Testing for Ferrari at Fiorano in 2018, Daniil Kvyat says that was the moment he knew he had to get back onto the Formula 1 grid “at any cost”.
Kvyat entered Formula 1 in 2014, spending a year racing for Toro Rosso before he was promoted to Red Bull to replace the Ferrari-bound Sebastian Vettel.
He outscored team-mate Daniel Ricciardo by 95 points to 93.
However, the following season it all went very wrong for the Russian driver and he was demoted to Toro Rosso after crashing into Vettel at the Russian GP.
He saw out that season with Toro Rosso and went into the 2016 campaign as an STR driver only to be dropped from the Red Bull programme entirely.
Kvyat wasn’t out of F1 for long, signed by Ferrari as a simulator driver, a move that meant he got to test a Ferrari F1 car at the Fiorano circuit in April of 2018.
That outing made Kvyat realise he wanted back on the F1 grid.
“That was very emotional for me, because it is a Ferrari, in Fiorano,” he said on the F1 podcast Beyond the Grid. “It was really cool.
“I hadn’t driven anything for six months or something, and I was enjoying it so much.
“That day I understood that I wanted to come back at any cost to Formula 1, because this is what I want to do, this is what I am best at.
“Also, that test was very strong, very consistent and good lap times. Everyone was quite happy.”
As for his F1 axing by Red Bull, the 26-year-old reckons it came at a good time as he needed the break after his struggles.
He said: “I felt like I needed the break after not so easy times. It was very nice in a way to spend some time at home, to just do training to clear your head and sometimes do nothing.
“I still had a job that I enjoyed in a way as a development driver for Ferrari and I like Italian teams very much. Ferrari has a huge history.
“It wasn’t the job that I wanted, but I felt that I was giving the result to the team and I was helping to develop the car. They felt that I was doing my best for them and it felt very satisfying to do that job in a way.”
Kvyat rejoined Toro Rosso in 2019 and will remain at the team, now AlphaTauri, for the 2020 season.