Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner believes the decision to retain Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso next season was fully justified given the Russian’s recent performance level and age.
Paddock pundits were expecting junior bull and current GP2 title contender Pierre Gasly to be promoted to a full-time race seat with Toro Rosso for 2017. Kvyat’s status quo comes therefore as a relative surprise, except for Horner.
“It is the right thing to do,” Horner said.
“Daniil had a tough year this year. He had a sensible year last year. His confidence took a dent, understandably, and he has worked on rebuilding himself and sort of got it together.
“At 21, 22, it is too early to throw in the towel on Daniil. It was the right decision to have given him another chance. You will see him turn it around.”
Asked whether the Russian could possibly find his way once again into a race seat with Red Bull Racing, Horner, who was consulted on Kvyat’s fate and who recommended he remain, said the prospect is not currently in the cards.
“It is not an option in the next couple of years because our seats are fixed. We believed it was our best option to leave him in that car.
“He is still very young. He is a quick driver, he demonstrated that last year. And he deserves a chance to try and regroup and reestablish himself.”
On the subject of Gasly, Horner reiterated Red Bull’s commitment to the French driver’s immediate future.
“He will remain part of the team. His priority is to try and win the GP2 championship. He is very valued.
“He is conducting good work for us. He did the tyre test last week, which is how high we regard him. We are in a fortunate position that we have got good talent around us.
“What his race program is, I don’t know, but in terms of Red Bull Racing he will be test and reserve driver and conducting a lot of simulation work and whatever else comes down the pipe.”
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