Helmut Marko, Red Bull, 2013

Kvyat ‘should be on Vergne’s pace within eight races’

2014 F1 season

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Helmut Marko, Red Bull, 2013Red Bull motorsport director Helmut Marko believes new Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat should be on the pace of team mate Jean-Eric Vergne before the first half of 2014 is over.

“Of course he has to learn how Formula 1 is operating,” said Marko, who runs the team’s young driver programme. “He has to learn the circuits.”

“But I would say after six to eight races he should be in a position to challenge Jean-Eric Vergne.”

Kvyat, who is racing in GP3 and Formula Three this year, was announced as the team’s new driver for 2014 yesterday.

Marko denied the decision to hire Kvyat had been taken in part to coincide with the inaugural Russian Grand Prix which is slated to take place next year.

“We were looking what is best for Red Bull, what is best for Toro Rosso in the medium term,” he said. “And all the people who had been involved in this decision decided yes, Daniil Kvyat is the right candidate.”

Kvyat was chosen ahead of fellow development drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jnr, among others.

“From all the juniors which were in the frame for a Formula One seat, through his performance he was the natural candidate being fast, being mature” said Marko. “So in the medium terms he offers the best perspectives.”

Marko said Red Bull’s evaluation of Kvyat across a range of series led them to conclude he was the best choice.

“Daniil is quite an aggressive driver,” Marko added. “He never gives up and he has natural speed. We put him in various categories and even without testing he immediately was on the pace.”

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Keith Collantine
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68 comments on “Kvyat ‘should be on Vergne’s pace within eight races’”

  1. Red Bull motorsport director Helmut Marko believes new Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat should be on the pace of team mate Jean-Eric Vergne before the first half of 2014 is over.

    To think, with the length of the calender, eight races will be closer to one third of the season than half, as it was 10 years ago!

    1. “So in the medium terms he offers the best perspectives.”

      When has STR ever been concerned about the “medium term” w/ respect to their merry go round of drivers? Unless the mid-term is like two years…

      1. It actually makes sense that they are now looking at a longer term perspective @joepa.

        They have Vettel tied down for 2014 and probably 2015 as well. And they have just signed on Ricciardo for RBR. Surely they will give Ricciardo at least a year to prove himself. After that year they can put Vergne in the car, if Ricciardo does not give any special results.

        That means that they are looking for at least 2 years in the STR to develop a driver, who will be working with the 2014 onwards rules from the go. And he could be ready to go to RBR for a stint in 2-4 years.

  2. And that’s considered good?
    I mean, Vettel on his 3rd race he was on Q3 and fighting for a podium. I’m not comparing but that’s a drawback and Mr.Marko doesn’t seem to have much faith on him…

    1. Some tolerance has to be made for the way Kvyat won’t actually race on a circuit he knows until Barcelona.

      Also, they obviously don’t want to put piles of pressure on him by demanding he match the standard set by others.

    2. The 2008 car was a lot more competitive than the recent STRs, not to mention Vettel was measured against, err, Bourdais.

      If anything, this is more of a signal to Vergne. Almost like he means to say, ‘yeah, I bet this rookie could go as fast as you in a few races’. I wouldn’t be surprised, to be honest…

      1. Bourdais, multiple champion. Clearly demonstrating he had maturity, speed and consistency…

      2. The 2008 car was a lot more competitive than the recent STRs, not to mention Vettel was measured against, err, Bourdais.

        Not really. The STR3 was based on a Red Bull that finished a mighty 7th the constructor’s championship, barely ahead of Williams. And it’s easy to look back in hindsight and make Bourdais look as if he was terrible, when he wasn’t even that bad, scoring more points than either Liuzzi or Speed did in the STR2 which was based on a slightly more competitive Red Bull.

    3. Vettel had the benefit of more preseason testing and running in FP1 with BMW Sauber in 2007.

    4. I feel RedBull had to do with what they had and nothing was exceptionnal from their youg development … They even proposed the seat to Stoffel (source here) which refuse prefereing to stay in the McLaren program (probably a good call at this time), thas was however a strange call from RedBull

      Let’s see how he does next year, but I already feel he is another driver just passing by STR

    5. @dimitris-1395 How exactly are you defining that third race, because your comment does not seem to make sense.

