Formula 1 is finally back from the COVID-19 cancellations, and the Austrian Grand Prix is just around the corner. Like all the drivers, Daniil Kvyat is eager to get back to racing with the newly branded Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team.
Kvyat finished thirteenth in the 2019 driver’s championship, in a very up and down season with the team then named Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda. Amidst three retirements, the Russian piloted the team to a podium finish at the 2019 German Grand Prix, finishing third.
Toro Rosso as a whole finished sixth in the constructor’s championship, with two podium finishes across the season. The same could not be said for Renault F1 Team and Racing Point F1 Team, the teams that finished fifth and seventh respectively.
Now branded as AlphaTauri, they will look to improve upon that finish and possibly surpass Renault and crack the top half of the constructors championship.
At the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, Kvyat finished a disappointing seventeenth, the last car one lap down. The Russian has been putting in a lot of work during the pandemic pause and will look to do much better than that finish.
“During the lockdown, I kept in touch with Mattia my race engineer. In fact, I have a small simulator at home and together with him, we did a few qualifying simulations.” Kvyat said in a press release.
“I would connect him via an iPad that I had next to me and we would simulate a qualifying session and he would talk to me as though we were doing it for real on an actual track. That was the best we could do.
“I know a lot of the other F1 drivers did a lot of this sim racing, but I have to say it’s not really my thing as I don’t feel it’s very representative of driving an actual car. At the moment, I have not been able to come to the UK and use the team’s real simulator because of all the quarantine restrictions in place, so we will have to see how that situation develops in the next few weeks.”
Kvyat said he was unsure as to how it will all unfold at the Red Bull Ring, but he is already adjusting well to what is now the new normal of COVID-19 prevention measures and is excited to get back to a track he enjoys racing at.
“As for the actual racing and how this season develops, we will just take it one race at a time. I will race where I am told to do so on the basis that the people who run the sport have done their work and decided it’s safe to do so for ourselves and everyone around us,” he explained.
“I trust that we are in good hands and that we will have an adequate calendar to follow and execute. I hope there will be no unexpected surprises. As for keeping masks on at all times at the track, we worked under these conditions at our recent filming day and I’d say it’s something you get used to quite quickly, just like when the Halo was first introduced for example.
“You get used to it after a few hours. One thing we will have to get used to will be the lack of fans. it will be weird to see the empty grandstands, the crowd is an important aspect of all sport and we will be missing it.
“As to how we will get on, it’s hard to say. In terms of track data to look at, we only have what we acquired in Barcelona in the winter. We will turn up in Austria with a good plan to tackle the Red Bull Ring and then we will see.
“It’s a track I like, with an old-skool layout featuring plenty of fast corners and I’ve always enjoyed racing there. We will be there for quite a while with the two races back to back and it’s a nice place to be, in the countryside so it means we can put in some training time in the fresh air.”