Red Bull Racing figurehead Helmut Marko revealed that the team “don’t know” why former driver Daniil Kvyat couldn’t handle the pressure in the team, saying that if they had understood it, perhaps they could have cured it.
Kvyat was a graduate of the notoriously make-or-break Red Bull Junior Team, along with current drivers Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Brendon Hartley. Following a single season in sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso, Kvyat was promoted to the Red Bull Racing garage for his second season in Formula 1. This second season even included his first podium in the top flight, when he reached second in Hungary in 2015.
Kvyat’s strong performance was unfortunately followed by two bouts of contact with Scuderia Ferrari (and former Red Bull Racing) driver Vettel early in the 2016 season, and the Russian was publicly demoted back down to Toro Rosso team after just four races in favour of a supremely fast-charging Verstappen, despite a second career podium finish in China. Verstappen then won his first race with the Red Bull team in what was essentially Kvyat’s car, cementing the Dutchman’s status as a Red Bull driver and dealing Kvyat’s confidence a knock from which it never seemed to recover. The following seasons saw Kvyat fall further down the field and make more contact with other cars, before eventually being permanently replaced in Toro Rosso by the rookie (and yet another Red Bull Junior Team graduate) Pierre Gasly.
The famously cut-throat Marko told Formula1.com that Red Bull weren’t sure how to repair Kvyat’s confidence in the car, and that had they known how to, they would have, as his initial performance exceeded even that of five-time race winner Ricciardo.
“Unfortunately we don’t know why. Maybe because of that we couldn’t cure it. In his first year in F1 he was a revelation, often being quicker than Ricciardo – that’s why we moved him to Red Bull Racing. But then suddenly his curve started to run south.
“This happens sometimes unfortunately. We gave him more than one fair chance, but he could not use his potential. That’s how it sometimes goes.”
Whilst he won’t be on the track this year Kvyat has found favour with a team, announcing earlier this week that he would become Ferrari’s development driver.