      The third race in which Vettel officially took part was the 2007 Turkish GP, where he qualified in 20th place – later bumped up to 18th after both Honda drivers had penalties for engine changes – where he was not even remotely close to getting into Q3 (he was nine tenths of a second off the time set by the last driver to get into Q3, and seven tenths off his team mate, Liuzzi, who ended up three places ahead of him), let alone being remotely close to the podium you seem to think he was competing for (he finished 19th).
      If you mean his third race for Toro Rosso, that would be the 2007 Italian GP – he was still only barely into Q2 in that race (16th) and finished in 18th place, having risen no higher than 17th place during the course of that race.

      Alternatively, if you are referring to 2008, your comment is still incorrect – whilst Vettel may have made it into Q3 in the Australian GP, which, coincidentally, was his 8th race for the team, he also crashed out on the very first lap.

  3. Seems like Marko has another favourite driver after Vettel. Maybe a switch to Red Bull in 1-2 years in Racciardo’s place? ;)

    1. I think Ricciardo (and Vettel btw) has a 2 year contract ;)

  4. Medium term? Damn you Helmut, now you’ve opened the door to short and long term speculation!

  5. Complete and utter nonsense. Da Costa and Sainz Jr. are far more mature, far more experienced, far more successful, and far more unappealing to Red Bull’s potential market. Yes, Kvyat is not a bad driver, but like Sirotkin, the haste to have a Russian in the car by 2014 is inexcusable and shameful for the sport.

    1. You can argue about da Costa being more mature and maybe successful, but Sainz? They’re both 19 and Kvyat is doing a far better job in GP3 than Sainz, he has like 60 more points.

      1. @st91 Yes Kvyat has been more successful than Sainz, my bad, but (arguably) Sainz is further in his development. He hasn’t had the results, but he has done a lot more races than Kvyat.

        1. The only thing Sainz has done to be above Kvyat in the development is 5-6 races in the WSR, not that much if you ask me. The rest of their career is more or less the same.

          1. That’s why I said arguably :P

        2. @andae23

          but he has done a lot more races than Kvyat.

          Sainz has 152 car race starts, Kvyat has 147. Hardly much of a difference.

          1. @wrsgo if you take time-scales into the equation: according to Wikipedia, Sainz has done 97 races the last two years, while Kvyat has done 63.

        3. Barichello has done a lot more races tham Schumacher. Doesn’t really mean much without the talent.

        4. andae23: He hasn’t had the results, but he has done a lot more races

          If teams wanted more races but not results, Barrichello would be an ideal candidate!

    2. @andae23 – Prove it.

      There has never been pressure to take drivers of a particular nationality because of an upcoming Grand Prix, and I see no reason why that would have changed now.

      If you want a real example if inexcusable and shameful behaviour in the sport, then I draw your attention to the attitude that Kvyat is unworthy of the seat because he is not da Costa. A quick glance at his resume and his results demonstrates that he is worthy of a seat. He deserves to be judged on his own merits, not on the belief that someone else – who has seriously underperformed throughout the year – was supposedly more worthy of the seat.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I disagree: my reasoning why I would take Da Costa over Kvyat is that Da Costa is one year ahead of Kvyat in his development. So hence I think it’s odd that Kvyat would get the seat over someone who is one step further and has not underperformed this year because he still finished third in a highly competitive season of FR3.5. And I don’t see why anyone would pick Kvyat over Da Costa at this particular moment unless there are financial aspects to it.

        And yes, this different from HRT taking Karthikeyan and Sauber taking Sirotkin: these teams need the money to survive, so it makes sense for them to choose a driver that will ensure they will get more money. But this is Red Bull we’re talking about: it’s very sad that a financially stable team would go as low as to ‘compromise’ (or at least, base a decision not on talent and results alone) one of their drivers for a bigger market to sell their aluminium cans to.

        Of course that last paragraph is purely hypothetical, perhaps there are no financial implications, but I seriously doubt it.

