Kvyat’s speed “just wouldn’t come back” – Marko

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In the round-up: Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says ousted driver Daniil Kvyat had showed more potential than either of his replacements.

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Why are Williams taking so long to fill the final vacant seat on the 2018 grid?

Cast your mind back to 2005. Frank Williams was looking for replacements for Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher. Now, Mark Webber got announced fairly quickly after the double vacancy revealed itself. However, the second vacancy stayed open. The end of the season passed, then Christmas. The day before the launch, it was still unknown as to which of the shortlisted candidates got the nod. (I can’t recall if anyone jumped the gun and stated who had it early, but it wouldn’t surprise me).

Finally, the curtain was drawn at the start of the Williams launch, Nick Heidfeld was called forward, and in the ensuing interviews he admitted he’d been given the nod only 30 minutes earlier. Frank had done this before, but never waiting quite that long. Why? To play both sides against the other, make sure the team got the best deal and avoid picking anyone too impatient or weak-willed to fit the Williams way.

Frank isn’t the only team manager who’s done this either; Vijay Mallya has done so several times, most notably waiting until the start of the second test one year to declare a second driver after conducting a shootout in the first pre-season test. (Note: this was 2013, when teams were only allowed three tests total…) There’s good reason why the “trial by nerves” method of driver selection went out of fashion elsewhere, but perhaps it explains why Claire is doing it now.

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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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47 comments on “Kvyat’s speed “just wouldn’t come back” – Marko”

  1. Re COTD: would Claire Williams pass a “trial by nerves” against all other team principles? What would the winning criteria be, who can make f1 racing the most boring?

    1. I think Liberty Media already doing “trial by nerves” to their own fans.

      1. Which decision by Liberty do you mean, @ruliemaulana?

    2. Re COTD too: I recall 2013 being the year that Force India ended up choosing Sutil (a driver who had already shown all he had to offer) over a young but incredibly promising Jules Bianchi.

      1. @strontium To be fair Bianchi wasn’t yet ready at the start of 2013 in that he was very much an unknown quantity, a rookie, in a team where consistent point scoring was vital. Sutil was a consistent point scorer and he came with a 7 million $ sponsorship package. I completely understand FI 2013 choice. Now things would be different probably as the team has progressed since then but at the time it was sensible. We can like it or not, but teams will choose what’s best for themselves. Same clever people at the team then as now, and they weren’t stupid then either.

    3. I dunno but if one of the criteria were telling the difference between principle and principal a lot of people wouldn’t do so hot.

  2. One part of me says that the seeds of Kvyat’s failure were sown when he was promoted a little to early to the senior team, and its associated pressures (not to mention a top-of-his-form Ricciardo). The subsequent demotion was act II, not the causative factor.

    The other part of me says that anyone in the junior team should be mentally ready to be called up to the senior team (they are the same formulae after all), and one can’t expect a convenient “warm-up” period in the junior team. Put another way, every driver in the junior team must not only be ready but aspire to the senior team, so this was something that Kvyat failed at.

    Swapping seats with Verstappen who them went on to (deserved) glories would have been the final nail in the coffin of Kvyat’s mojo.

    This is a reason I’m still rooting for Kvyat in the other Williams seat – let him have a shot at F1 in a team that’s not part of the Red Bull meat-grinder, and this can then be his F1 make-or-break season.

      1. The problem I have with another make-or-break chance is that – even if he is successful – he might choke again when it matters (E.g. WCC position for Williams in final race).

    1. Before Marko, Tost once said Kvyat are better than Ricciardo. Kvyat had decent rookie year and manage to beat Ricciardo on point in 2015 with more DNF. So it can be said that Kvyat was ready.
      I think what’s wrong with Kvyat was that he didn’t have quite mental strength as Ricciardo. In 2016 Verstappen was too good for not to be consider to be promoted. So the pressure are on both drivers but only Ricciardo prevail. Kvyat was to eager to showed that he was worth a seat only lead to more early laps error. After demotion Kvyat mentality only get worse.
      But with all that negative side of Kvyat, I still agree that he was better choice than other Williams candidates.

      1. @ruliemaulana, the Dutch press were suggesting that Marko had already promised Kvyat’s seat to Verstappen before the 2016 season even began, so it sounds as if he was going to be fired irrespective of how he did.

