Toro Rosso have confirmed that the 2016 GP2 champion Pierre Gasly will replace Daniil Kvyat for the Malaysian Grand Prix leaving people to speculate on the future of both drivers.
Gasly, still just 21, has been driving in the Japanese Super Formula Championship this season – and sits second in the driver standings – after just missing out on a Toro Rosso drive for 2017.
He will be given the chance to show his talent over a full race weekend in Malaysia and if Gasly can put in a promising debut, it could secure a spot in the Toro Rosso team for next year.
— Pierre Gasly 🇫🇷 (@PierreGASLY) September 26, 2017
The Frenchman is also expected to race in the Japanese Grand Prix the week after Malaysia but Kvyat should return for the United States GP with Gasly set to compete in the final Super Formula contest.
Gasly was vocal about his frustration at missing out on a 2017 seat at Toro Rosso, admitting he was “a bit surprised” that they stuck with Kvyat to partner Carlos Sainz.
It was expected that Sainz, Renault bound next season, might spend the last few races on loan at the French team but with Jolyon Palmer staying put, it is Kvyat who has made way for Gasly’s introduction.
While a statement released by Toro Rosso stressed that the Russian remains part of the Red Bull family, it’s clear to see that Kvyat’s poor performances have taken their toll.
The 23-year-old has just four points this season, compared to Sainz’s 48, and has been on a sticky wicket since being demoted back to Toro Rosso from parent team Red Bull ahead of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
— Channel 4 F1® (@C4F1) September 26, 2017
Kvyat will almost certainly race again in F1 this season but he will be feeling the pressure, knowing the Red Bull group will not be afraid of pulling the trigger on promoting one of their other young, talented drivers next season.
“Scuderia Toro Rosso was established by Red Bull to bring youngsters from its Junior Programme into Formula One and that’s what we are doing by giving Pierre this chance.
He is the next in line at Red Bull for this opportunity and he has shown that he deserves it, having taken the 2016 GP2 title and this year being very competitive in the Super Formula series in Japan.
For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil Kvyat has not really shown his true potential so far this year, which is why we are standing him down for the next races.
This will give us the opportunity to evaluate Pierre on track during a proper race weekend.” – Toro Rosso Boss Franz Tost
— Renault Sport Series (@RenaultSpSeries) September 26, 2017
Nobuharu Matsushita, a Honda protege, could potentially make the step up from Formula 2 with Toro Rosso using the engine supplier next year.
With Sainz on the way out, Toro Rosso will have a big hole to fill. Gasly has a fantastic opportunity to nail down his spot in the next two races.
Kvyat’s fate may already be sealed. He has the second worst points per race record of all Toro Rosso drivers since the team’s inception in 2006, ahead of only Scott Speed.
While he is still young and will be likely given opportunities elsewhere in Motorsport, his Formula 1 career could soon be coming to an end.