        1. I think Red Bull know their drivers best and they can make the right decision. If it is only market driven to hire Kvyat, then why not US driver, why not Brazilian? Why not Asian? There are far more attractive markets than Russia.
          If you look at Vettel’s resume in 2008 you might say it was too early for him to join STR, but he did great job. In fact who expected the far more experienced Bourdais to loose so badly from a rookie? In the end of the day the Internet community may criticize Marko, Horner and the entire Red Bull team, but they are really doing what they should and the results are there to prove it.

          1. Well said

        2. @andae23 – Consider this: a Twitter account (allegedly) belonging Lotus’ new investors, Quantum Motorsport, posted an update claiming that a major announcement had been postponed by a week because of fluidity in the driver market. They are known to want a driver with star power to replace Raikkonen.

          Meanwhile, following the announcement that Kvyat would join Toro Rosso, da Costa posted an update, announcing that he would contune to work with Red Bull to secure a seat in Formula 1 and that he would announce his 2014 plans soon. The wording is very deliberate in that it could mean that he will stay with Red Bull, or that he could leave.

          As we saw last year, McLaren had no trouble getting Sergio Perez out of his Ferrari development contract. This tells us that drivers are not inexorably bound to a team. We also saw that McLaren beat Hamilton to the punch in confirming his departure from the team.

          You can see where this is going – there is a scenario where Quantum Motorsport invested on Lotus and got Antonio Felix da Costa out of the Young Driver Programme. Therefore, Toro Rosso didn’t take Kvyat over da Costa; they took Kvyat because da Costa was no longer available.

          1. Also, look at some of da Costa’s results from this year – he’s really struggled. People were impressed with the way he transitioned from GP3 to FR3.5 without breaking his stride. Kvyat did the same thing, going from GP3 to F3. And while da Costa started going backwards, Kvyat started getting better and better.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys Sounds plausible, but I’m not convinced, mostly because I’m not sure if that Twitter account is fake or not. I agree though, if your theory is correct, then it would make perfect sense for Red Bull to hire Kvyat (though maybe Nasr would have been a good alternative). But if not, I still don’t see why one would take Kvyat over Da Costa.

          3. Just as a note, someone found it curious that Quantum Motorsport Twitter account is only following Grosjean and Hulkenberg.

          4. you say that sounds plausible @andae23? I think the theory @prisoner-monkeys proposed here is complete nonsense.

            Yes, when you put things in that light, it almost looks like it makes sense, enough to bring up while discussing things over a beer.
            But when you look at the details (like that Twitter account being probably bogus) and at the fact we are talking about reasonable people who are also interested in money and making bets, but only safe bets it just falls apart.

            Take a person / group having a lot of money and being interested in Motorsport. They see a team like Lotus who have good facilities, a history of winning and a solid team. They are open to investment, so you decide to invest.
            Surely you would rather put in a great talent who has already shown that he knows what he is doing (Massa might fit the bill, Hulk surely does, for example) and a super fast guy who is starting to get results and knows the team (Grosjean) than throwing all that money behind a Portuguese hotshot who has failed to live up to potential this year.

            I am not at all saying that Da Costa is not F1 material there. And agree with those saying that a year of struggles will learn him more for his future career than having a string of success. But no one would invest to buy him out of a RB deal, invest in a team and put him in there.

            What a buyer would want (if its not a country/father/… pushing their driver like with Sirotkin, Maldonado) is drivers who will get dependable results (points) and have a shot at getting a podium or win if things develop the right way.

          5. @bascb – Of course it’s probably nonsense. The point I was trying to make is that we simply don’t know the circumstances behind the decision to take Kvyat. I’ve just really taken issue with the way people have assumed that Toro Rosso prioritised money or nationality over talent simply because they didn’t take da Costa, and I was trying to highlight that there are other possible explanations for what has happened behind the scenes.

          6. Yes, we do not know everything about why Red Bull decided on Kvyat @prisoner-monkeys.

            But your scenario is nothing but fantasy. In reality their desicion is somewhere between doubts over DaCosta being the real thing (his somewhat lacklustre year), likely a feeling Sainz needs some time as well, Kvyat being on a good run and money/market considerations.

