It is not often that a home grand prix turns out to be the worst of the season for any driver. After all, a grand prix in your home country is supposed to fun, spectacular and fulfilling. For Daniil Kvyat, however, his recent home grand prix performance may well be what will determine his future (or lack thereof) with his team and, possibly, the sport.
The recent race mishap during the Russian Grand Prix has angered a number of people, including teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel who suffered points loss as a result. The incident happened during the opening lap of the race. Kvyat’s Red Bull first hit Vettel’s Ferrari in the rear, sending Vettel towards Ricciardo’s car. The two cars made contact but managed to keep running.
Almost immediately after, Kvyat’s car hit Vettel again in the rear. This time, the contact was enough to send Vettel’s Ferrari crashing towards the barrier. Kvyat’s car continued to be viable for racing, but Vettel was forced to retire early. The four-time champion ended up picking pieces of his car before being taken back to the paddock on a motorcycle.
Following the incident, Vettel was furious. He said, “I think there was enough damage to conclude I couldn’t continue. If anyone needs to talk to anyone, I think it’s him [Kvyat]…”
The four-time world champion also spoke with the Red Bull team principal following the contact with Kvyat. Following their discussion, Horner said, “Obviously Seb was slightly frustrated. All I could do was apologise, because this week it was unfortunately a mistake from Dany.”
A serious talk is what Red Bull is looking to do with their young Russian driver soon. For one thing, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has made it clear that he is displeased with Kvyat‘s incident in Sochi. He told Motorsport, “Braking too late once and hitting another car would be acceptable in front of his home crowd, but this doesn’t apply for the second crash.”
Rumors are now swirling around saying Max Verstappen will be joining Red Bull as a driver for next year’s season, according to James Allen. The young Toro Rosso driver did not get to finish in the Russian Grand Prix either, but he currently ranks tenth in the driver standings with 13 points. Meanwhile, Kvyat currently has 13 points following his podium finish in Shanghai, which also led to a bit of confrontation with Vettel.
If Verstappen ends up taking a seat in Red Bull next season, it would make sense to assume that Kvyat will be moved to a development driver role or taken off the team altogether. Ricciardo is currently viewed as the team’s no. 1 driver, so Red Bull is expected to do their best to keep this Aussie in their team.
Should Kvyat be forced out of Red Bull, he may also find himself out of Formula 1 if he fails to secure a new team.