Marko: Kvyat ‘not performing as expected’

Jamie Woodhouse

Boss of the Red Bull driver programme Helmut Marko says Daniil Kvyat is underperforming, but he won’t be replaced yet.

Kvyat was recalled to the Red Bull programme ahead of the 2019 season and received a seat at Toro Rosso, finishing on the podium at the German Grand Prix.

The Russian driver scored 37 points that season, but so far 2020 has been a disappointing sequel.

Six races in to the team’s new era as AlphaTauri Kvyat has scored only two points, whilst team-mate Pierre Gasly has put 14 on the board.

Gasly has also outqualified Kvyat at every race so far this season.

It’s well known by now that Red Bull don’t really do patience when it comes to their drivers, meaning rumours have started to bubble up about Kvyat possibly being dropped by Red Bull for a second time.

But whilst Marko confirmed that Kvyat isn’t doing the job expected of him, there are no immediate plans to drop the three-time podium finisher.

“Yes, Daniil does not perform as we expected,” Marko is quoted by as having told Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten.

“But we are still just before halfway in the season.”

The question is who could replace Kvyat if Red Bull pulled the plug?

Yuki Tsunoda is the driver talked about most recently for an AlphaTauri drive with the team’s engine supplier Honda backing the Japanese youngster as they look to get a driver from their home country onto the F1 grid.

Tsunoda is currently P4 in the F2 Championship.

Red Bull also have Liam Lawson in their ranks who has claimed two race wins in Formula 3 so far this year.

Both drivers are eligible for F1 superlicences, but neither are being considered as an immediate replacement for Kvyat, and the same can be said for former Red Bull junior Lucas Auer who is now competing in DTM.

“Auer is not on my list,” Marko confirmed.

“Tsunoda in Formula 2 and Lawson in Formula 3 are currently in positions that qualify for a superlicence. But we are not thinking of exchanging Kvyat.”

Get your hands on the official Red Bull 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

Another man under pressure within the system is Red Bull’s Alex Albon.

The Thai driver is yet to come close to the performances of team-mate Max Verstappen in qualifying or on race day, but following the Spanish Grand Prix it was Albon’s engineers who drew the ire of Marko.

Red Bull pitted Albon to fit the hard tyres for his second stint, a move which raised many eyebrows since the C1s had been scolded by the drivers all weekend.

And unsurprisingly the lack of grip from the compound left Albon stuck in the midfield before he eventually recovered to P8.

“The performance in Barcelona, including the strategy, is the responsibility of his race engineer,” said Marko.

“Alex looked stupid then, not because of his fault. It was his worst race, but as long as he keeps going well he is out of that discussion.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.