/2015-statistics-team-mate-battles/ )

          Are we to believe that Jenson Button is the superior driver of the two?

          I think Kvyat is a decent driver who probably deserved more time however RB needed to tie Verstappen down to a contract and I wouldn’t be surprised if the response was “give me a RB seat this year or I’ll go to Ferrari.”

        3. Points = / = Performance

          I mean, if you want to go down the simplistic route, Ricciardo got 1 more podium than Kvyat last year. Neither was given the caveat of “more than we deserved” either.

          Otherwise, Ricciardo had a more consistent season in regards to pace, whether in qualifying or the race. With the exception of a “torpedo” move at Hungary, I would also have said that he showed (although it’s natural for an older driver) more maturity and an ability to withstand pressure – contrast their two performance in Austin for example.

          Bottom line is, he didn’t deserve to be in front of Ricciardo – “more than he deserved”, again.

          1. Points are points.

            He got more of them in a rugged torpedo way. Kinda like Maldonado got a win.

            Poor, but more wins than Bottas.

            1. Say what you will about Maldonado any other time, but he certainly didn’t bumper car his way to that Barcelona win. If I recall correctly, he was in clear air most of the day and didn’t put a wheel wrong.

        4. I was arguing this point many times but it was lucky. When a title is not at stake it is the potential. Winning the points battle gave him a 2nd chance and I was hoping he would build on that but he is getting hammered this year, the China podium was a mini version of last season…..everyone can see without the puncture Ricciardo would have beat him.

          I used to say Ricciardo has lost half the points battles v teammates in his career but he shows great performances very much like Hakkinen was so so on points v teammates but theven potentially could be seen and come a title car in 98,99 and 00 he easily beat his teammate who used to beat him a lot previously. Red Bull have Ricciardo as number 1 but want to see who can beat him if anyone beats him then Red Bull will try and find someone to beat them.

        5. David yes he out pointed Ricci but he was flogged over the season by Ricci ..points are not the picture of who is better than who…by using points you can say he can beat Ricci in China this year..

      2. @ivettel But who else was going to replace Vettel? They would have looked just plain silly to put Vergne in after they had told him he was surplus to requirements…

        1. Oh, I’ll never deny that Kvyat was the best option to save face, but nobody can deny, either on merit of his two seasons with Ricciardo, or Kvyat’s comparative form against them both, that JEV would have been a better choice.

          1. But he wasn’t… You can’t pick and choose attributes. If JEV was the better choice, they’d have JEV.

            1. Or they felt JEV was about the same and they want even better, they are looking for the next guy to beat their current best. Kyvatt failed now Max has a chance.

            2. I feel like markp. JEV is good racer, but RB is looking for the next Vettel, which he is not, not is Kvyat. Now is time to check Verstappen.

    5. All the other RB junior drivers have been dropped entirely. He still has an F1 seat

      1. Because there is no one else in the pipeline who is ready to take the seat. Gasly is next in line and he hasn’t won a race in 2 years.

        1. Yeah, I think it goes without saying they would have dropped him if they had an alternative.

    6. Its pretty obvious why they want Verstappen in that seat instead of him. The only explanation that is needed is Kvyat convincing everyone why he should keep an F1 seat and he still has the rest of the season to do that.

      Bringing up his podium all the time claiming everyone is shortsighted is not gonna get him anywhere. His bosses are not stupid and they know how he got that podium and they know all his 3 Red Bull team mates would be capable of that podium or even better if they where in that car.

      1. IMO Ricciardo for instance would have been second in China at least, as he was leading prior to the puncture. Vettel who got past Kyvat for 2nd, had to come from the midfield.

    7. I read this article and believe it was great and calm answers.
      But when I found some replay video, Kvyat really looks like he’s about to cry.
      So sad.
      #RussianRemembers

      1. It’s funny how written articles sometimes fail to capture the tone of what has been said.

      2. @ruliemaulana I saw and it was really uncomfortable to watch. He couldn’t even find the right moments to breathe in between sentences. I know that the drivers cannot choose to attend or not this press conference, but he shouldn’t have been there. Surely it didn’t help him for the weekend.

