Twice-axed Red Bull star claims latest comeback blocked by ‘other games’

Jamie Woodhouse
Logo illustration for Red Bull Racing at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Logo illustration for Red Bull Racing.

Daniil Kvyat said he was very open to becoming a Red Bull driver again in 2019, but “games” going on meant Alex Albon was picked to replace Pierre Gasly.

Kvyat has a complex history when it comes to his association with Red Bull’s Formula 1 programme, going from Toro Rosso to Red Bull to fired, before returning to their junior team and later fired again.

His final stint began in 2019, at which point both he and Albon were brought back into the Red Bull fold to compete for Toro Rosso, though midway through that season there was an opening in the main team.

‘Other interests, other games’ blocked Daniil Kvyat comeback

Gasly had been promoted to the main Red Bull team to partner Max Verstappen for 2019, but an underwhelming half-season saw Gasly demoted back down to Toro Rosso, clearing the path for a driver to move the other way.

However, despite his mere half-season of experience, Albon was chosen as Verstappen’s new team-mate, rather than the much more experienced former Red Bull driver Kvyat.

“There were a lot of rumours and talking behind the doors about me going back to Red Bull, and I would have really wanted that, of course,” Kvyat reflected in conversation with the Formula 1 website.

“But there was other interest, other games going on behind and they needed to put my team-mate Alex Albon in Gasly’s car at that time, so that’s the way it went.”

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Kvyat continued with Toro Rosso, now partnered by Gasly, through the remainder of the season and into 2020 as the AlphaTauri era began, though this proved to be Kvyat’s final season with the team and in Formula 1.

For the following season, Kvyat’s seat was taken by Honda-backed Red Bull junior Yuki Tsunoda, the fact Kvyat was no longer a junior F1 driver working against him.

“Then, after the covid season in 2020, Toro Rosso had to put another driver in the junior team and I was not a junior anymore, simple as that,” he continued.

“I think my performances in my last races were strong, so it was definitely good enough to carry on in F1, but sometimes there’s just not enough seats, and some seats are booked for different reasons.”

Kvyat has turned his focus to NASCAR and the World Endurance Championship post-Formula 1, and has signed with Lamborghini for their 2024 LMDh programme as he prepares for his next WEC chapter.

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