Daniil Kvyat has been named as Pierre Gasly’s replacement at Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2019, marking a return to the team which dropped him last year.
Ironically, it was Gasly who initially took the Russian’s seat at Red Bull’s junior team partway through the 2017 campaign, before he was told that his services were no longer required at all with three races left.
Gasly will be promoted to Red Bull Racing in the wake of Daniel Ricciardo’s move to the factory Renault team, meaning Kvyat is back in the energy drink giant’s motorsport system after a year as a Scuderia Ferrari development driver.
“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,” said Kvyat.
“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.”
Kvyat has twice being demoted within Red Bull’s ranks, firstly when he switched from RBR back to STR as Max Verstappen went the other way early in 2016, then his axing last year.
However, STR team principal Franz Tost believes that the 24-year-old still has a lot to offer after a season out of racing.
“I believe he deserves another chance in Formula 1,” he said of Kvyat.
“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.”
There is no word yet on the identity of Kvyat’s 2019 team-mate, although Brendon Hartley maintains that he has a contract which keeps him at Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Practice 3 for the Russian Grand Prix starts at 1900 AEST, followed by Qualifying at 2200.