        But from the press conference I got the feeling that Kvyat doesn’t seem very mature, it came across to me that way. Maybe something on his body language or the way he goes sharing with everybody what he was doing with such detail. That is why they asked what tv series he was watching

        Very awkward and uncomfortable that drivers press conference

        And Alonso didn’t knew they swapped the drivers? Really? Hamilton also said “no”? Drivers are self centered but that is another level…

        1. Yes I think the same way. Good job they just added insult to injury, the media loves doing that.

          The previous weekend being a Vettel fan I was furious with what Kvyat had done but with all this happening, I feel so bad for him.

          And in the end nobody got the answers they were looking for.

          Poor Kvyat hope he can pull something out of the bag for this race to hit back at his bosses.

        2. @johnmilk

          And Alonso didn’t knew they swapped the drivers? Really? Hamilton also said “no”? Drivers are self centred but that is another level…

          They were joking! Alonso’s delivery was very dry though.

          1. It seemed genuine.

            1. No, he was definitely joking.

              He was in quite a joking mood actually with the mic too. That was funny.

          2. @keithcollantine I completely missed it, luckily he is not a comedian.

      3. It is distressing when you have put a lot of passion into a job, and especially if you have done an excellent job, to then be told you aren’t wanted. So one can sympathise, but he’d have got more sympathy if he hadn’t run into Vettel … twice. Unfortunately, one of the facts of life is doing a good job won’t save you if you do something bad enough.
        I don’t know if the allegation that it was planned that he was to be replaced by Verstappen this year is true, I would hope it isn’t, but if it was then Kvyat should have known better than to give those planning the change ammunition.
        In the background there were the “setting in concrete” for the 2017 car regulations coming up, and Ferrari have a lot of say on that, and design work would have already started on the 2017 Red Bull car simply based on the draft copies of the new regulations, so Ferrari could have made things difficult for Red Bull (and everyone else) if they had wanted to.
        At least Kvyat is racing with Torro Rosso, which is a blessing for him. It means he can still prove he is a top driver, which could lead to a seat with a better team in the future. While the STR11 has a 2015 engine, that doesn’t mean it can’t perform, it just makes getting good results harder.
        Verstappen has shown in the past he has weaknesses, but watching him drive is like a breath of fresh air, so I am sure that now he has been given this earlier than expected golden opportunity, he will be desperately wanting to avoid silly mistakes.

        1. I wonder what the redbull contracts read, kvyat must have signed a piece of paper that allows for this kind of situation, in other teams it might be “breach of contract”, but at redbull it is obviously different.

    8. Could it be TR will be sold to a russian billionair, look at the sponsorship deal with TR, who wants a russian driver in his team. Could it be that Verstappen had some talks with other team(s) about his contract and future.
      Could it be that all the data they gather about Verstappen shows he is a match for Ricardo
      And could it be all this came to a conclusion. I know al lot of speculation. Anyway i wish Kvyat all the best and that he will have a great race

    9. How much of a factor was Red Bull’s desire to calm things down at Torro Rosso?

      Wasn’t there a war brewing between Vestappen and Sainz?

      1. If Red Bull ever get near the front again, I can’t imagine Verstappen v. Ricciardo being exactly hassle-free.

        The reason was wanting Verstappen at their top team before anyone else signed him up. The earlier the better. The excuse for moving them early was the Kvyat-induced mayhem the past two race starts. Losing a job would be tough, but being demoted for a much better driver to take his place? I don’t get the fuss over Red Bull’s decision. It’s like dropping someone from the first team in football. Just lucky for Red Bull that they have that option.

        1. I think it’s fair to want Max in the A team, but how they did it was well on the nose I think. Same as football, if someone gets drop unfairly it’s not great. The differences is that there are only 22 drivers in F1. Unlike football if a swap happens everyone will know about it.

      2. Yes, all things point to that having been a large factor in how things got “sorted” too Sean, along with the need to keep Verstappen from walking out on Red Bull

      3. Sean, Kravitz did claim that there was considerable friction between the two drivers after the Australian GP, where the two sides of the garage descended into a bitter shouting match after that race. The recent appointment of Booth was reportedly made in an attempt to try and dampen down the arguments between those two, and Tost did make some comments after the switch was announced that suggested that Toro Rosso was having difficulty in keeping the two drivers in check.

