Toro Rosso has announced Daniil Kvyat will return to the team to replace Pierre Gasly for the 2019 Formula 1 season.
The team confirmed the signing of the 24-year-old at his home race. The Russian has previously had two stints with the team, and has spent this year working as a test driver for Ferrari.
Kvyat initially joined Toro Rosso for the 2014 F1 season, and earned a promotion to the Red Bull team after just one year, replacing Sebastian Vettel. However, a series of incidents at the start of the 2016 campaign resulted in him being dropped back to Toro Rosso in favour of Max Verstappen.
His poor form returned midway through last year and he was rested for a couple of races after crashing at the Singapore Grand Prix, before being dropped from the Red Bull programme entirely after the United States Grand Prix.
After his return was announced this morning, Kvyat said: “First of all, I would like to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for giving me this opportunity to race in Formula 1 again and I am particularly pleased to be returning to a team I know very well. Toro Rosso has always made me feel at home and I’m sure it will still be the same next season. I would also like to thank Ferrari for trusting my driving skills which allowed me to stay connected to F1 as their development driver. Even if my duties were primarily simulator based, I’ve learnt a lot, and I now feel stronger and better prepared than when I left Toro Rosso. I never gave up hope of racing again, I am still young and I have kept in good shape to always be prepared in case another opportunity presented itself. I will give my best to deliver what the team expects from me and I can’t wait for everything to start again.”
Team Principal Franz Tost added: “Pierre Gasly’s impressive performance since he made his F1 debut last year has landed him a drive with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing next year. It is well deserved and from a Toro Rosso point of view, I am pleased that, once again, a driver from Helmut Marko’s Red Bull Junior Programme has stepped up to Red Bull Racing – mission accomplished! As for Daniil’s return, I believe he deserves another chance in Formula 1. Daniil is a high skilled driver with fantastic natural speed, which he has proven several times in his career. There were some difficult situations he had to face in the past, but I’m convinced that having had time to mature as a person away from the races will help him show his undeniable capabilities on track. We’ll push very hard to provide him with a good package, and I feel the best is yet to come from his side. That’s why we are happy to welcome him back to our team, to start a successful season together.”
Kvyat is the second driver to return to Toro Rosso after a break from the Red Bull programme in less than a year, as Brendon Hartley was also brought back midway through the 2017 season after spending several seasons in the World Endurance Championship. It’s unclear whether Hartley will be continuing with the team for 2019, as he hasn’t matched the performances of his teammate this season, but Toro Rosso don’t have a huge number of other options from the Red Bull young driver programme. Pascal Wehrlein, Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne have all been linked with Hartley’s drive. Kvyat will be using the Honda engine for the first time when he returns to Toro Rosso, which will also be new to Red Bull next year.