No-one ever doubted Daniil Kvyat's ability - Franz Tost
Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost has asserted that “no-one ever doubted” Daniil Kvyat’s driving ability, as the Russian prepares to return to Formula 1.
Kvyat has had a rollercoaster career under the Red Bull umbrella, having been promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull after just one year, before being dropped for Max Verstappen in early 2016.
Kvyat spent the next phase of his career at Toro Rosso but was axed towards the end of 2017, losing his race seat, instead, he spent 2018 as Ferrari’s development driver.
Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Renault kick-started a chain-reaction in the driver market, with one strand resulting in Toro Rosso opting to recruit Kvyat for a third stint with the team.
Tost believes Kvyat has always held “natural speed” but that his initial promotion to Red Bull for 2015 came “too early” in his career, and that he is now a more rounded driver.
"I always say that a young driver needs two to three years to understand and deliver in the complicated world of F1, but Daniil showed his natural speed from the very beginning,” said Tost.
"When the contingency required his move to Red Bull, it seemed that he could be ready for the challenge.
"He showed some very good performances but to perform under pressure is always a challenge, now we can say with hindsight it was just too early.
"He had to live through a difficult time when he joined us again in 2016 – it was psychologically tough, but no one has ever doubted his driving skills.
"I strongly believe he deserves another chance in Formula 1 and I feel the best is yet to come from his side.
"Having had time to mature as a person away from the races will help him show his undeniable capabilities on track.”
Kvyat will be paired with Alexander Albon, third in last year’s Formula 2 championship, and Tost reckons the rookie will be able to learn from his more experienced team-mate.
"Alex will have a lot to learn, like any newcomer in Formula 1,” said Tost.
"But he certainly proved himself in the lower categories like European Formula 3, GP3 and especially in Formula 2, where he was able to win races.
"In the second half of last year’s F2 Championship, he impressed with a lot of overtaking manoeuvres and that’s what convinced us he is the right driver to get on board.
"With Daniil on the other side of the garage, he has an F1 experienced driver with whom he will be learning a lot from, along with the support of the team around him."