The confirmation that Toro Rosso will field Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly for this weeks Mexican Grand Prix means two things.
Firstly, it would appear this is Red Bull’s preferred choice of lineup for 2018. Gasly lost out rather unfairly on this years Super Formula Championship by a mere half a point and has impressed in Japan, his two Toro Rosso outings this year.
Hartley had a very strong debut weekend in Austin and Red Bull appear keen on taking back a man they once deemed not good enough. But it means something else as well – it means the almost certain end of Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull career.
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) October 24, 2017
We all know of the saga that has been Daniil Kvyat and Red Bull for the last year and a half. Dropped at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix in favor of Max Verstappen, he saw the Dutchman’s career take off with his debut win that weekend and another one this year in Malaysia. Daniil though has been relegated to the midfield, and has been replaced again by Gasly twice whilst his former teammate Carlos Sainz headed off to Renault.
As the merry-go-round continues, Kvyat now can surely only see himself being displaced for the following season. There is an outside chance he will remain at Toro Rosso but they seem to be very keen on exploring a Hartley-Gasly partnership, and there is zero chance of him ever moving back up to the senior Red Bull team, despite taking two podiums for the team. So where does that leave the Russian, Formula 1’s very own Torpedo?
Well really there is only one realistic opportunity in Formula 1 left. Williams. Kvyat was apparently sighted chatting away over lunch with Paddy Lowe over the Austin weekend, and it would probably be a very good fit for both the driver and the team.
The family environment of the team is one that has suited Felipe Massa down to the ground and helped revitalize his career after he left Ferrari. Lowe is also very capable of overseeing the development of a competitive car and there are high hopes that in 2018 the team could fight for fourth with Force India and become best of the rest again behind the big teams.
Kvyat, despite all the issues at Red Bull, is still a very fast driver and did have a great weekend in Austin in taking tenth place. His speed is in no doubt and partnered with the ever improving Lance Stroll, it could well be an interesting and enjoyable combination.
— Daniil Kvyat (@kvyatofficial) October 21, 2017
The reality though is perhaps that Williams already know who will be in that car next year. The main consensus is that it is down to Robert Kubica and Paul Di Resta, and there is a very good chance Kubica will get the nod and revitalise a career that six years ago seemed to have ended far too early.
One thing is certain though: he may have had a rough ride at Red Bull, but Daniil Kvyat most certainly did not deserve the treatment that he got. We can only hope if he does find another drive, he is treated with the respect Formula 1’s Rapid Russian really deserves.