    10. The timing of Kvyats return and the Russian oligarch interest in Toro Rosso must surely be more than coincidental. Daniil is certainly more hopeful than could be expected. Maybe Honda power to come too?

      1. Yeah, something like that is my line of thought. I think he would have been a lot more quiet if there was no hope of retribution. He seemed very motivated and motivational towards Torro Rosso and really wants to push for good results. A buy-out is the most logical answer.

      2. Interesting….. Makes sense that Kvyat said he “knew more but couldnt say” as well.

        I don’t think Kvyat has done a bad job but if RB are selling Toro Rosso, they have to make a call on 2 drivers and stick with it. Verstappen’s contract was up at the end of this season so if they were to give him a contract, it’d mean he’d get the 2nd RBR seat eventually anyway.

        If that’s the case, it makes sense that they’d make the change now – why wait? It’s not like Red Bull are in a title fight! If a Russian is buying Toro Rosso, it seems even more logical.

        Or this could all be rubbish and Marko just threw his toys out the pram because Kvyat crashed into the Golden Child. :)

    11. Dr Marko was going to hang on to his man no matter who the casualties would be. He wants MV to copy vettel at RB before he has the chance to do it for Ferrari.

    12. Gosh, seeing that photo of the 2014 Torro Rosso reminds me what a total embarrassment those ridiculous noses were.

      1. +1 I threw up in my mouth a little when I saw that pic.

    13. Sergey Martyn
      12th May 2016, 20:09

      Will they demote Sainz to GP2 if he crash into someone?
      Vettel for example :-)
      Red Bull gives you wimps.
      Can’t wait to hear Max whininig ‘I’m much faster than Ricciardo!”

    14. I think Kvyat handled it all pretty wel for a (how old is he?) 22 year old… but at the end of the day Formula One is a hard business for teams, sponsors AND drivers. Verstappen surely is the better prospect, and it’s not like Red Bull is in the hunt for any position in the championship. Kvyat deserves a seat but perhaps that seat is not in a top team. Last year I already pointed out that Red Bull (much like Mclaren with Perez) were to quick to put someone in an empty spot. They should have taken some time to look around and see who was available. I believe they were to keen on taking someone from STR to prove how well their junior programma worked.

      1. I think that’s right with Kvyat getting the seat. He was probably never viewed as the long term solution but if they were to continue promoting drivers from Toro Rosso, they didn’t have much choice

        There was enough controversy with Verstappen going to Toro Rosso because of his age. Imaging if he went straight to Red Bull!

    15. Woah! Tin-foil hat time: At the Russian GP Red Bull had some good meetings with Russian financial interests towards a purchase of the Torro Rosso team. The plan was set in motion…

      Kvyat is told at that point to satisfy conditions of a sale he needs to move to TR and they need a reason to do it, so he’s team ordered to deliberately take a faster car out at turn one. He sees Vettel after the previous week and decides to takes the opportunity, as was said by everyone there’s no way an F1 driver can have that bad reflexes right? The collateral damage to Ricciardo was accidental as taking out a faster car was supposed to ensure Ricciardo another good result otherwise in a title fight he was very much in contention for.

      1. I reckon Putin paid Kvyat to take Vettel out to spell out the message to the World that you don’t mess with Mother Russia!

        *if the KGB are reading this, I am of course, only joking. :-p

    16. Lol. And he watched Game of Thrones. Most suitable series for the situation.

      Well STR i as good as RBR sometimes… He should trash his way to a podium, make a mark, and laugh at Helmut Marko.

      Like you guys suggested, he took it well. 22, he is earning his bones now.

      1. @jureo

        I was thinking the same thing. Season 6 started with a few unexpected slaughters, and bang, suddenly Helmut was on the phone for an unexpected slaughter of his own.

    17. I think one thing I took out of it is what Alonso said, about being able to start in a more relaxed atmosphere at Minardi.

      The thing is, I don’t think TR is a more relaxed atmosphere. Red Bull have created an almost pressure cooker like situation. Where you either meet expectations or get dumped. Which is why when Sainz said he will have opportunity if he does well…. Yeah, maybe not mate. And he’d know that too.

      Which is just, well, sad.

      On another note, why the hell doesn’t the F1 site have the press conferences on it? God damn I wish I could strangle them. And make them send F1 back to free to air.