            That they contacted Vandoorne for the STR drive shows they are doubting DaCosta, so that explains the first part of why not him. But IMO taking Kvyat is as much about gambling on his form as it is about a good move for the Russian market.
            Lets hope they give Kvyat more than 8 races to prove himself next year, because it will be tough for him.

        3. There is no need to expand red bull into Russian market, it’s all ready there for almost 20 years I believe, and it has very strong position in the market, I’d say they are number1. Kvyat was certainly better than his team mate, and TR, RB, and Dr. Marko have all of the info: lap times, feedback, etc. But only the time will show who was right and who was wrong. I feel sorry for Portuguese but there is no reason for red bull to take money from Russia even 15000000

    3. @andae23 I have been following Kvyat for a long time. I think his results suggest that he has the potential. He was fighting for Eurocup FR2.0 title last year and is in GP3 title fight this year. That is no mean feat.

      I always thought Kvyat was going to end up in F1. However, I didn’t expect it to happen that quickly. As Red Bull’s David Coulthard has said before, F1 is no finishing school. And AUTOSPORT’s Edd Straw believes that Kvyat is going to need three full seasons to mature and that “without question, in the short-term, the results will not be as good as Antonio Felix da Costa’s would in F1”.

      It’s very possible that RBR really consider Kvyat to be more talented and a better long-term prospect than Da Costa. Still, one has to wonder why they didn’t give Kvyat an FR3.5 drive for 2014 and promoted da Costa to F1 for 2014. In a year from now, they could decide, which of the three drivers (Vergne, Da Costa, Kvyat) to drop.

      No matter what the reasons behind this surprising move are, STR haven’t taken the best driver available and Red Bull probably have put another young hopeful’s career in jeopardy by promoting him to F1 at least one year too early. That’s not really something that you expect from the best F1 team.

      1. @girts Agreed, I’m not saying Kvyat’s not talented, because he is, it’s just weird why they want to promote him this year as this situation is a very good alternative:

        … one has to wonder why they didn’t give Kvyat an FR3.5 drive for 2014 and promoted da Costa to F1 for 2014. In a year from now, they could decide, which of the three drivers (Vergne, Da Costa, Kvyat) to drop.

        It’s low imo, especially for a team like Red Bull.

      2. Its a bit of a worry for me too @girts.

        When I read “in 8 races he will have to prove himself” that already means putting loads of pressure on him (and on Vergne) – I fear we will see a mid season driver change again at STR next year.

      3. I feel the choice is being made by elimination. GP2 didn’t really deliver any driver this year, nobody stands out, in 3.5 Magnussen en Vandoorne have destroyed the rest of the field so Da Costa could be seen as RedBull beeing second best behind McLaren, thus they had to go to GP3 and hit the top of the leaderboard. That’s the only explanation to me, yet surprising …

        And I’m not totally sure how it will turn, but that’s quite a gamble. Anyway they can afford it as they can fill the seat in the 2 RBR for the next 2 years (which is the main goal of STR)

      4. Those same experts also claimed that Alguersuari, who was dropped into the Toro Rosso seat midway through the season, was going to be a liability given his inexperience and age (younger than Kvyat and with fewer starts – 118 to Kvyat’s 145 – in junior series to boot).

        Instead, he was complimented on his relatively clean driving standards when he started racing for Toro Rosso and, quite soon, those commentators who had written such critical headlines about him had to quietly drop their claims.

        Equally, we have seen other drivers walk into F1 with less experience and adapt – Kimi would not be allowed into F1 today with the level of experience he had at the time, for example, whilst di Resta’s last experience in open wheeled cars was at Formula 3 back in 2006 (and his overall level of experience wasn’t that much higher than Kvyat’s is now) when Force India started running him in practise sessions.

        Maybe the criticisms from those individuals might carry more weight when we can actually assess Kvyat’s potential performance behind the wheel of an F1 car when the pre-season tests for 2014 roll round – until then, frankly, they are not that much better informed than anybody else.

