In a move that’s rocked the Formula 1 world, Red Bull announced today that Max Verstappen will be replacing Daniil Kvyat with the latter demoted to their sister team Toro Rosso.
Kvyat came under fire after a disappointing performance in Russia saw him wipe out former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in the first corner and could only manage a 15th place finish. Kvyat’s future at the team has long been speculated, especially with the arrival of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr, two very promising youngsters from Red Bull’s driving program, but an impressive podium in China seemed set to silence the critics until at least the end of the year. Honestly, the news came as a very big surprise for everyone, it’s an unprecedented move from Red Bull here, but completely legal and within their driver’s contracts.
Max Verstappen set the Formula 1 world on fire on his debut last year, showing an aggressive driving style and proving himself as a competent overtaker, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t believe he’ll become a future world champion. But, he is not a driver without fault, the 18 year old is the youngest driver to ever compete in the sport and his lack of experience and youthful spirit have caused many incidents in his short career so far. His collision with Romain Grosjean in Monaco last year caused many to question if he was ready for the big leagues and his frustrations in Australia this year made many wonder about his maturity. Max still has a long way to go before he becomes a championship contender, but his tenacity has turned a few heads at even the very best teams.
I’m not entirely sure I buy Red Bull’s explanation for the situation. Yes Kvyat had a horrid race in Russia, but his podium in China was incredible and I severally doubt Verstappen will make much of a change to Red Bull’s place in the standings, especially after the season has already started. I think this has more to do with Verstappen than it does Kvyat. Max is sure to be a target for many teams for 2017 onwards, I mean who wouldn’t want an incredibly young racer who is already doing the work and can only get better and surely has a long career ahead of him? His Dad knows this and has likely been pushing Red Bull for a full race seat or risk him moving to a rival team and dominating there. Red Bull backed into a corner have seen Kvyat’s Russian race as a perfect opportunity to promote Verstappen, whilst still keeping Kvyat and Sainz in the reserves should they improve and Verstappen fail.
No matter what, Red Bull has got some crazy publicity from the move and it’s likely to dominate discussion in the lead up to the Spanish Grand Prix. What do you think about Kvyat’s dismissal? Will Verstappen impress at Red Bull? Let us know in the comments below.