In 2016, Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat swapped seats at Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, a decision made by Helmut Marko after Kvyat crashed into Sebastian Vettel at the Russian Grand Prix, which Kvyat believes was the final straw for Red Bull, leading to a difficult period for him as he had to drive for the sister team again.
‣ In 2016, Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat swapped seats at Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso after Kvyat completed just four races in his second season at Red Bull.
‣ Kvyat had a suspicion that Helmut Marko wanted to switch drivers even before he drove at the track in 2016.
‣ Kvyat’s crash into Sebastian Vettel at his Grand Prix on home soil was the final straw for Red Bull, leading to the driver change.
‣ After the swap, Kvyat found it difficult to drive for Toro Rosso again due to low motivation and a lack of confidence in the car.
2016. A year that’s still talked about in the racing world. Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat, two names that caused a stir. They switched seats. Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. Kvyat, just four races into his second season at Red Bull, got the boot. The decision-makers? Helmut Marko and his crew.
The news? Not exactly music to Kvyat’s ears. He was chilling, watching Game of Thrones, when the bomb dropped.
Kvyat, now 29, had a hunch. He suspected Marko had plans to switch drivers even before the 2016 track events. “Helmut was like, ‘We need you to beat Daniel consistently every race, more or less’,” Kvyat told Formula1.com. His response? “OK, let’s see, he’s not an idiot, but I’ll do my best like he will’.”
Was the Russian GP the final nail in the coffin? Kvyat thinks so.
In China, Kvyat managed a third-place finish. But his home Grand Prix? Disaster. He crashed into Sebastian Vettel. That was it for Red Bull. Kvyat’s take? “The first few races were tricky, but there were clear improvements, like in China. Then there was Sochi and obviously they [Red Bull] needed this [for the driver change].”
97 races. That’s how many Kvyat has under his belt in Formula 1. But this period? Tough. He was back with the sister team. His motivation? Rock bottom. “It started to be difficult times because my motivation was quite low to go back to Toro Rosso, another car that was a different philosophy. Carlos was very hungry and confident with that car, and me, on the other hand, not hungry, not confident. There’s nothing [you can] do against a hungry Carlos with that mental approach,” he admitted.