Daniil Kvyat is aiming for a return to Formula 1 in 2022 after losing his Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda drive to Yuki Tsunoda, with the Russian feeling he has a lot to offer in the sport.
Kvyat, three times a podium finisher in his Formula 1 career, the last of which came in the 2019 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, says he will be doing all he can to make himself a contender for a seat in 2022 despite facing a year away from racing at the highest level.
“Ideally 2022 would be the logical year to come back, because there are new regulations and teams need experience,” Kvyat is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.
“I can assure you that experience is actually quite important, especially when new regulations come into play. I will be doing my best of course to come back, because I feel like I have a lot to give to the sport.”
Kvyat believes team-mate Pierre Gasly’s surprise victory in the Italian Grand Prix gave a misrepresentation of the inter-team battle at AlphaTauri, and he feels he still has what it takes to perform in Formula 1 as a more complete driver than he had been in his previous stint in the sport.
Gasly’s victory at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was the only time AlphaTauri finished on the podium in 2020, with the next best result being Kvyat’s fourth place finish at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari at the start of November.
“Of course, his win overshadowed anything good I did this year, but it’s normal,” said Kvyat. “He did a fantastic race, but all in all I feel like I’m a lot more complete driver now.
“And even when the pressure is very high around me and my future, I’m still able to perform more than 100%, which in the past has been a bit of a problem for me.”
“I’m a lot more complete only in these last two years in Formula 1”
The Russian feels he is a much more complete driver after the latest stint with Scuderia Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri, with more understanding of how the sport works compared to his first run when he was thrust into the limelight early on.
Still only twenty-six, Kvyat made his debut in Formula 1 back in 2014 with Toro Rosso, but despite scoring only eight points in his rookie season, he was promoted to Red Bull Racing in 2015 alongside Daniel Ricciardo. He scored a podium finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix but was only able to finish seventh in the final standings, although that was ahead of team-mate Ricciardo!
He returned to Toro Rosso after just four races of the following season (despite a podium in China) as Red Bull opted to bring in Max Verstappen, before dropping off the grid completely before the end of the 2017 campaign as his confidence waned.
He spent 2018 as reserve driver for Scuderia Ferrari before being brought back into the fold by Toro Rosso in 2019, scoring that podium finish in Germany in 2019. His best result of 2020 was a fourth-place finish in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but now he has eyes on becoming a reserve driver in 2021 having been ousted once more from his seat.
“I think my career in F1 was extremely fast, like everything happened so fast sometimes,” said the Russian. “After my first stint in F1, I didn’t even understand really what happened.
“I came after GP3, so I missed the step before Formula 1. I went to Toro Rosso, had a strong year in Toro Rosso at the time and then immediately got promoted to Red Bull Racing after one year. Then I also had a strong season with Red Bull Racing there [before] we all know what happened. Then I had a couple of tough years.
“I think I always lacked a bit of experience in F1 actually, because everything happened so fast. And when I came back last year in 2019, I just took a very different approach.
“It’s not that I forgot everything that I’ve been doing before, I just started from a very fresh page in a way : a bit like a rookie again. But I managed to learn new things and also this year I managed to feel a lot of progress.
“I’m a lot more complete only in these last two years in Formula 1, and only now I feel like I’m ready to drive always on a high level. And also, if the opportunity would come with a top team now, it would be a different story.”