    4. the haste to have a Russian in the car by 2014 is inexcusable and shameful for the sport.

      poor Petrov…

      1. Petrov might still have a chance to join Sauber, if we can believe the reports about him bringing backing of around 30 million EUR @joepa

  6. Well, to me those don’t seem like realistic expectations for Kvyat, but if he turns out to be as versatile and quick as has been advertised by the Tost, Marko, and co., it could prove very dangerous to JEV’s position within the Toro Rosso team and the Red Bull programme, and could open a door for other driver to get into the team, even if it is at the middle of the championship, like what happened with Bourdais back in 2009.

    1. Absolutely! If I have this right, if JEV makes it to the end of next season he’ll equal Buemi as the longest serving Torro Rosso driver(s) with 3 full seasons. So it’s already unlikely he’ll be there for 2015.

      1. Unless he’s a lot ahead of Kvyat at the end of 2014

  7. We were looking what is best for Red Bull, what is best for Toro Rosso in the medium term

    Yes selling more energy drinks in Russia makes sense !!!!!!!!!!! Even if i’m not interesting in anything Red Bull does but i do care for this sport, seeing the likes of Daniil Kvyat made it to F1 so easily while there is more deserving drivers like Felix Da Costa and especially Robin Frinjs who probably could never a chance to be in F1
    I’m not saying that Daniil Kvyat is not talented, he could be the next Sebastian Vettel but Vettel himself who made it to F1 in the days where testing was unlimited and has shown himself in lower categories and fought with Hamilton, Di Resta …. was not ready to race (not to drive) in F1
    I just want Magnussen to get that Marussia seat over Max Chilton so the number of talented drivers will increase over pay drivers
    As always Red Bull are trying to justify something they don’t have to justify in the first place, what a PR machine

    But I would say after six to eight races he should be in a position to challenge Jean-Eric Vergne

    Put Felix Da Costa or Robin Frinjs (i know he isn’t part of the Red Bull young drivers program) in that seat and they will be right on the pace of Vergne from the start of the season, i know that i don’t have any proof on what i said but at least Bianchi showed us last year how a talented driver could adapt to the circumstances to be right on the pace

    1. i’m not interesting

      Sorry i’m not interested

    2. I hear that they’re changing the name now to Toro Ru$$ia…

      1. +100500!!!

    3. @tifoso1989 – To think Frijns was offered Red Bull backing, but he turned it down, dismissing them as treating people like “dogs”. I remember some people praising him dor those comments, bur he couldn’t have impressed many potential backers with that. Had he not done that, to go to Sauber, who dropped him, he’d probably be in the sport next year.

      Vettel himself who made it to F1 in the days where testing was unlimited and has shown himself in lower categories and fought with Hamilton, Di Resta …. was not ready to race (not to drive) in F1

      Vettel was ready to be in F1. He scored points on his debut, after being pulled out of the FR3.5 championship which he was easily leading.

  8. Is he the next Vettel, at least signs point to it now. Too early to tell, but clear potential.

  9. I don’t know why people who have not even seen him in one race are being so negative about Kvyat. His season has been very good, much better than Sainz’s and da Costa’s in my opinion (I haven’t followed WSR as much as GP3 though, just the last half of the season).
    I think that he was the one performing better in the moment that RB was looking for Ricciardo’s substitute, more or less the same that happened with Ricciardo himself. For example, his 2 races in Monza this year were outstanding: pole, win and fastest lap in the first one and 2nd in the other, coming from 8th(I think he’s the only winner that has been on the podium in the second race) and I think that’s what made RB choose him.
    He has been with in the RB Junior Team since 2010 so it’s not like they put him out of the blue to take the seat.

    1. Funny you should mention Kvyats Monza result. Last year at Hungary da Costa qualified P2 and won the first race, then in a mixed condition race two, he came through the field and won again. Next round in Spa he scored two second places.

  10. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    22nd October 2013, 23:27

    Toro Rosso has a history on dropping drivers midseason… Somebody pointed out Bourdais, but don’t forget Scott Speed. And also, they run out of patience quite fast (Alguersuari and Buemi had 3 seasons to prove something, they couldn’t). So maybe we are seeing next year Vergne’s last season and a second chance for Da Costa or whoever people claim to be “more rightful” for the seat.