    2. If Kvyat is better than Hartley then presumably he’d leave the rest of the WEC in the dust. I’m also surprised he hasn’t picked up a seat elsewhere within F1. Williams need a driver with recent F1 experience, so why hasn’t Kvyat’s manager sorted out some corporate sponsors who will pay for him to drive the Williams car?
      I have to admit I am a little disappointed with Hartley’s Qualifying performance, but often his car had so many penalties Qualifying was almost a practice session, so one could argue he was saving the car for the race. Still, he is another driver who needs to be doing a lot of homework before Melbourne.

      1. @drycryst

        I have to admit I am a little disappointed with Hartley’s Qualifying performance

        The only poor qualifying session he had was in Abu Dhabi. He outqualified Gasly in Brazil, could have fought for a Q3 spot in Mexico if not for his spectacular engine failure and did a somewhat acceptable job in USA despite not having driven an F1 car for years.

        1. If Dr Marko “have no idea what happened”, maybe it will be better to demote hime from Red Bull to Adrenalibe Rush company?

    3. @phylyp I’m always a bit amused when someone takes a jab at “Red Bull, corporate of inhumane and anti-social treatment”. Maybe Kvyat should’ve tried being with Williams or Sauber where he would have never reached F1 without cash, or get a drive for McLaren so he’d get kicked out like Magnussen or Perez was? Maybe give Kvyat was so good to give the Ferrari or Mercedes academy a chance, a scholarship that hardly ever really introduces men into F1.

      I’ll tell it again and again, there is no team(s) like Red Bull bringing in talent to F1 without a big checkbook being one of the criteria to get a drive. And if you do good you’ll get a chance, and if you’re exceptional you’ll get a Red Bull drive, or you’ll be able to escape the STR team to let’s say Renault,…

      1. @flatsix – I differentiate Red Bull from other teams in that RB have a conveyer belt mentality to their drivers (they keep feeding in raw talent into TR and promoting the good ones into RBR) to other teams who play the long game with their drivers (sometimes too long as well). It’s in that respect I describe them as a meat grinder – you’re either good or you’re out. And I don’t imply anything derogatory by that statement, nor am I implying anything like what you’ve stated.

        To be fair, I’d say that Kvyat has been among the luckier drivers in the Red Bull programme to have gotten a good number of second chances.

        In contrast, there are other teams who tend to give a longer leash to drivers, which sometimes results in them flogging the same old warhorses year after year (Massa, Kimi, Button, etc.) when they really ought to have been put out to pasture far sooner.

        And I absolutely agree with you that the Red Bull programme has brought in deserving and raw talent – one just needs to look at the current grid to see how Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Sainz are all sought after drivers who bring great racing.

        Dr. Marko saw potential in Kvyat, but I think Kvyat has been since soured by his Red Bull experience, which is why I’d like to see him have a shot in another F1 team.

  3. COTD: +1.
    – Regarding the Autosport-article: It’ll be interesting to see how the Renault-RB-Mclaren battle will eventually pan out. I’m especially looking forward to seeing how Mclaren will fair against Red Bull with the same PU.

    1. Looking forward to that as well. And Renault with 2 strong drivers will hopefully show their face up there as well.

      As eternal optimist I hope there are 5 teams genuine podium/win contenders in 2018.

      1. @Egonovi +1.

  4. Marko mis not the most motivational manager.
    First telling Gasly and Hartley that Kvyat was more talented.
    And subsequently talking Kvyat down as well.

    1. All the while being the actual reason why the “something happened to him mentally” happened.
      Marko is a crazy man.

      1. For sure @james, Obviously Marko is fluffing idiot if he doesn’t know that the RB DDP is sapping drivers off their souls.

        1. To be fair to him and his organization, it’s better than Renault’s development driver program.

  5. I sort of get the feeling with the Williams 2nd driver announcement that the genuinely don’t know what to do.

    I think they went into the process expecting to sign Robert Kubica but saw something in the data that made them hesitant to go that direction & that they were then also caught off-guard with how good Sergey Sirotkin’s performance was in the final test. I think they gave Sirotkin that chance maybe evaluating him as reserve driver but he ended up looking like the best option in terms of performance.

    I think that from a purely emotional perspective everyone would like to see Robert Kubica get the seat because coming back from the injuries he suffered 6-7 years ago is a good story. However my thing has always been that he shouln’t be brought back just because it’s a good story, It should be based on performance & if he’s capable of been competitive at every race. Robert coming back & then struggling to get to where he was at before isn’t what I think anybody wants to see. Look at Michael Schumacher for instance, There was a lot of excitement about him coming back in 2010 but it was just sad seeing the driver who many considered the best of his generation nowhere near the level he used to be at & ending up looking average for 3 years…. I don’t want to see the same thing happen to Robert.