      1. FOM don’t have the presser on their site because it is part-and-parcel of the content which they provide to media companies that is narrow-casted behind the paywall. Same reason they don’t have FP2 on their site, e.g.

    18. I was harsh on Kvyat after Russia but after watching the press conference on YouTube I honestly feel sick to my stomach for him. It was like watching a kid in front of a bunch of bullies ask g personal questions. He looked like he was going to cry every time he talked. I hope he has a good race this weekend. He needs it.

      1. Yeah. He really looked distraught and hurt in that interview. Additionally, they put baby Max right next to him, who kept saying that it’s not his problem and he’s just happy for the opportunity. Honestly, Sainz didn’t look too happy either. There was a lot of tension on the front row of that press conference.

        I feel gutted for Kvyat, and I’m going to be rooting for him this season. I’d love to see him finish in front of Max at Barcelona. If they could have a wheel to wheel battle this weekend, without Red Bull management asking him to move over, that would be a highlight for me.

        1. @todfod – I’d prefer it if the management did ask Kvyat to move over – primarily because I’m almost positive he wouldn’t!

    19. Details like Ferrari engine in Redbull in 2017 and Ricciardo to Ferrari to seal the deal .

      1. Lol.. Oh wait, you’re serious?

        1. Well it sure as hell won’t be a Honda under the hood and Renault just can’t keep up with the financial cost of engine development .Haas has already proven the model going forward . 2017 rules also play into aero which is RB’s strength.
          Ferrari want Ricciardo and RB need an engine that can win .

          1. Renault and Red Bull seem likely to extend their partnership, as stated by Horner and Ricciardo this year.

            There is no way Ferrari would supply a team like Red Bull with an up to date spec version PU that is being used by the factory Ferrari team. Ferrari wouldn’t stand a chance against Red Bull, and they know it. And there is no way in hell that Red Bull will accept a 2016 version Ferrari engine in 2017.

            I just can’t see it happening. You could come up with the Alfa Romeo or Maserati conspiracy for rebranding Ferrari engines and supplying them to Red Bull, but Marchionne seems to be putting those rumours to rest already

            1. Collaboration with an enemy that needs you is the only way to beat an enemy that doesn’t .Ferrari must win either a manufacturers or drivers championship in the next 18 months or heads will roll again and Kimi just can’t deliver that so a deal with RB to get Ricciardo for a competitive engine is a smart deal.Better that RB win with Ferrari power than MB without .
              A Ferrari engine in a RB would scare the bejessus out of MB.
              It puts the Red into Redbull

          2. A deal like this won’t benefit anyone. VET will definetely try to block RIC move to Ferrari, so why geopardise your chances by creating friction with your leading man? And Ferrari engines for RedBull? Riiight. Only if they are last year specs. And RedBull won’t accept that.

            1. VET has already stated on the record he would not block RIC’s move to Ferrari. A deal like this benefits everyone except MB. Engine rules for 2017 hopefully will not allow retrospective engines and to be honest should never have . Bernie giving Ferrari preferential treatment just doesn’t work if Ferrari aren’t forced to toe the line on engine supply .

    20. I like Kvyat a lot more now, with the way he has taken this.

    21. Strange reactions to Kyvat on here. I sometimes wonder if I live in the same world as people on here. This seemed like a no brainer. Hasn’t anybody here seen someone get fired at work? Is this the reaction of the “everybody gets a ribbon generation”. Kyvat clearly didn’t meet expectations and they wanted to try out the hotshot who was breathing down his neck. I have no opinion as to how Verstoppen will turn out, but who cares? Why not try this? No championships are up for grabs. I don’t see how Red Bull can lose in this and they aren’t obviously in this to spare their drivers their feelings and the drivers have to get that having been in the system for half their lives.

      1. Exactly. I wrote something along those lines when the news became official. @darryn

    22. Got to feel for him. Was only a matter of time though before Verstappen was in that car. Would be good to see Kyvat in maybe a Williams. I think he still has a lot to give but i think with Red Bull its pretty much over.

    23. I’m afraid that Kvyat forgot lost sight of the fact that he lucked into getting that seat in the first place.

      Still it’s a bitter pill to swallow, for any young adult. Wish him all the best!

    24. Kyvat to Haas next year

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