    1. Maybe they’ve stopped dropping F1 drivers midseason (you could read the headline as “Vergne’s out after 8 races” though…) It didn’t do Alguersuari much good being rushed into F1, but curiously Ricciardo’s HRT races were given as a reason for Red Bull choosing him over Vergne.

      They’re still changing midseason in Formula Renault – Felix da Costa’s had a season and a half, and Sainz half a season now.

      Maybe Red Bull should start placing drivers in Formula E, as that’s a winter championship…and Dr Marko will be able to vote for extra passes for his favourite driver.

  11. I still think Alguersuari was completely overlooked, or at least thrown out too soon. He had a great 2011 season, making a few Q3 appearances and finishing in the points 7 times where the Toro Rosso wasn’t much higher up the pecking order than now. He also qualified 6th at Spa, if I’m not mistaken? He was certainly not doing any worse than Vergne is now, anyway. He was 21 that season and only 23 now, and has a fair amount of Pirelli testing under his belt now. That being said, I don’t think we’ll ever see him in F1 again.

  12. I think the fact that he’s Russian didn’t have a priority when they were making the decision to give him the seat, I reckon is very similar to how Mclaren signed Pérez, they never agreed to anything commercially at the beginning, but the team knew that it could open new markets in the future.

  13. There seems to be a lot of disbelief in Kvyat, but when I look to Williams I see a rookie who has beaten a pole sitter/race winner on a regular basis, therefore I think it’s too early to judge one just yet.

  14. Don’t you worry… it’s only money…. Russian Mafia Petro Dollars vs. poor little Portugal euros… need no more explaining. In a couple of years, at least 50% or the grip are German and Russian drivers… The only other country yet to have some stature is the UK… for now… Long are the days of Italian and French dominance in the drivers lineup… Europe is going bankrupt… Races are transferred to rich countries, soon Europe will have only a couple… and we will watch F1 on the TV from Korea or Bahrain with ample space in the stands were real F1 fans should be… Long live the God Money !!!

    1. Hahaha! The burp of cold war propaganda.

      United States Secretary of Defense James Forrestal in 1949 uttered “The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming. They’re right around. I’ve seen Russian soldiers.” not long before purportedly committing suicide.

      Hope Forestall isn’t your role model.

  15. I wouldn’t stand by Marko on court.

  16. I am curious about this Kvyat. I am based in Macau and I have a chance to see all these kids race here, all out, in Formula 3. Kvyat haven’t done this race. Da Costa did and won. Bottas was on the Pace and very impressive. A podium and a DNF on his second time prior to entering Williams. Vettel was on the Podium (albeit with some luck due to a Black flag to the leader Duval) on his first time and had a DNF on his second try. This race is a good place to measure talent. Magnussen, for example, was underwhelming here. Ricciardo showed pace in qualify but crashed out. Sainz JR also disappointed here with a good car.

    As someone that has seen Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Button, Hamilton shine here, I can say that Da Costa has the potential and speed to be a race winner in very hard circuits. I haven’t seen Kviat. Would love to see him here. But seems like more and more, certain drivers avoid this race in fear it will damage their careers due to mistakes or exposing their weaknesses. Am disappointed. I commend the ones that come. Marciello came last year and was only so so. Rosenquist was impressive and so was Alex Lynn. They are all back. Lets see what this bunch brings to the table. I feel like Kviat just skipped his junior Exam!

    1. He had 2nd and 3rd in major Karting Championship. If you ask any driver on the grid, this is something you can’t just pull out of your bank account.

      Let’s see if he doesn’t crack under F1 pressure like many VERY talented drivers do.

    2. If I’m not mistaken, Kvyat will be there this year, alongside Sainz Jr. with Carlin.

      1. You are absolutely right, my mistake! I am really looking forward to see what he shows over here… Will he do a “Senna”? Not many could achieve that…

  17. Rubinho Santos
    23rd October 2013, 11:03

    Don’t worry. If any of those drivers do not deliver, we have the incredible Da Costa. As a Brazilian, I’m very sad about this decision of Toro Rosso. All the Brazilians had hopes about this talented driver in order to have another winning “Brazilian” in F1.

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