    People need to take the emotion & the desire to see Robert back where he was out of the equation & look at who is the fastest option & if based on the data they have that is Sirotkin then that is who Williams should sign regardless of how negative the reaction from fans desperate to see Kubica back (Almost no matter what) is going to be.

    1. I think there is a good chance they know what they are doing but just haven’t yet crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s with respect to finalizing a contract, such that they just can’t quite make an official announcement.

      I get your point about the risk of a comeback for RK and looking average, but not the comparison to MS. MS had advantages hand over fist at Ferrari that no driver before or since has enjoyed, and the records are there to show it. I think what we saw in his comeback was closer to the real MS without all the advantages. So in that sense I don’t think the comparison to RK is the same and RK could come back and look just as strong as before (said without knowing the actual data from his recent tests).

      1. @robbie

        I think what we saw in his comeback was closer to the real MS without all the advantages.

        I disagree & I think the years that he didn’t have ‘advantages’ proves it.

        Yes having the best car in 2002/2004 (And to a lesser extent 2001) helped him achieve the dominance he showed in those years, However in years where he didn’t have the best car he still managed to win races & contend for/win championships.

        If the Michael we saw in 2010-2012 was the ‘real’ Michael then he wouldn’t have had the success he had prior to 2001/2002 because at no point before then did he really ever have the ‘best’ car. Certainly in 1996 he didn’t yet he still managed to drag wins out of it.

      2. @robbie you must be a real schumacher hater, why do you never mention he was over 40 when he came back?

        Do people really expect alonso to be the same as 2006 when he’s over 40 if he continues racing?

        Schumacher was superb when he was at peak and an average driver when he was by far over the peak for the current formula, which is still great.

        1. If anything, kubica has more chance to be closer to his peak than schumacher was RIGHT because of the age, he’s still in an age people typically drive a f1 car, unlike schumacher.

    2. @stefmeister, I do agree that Williams probably did expect more from Kubica, but that it is plausible that his performances in those tests did not meet Williams’s expectations. It sounds as if the results from all of his tests have not been completely conclusive, so it’s hard for Williams to decide whether he is truly the best driver for the job.

    3. But that’s the problem though. It looks like Williams are thinking more of what funding the drivers brings, if they are given the drive. My hunch, is that the differences between sirotkin and kubica data wise are minimal, and that money, is likely going to be deciding factor.

    4. or… Kubica had “”only 17 million”” and Sirotkin had 25 million backup..as the internet info reveals..
      Williams is a privateer team and needs the money very badly.

  6. I’m surprised it’s been dragged out so long with Kubica. It does seem there’s some issue with his performance from the data they’ve compiled. So why not make this decision not to sign sooner rather than prolong expectations, his own especially? If conversely, by some chance, they are happy with his speed, dexterity, responses etc. then really there should be no excuse, not even financial, for not signing him. His is a special case. I’ve always thought it unlikely he’d be able to come back to a competitive level, but I’m more than happy to see that proved wrong.

    1. Sorry, supposed to be a reply to @stefmeister above.

      1. I don’t know that we should assume RK still doesn’t know his fate. He may already know Williams’ plan but no official announcements can be made yet contractually.

    2. It really doesn’t seem to be Kubica that’s the issue here. I think if his performances were convincing enough, they would have signed him.

      I think the issue is more with Sergei and his money, and/or working it out with Martini.

  7. Good and interesting COTD

    1. Agreed, a good COTD @alianora-la-canta and a nice bit of history (for someone who’s only about a decade into F1, making 2005 history!).

  8. Remember when a lot of Russians, including the guy who owned SMP Bank (Sirotkin’s sponsor) had sanctions put on them by the US and EU? There were a few articles about how it was apparently endangering Sirotkin’s career (Motorsport.com for example).

    I assume those have blown over now, but maybe Williams are just trying to make sure anything similar happening in the near future won’t impact on the arrival of funds. Could be difficult to negotiate installments and guarantees… which could explain the delay.

