Toro Rosso have become the latest team to confirm their line-up for 2014. Current driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who has been with the team for two years, will remain and be partnered by Daniil Kvyat.
Russian driver Kvyat is just 19 years old but has impressed Toro Rosso bosses, including Franz Tost, with his performances in GP3 this year. In September it was revealed that Toro Rosso were assessing their options from three drivers, namely Antonio Felix da Costa, Carlos Sainz Jr and Kvyat. At the time Tost said: “I will decide, but the decision will involve discussions with several people and will be what is best for everyone.” It seems that in this instance, Toro Rosso have decided Kvyat to be the better option, over early favourite da Costa.
Kvyat had a successful karting career before starting in single seaters. Some of his achievements in karting include second in the WSK International Series, third in the European Championship and winner of the European Bridgestone Cup while karting. In 2010 he raced in Formula BMW Europe and Pacific, and also the Michelin Formula Renault Winter Cup. He finished Formula BMW Europe in tenth place and the Michelin Formula Renault Winter Cup in fourth. For 2011 he progressed to Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, partnering Carlos Sainz Jr. From 20 races he came away with seven victories and 13 podiums and ended the year in second place to his team-mate. He also finished the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand in fifth place.
He remained with Formula Renault 2.0 for 2012, racing in the Alps and Eurocup series for Koiranen Motorsport. He won the Alps series with seven wins and eight podiums, but finished second to one of McLaren’s young drivers – Stoffel Vandoorne – in the Eurocup. This season he is racing for MW Arden, Christian Horner and Mark Webber’s GP3 team. He has so far won two races, had four podiums, and set three fastest laps, putting himself second in the championship. He is seven points behind Facundo Regalía so still has a chance of becoming champion at the final round in Abu Dhabi.
This year Kvyat drove in the Young Driver Test for Toro Rosso. He has impressed through his career, particularly in GP3 this season. He has also been racing in the FIA European F3 championship, but due to missing the start of the season has been ineligiable to score points. This hasn’t stopped him securing pole positions, a win at his first race weekend in Hockenheim, and numerous fastest laps. He will also put Russia back on the grid after Vitaly Petrov’s departure in 2011. This is particularly important with the Russian GP due to make its debut on the calendar next year. All eyes will be on him as he makes his debut in Formula One.
The other news to come out is that Toro Rosso will be retaining Vergne’s services for a third year. After he was passed over for the Red Bull drive, question marks had been raised over Vergne’s future with the team, especially as other drivers have been dropped in the past. He currently lies 15th in the championship with 13 points. He finished a career best sixth at the Canadian Grand Prix but has also had to contend with a number of reliability problems. He will be hoping to lead the team to better results in 2014.