    1. @neilosjames @keithcollantine

      Just recently I’ve read an article in Russian (http://autosport.com.ru/f1/48192-boris-rotenberg-my-sdelaem-vse-chtoby-sergey-sirotkin-probilsya-v-f1?utm_source=telegram&utm_medium=smm) that quoted Boris Rotenberg (Putin’s close friend and judo partner, billionaire, co-founder of SMP Bank, and co-owner of SGM Group) saying, “We’ll do everything possible to place Sergey Sirotkin in F1”.

      For me, this says that the delay at Williams is about negotiating the best possible deal money-wise. Unfortunately, I believe Kubica is not really considered for the seat but used as part of negotiation tactics. Basically, this means that two huge moneybags will be driving Williams cars next year. This is not necessarily bad – we haven’t really seen Sirotkin, and it looks like he’s not much worse than post-injury and out-of-shape Kubica. Plus, Williams are likely playing the long game – getting all the money they can before next regulation change.

  9. I rarely agree with Marko but yes, Kvyat was more talented than Gasly or Hartley.

  10. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    17th December 2017, 19:51

    I personally think it is Red Bull and Torro Rosso that are partly responsible Kvyat’s performance drop in a way. He was reasonable in his first year. He was moved a bit to soon to Red Bull the next year, but certainly had a decent year. He had just one really bad race, but that shouldn’t have been enough to kick him out mid season. I think it is that that has affected him. Sorry to say this but I think it will have been better for both Torro Rosso and Red Bull to keep the drivers they had until the end of 2016. Verstappen very likely will have got more points in Red Bull than Kvyat, But then far more for Torro Rosso. But I don’t think Kvyat will have lost his momentum like he did if he didn’t get kicked out at that point. So I think it could have been possible that if you add it up, the points in Red Bull and Toro Rosso could have been higher as Kvyat may well not have lost his skill. I agree that if he still wan’t doing great, he should have got dropped back to Toro Rosso at the start of 2017. But at leased that is a fresh start. But he hasn’t had 2 full seasons without getting swapped around which I think is unreasonable of the team no matter what his performance is. What he didn’t in Russia just didn’t seem like enough of a reason to swap him.

    If he’d been treated like Sainz, and stayed at Toro Rosso the whole time, he could have built up his speed and I think he could quite easily have been as good or possibly better than Sainz. His qualifying pace and speed in the past sort of shows this. He has been basically matched to Sainz in qualifying this year. He just hasn’t managed to put a race together frequently enough. I just think he has been treated badly. But if he can do something to prove he deserves to be back in F1, I see not reason why he couldn’t return in the future. He is still very young.

    1. @thegianthogweed First Red Bull gives Kvyat the chance to prove himself in STR, something many many young drivers wish they ever got the chance to do, then let’s not forget Kvyat got the chance half the F1 grid dreams of, and he failed himself. It wasn’t Red Bull that killed his career, if anything they gave the boy another shot at STR where again he was driven to nowhere by Sainz. It’s easy to blame others, or entities we don’t like but if anybody is responsible for where Kvyat is today it’s Kvyat himself.

      Kvyat has failed under whatever pressure he experienced, and therefore was deemed not good enough for Red Bull or STR. In this very likely extensive assessment the other teams see reason, very easy to assume that’s why no other STR driver has ever been picked up by another team after being kicked from STR. Unlike Magnussen for example.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        18th December 2017, 20:36

        I’m sure it isn’t just me that thinks this. I think he got moved up too early and kicked out at the wrong time. They should have had him at Toro for 2 seasons if I’m honest and judged his performance and then possibly given him the option to step up. Or if he went to Red Bull like he did in 2015, and they were not as impressed as they thought they would be, he should have been dropped to Toro Rosso at the start of 2016, not the middle. Then he has a clean start with more preperation what team he will be driving for all year! Instead of suddenly finding out you are going backwards. I personally think it is that followed by missing out some races, then returning for one or 2 more and then getting kicked out for good. I think Toro Rosso and Red Bull certainly have played a part in affecting his career. He still does have the speed just as qualifying shows. I believe he’d still be able to frequently get decent results if he hasn’t been messed around with so much. With a year out the sport to recover, I can see him coming back and being decent again. Beating Ricciardo wasn’t just luck alone…

    2. robert steiner
      19th December 2017, 6:02

      BR you are completely blind,have you been watching F1 the last 3 years? What is your problem with Sainz? Why you try always to lie with Sainz and Kvyat regarding results and speed? Please read carefully the results since they are together!, last 2 years points Sainz 98-9 Kvyat.

  11. Is Marko deliberately being obtuse here?

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