Following winter testing, TJ13 reported that the new Russian recruit to the big bull team was under scrutiny. At times, he has a ‘Kimi streak’ and his simulator work was significantly inferior to that of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr.
Danii has had a tough start to the season and maybe been handed an unfair share of Red Bull/Renault’s reliability problems.
Despite his best result of the season last time out in Monaco (P4), Kvyat is under renewed pressure from his old team boss Franz Tost
The team principal of Toro Rosso told Jonathan Noble, “Daniil is a very high-skilled driver and of course I think one or another year at Toro Rosso would have helped him to be best possible way prepared for Red Bull”.
It’s hard not to draw the inference from Tost’s comment that Kvyat was not quite ready for the challenge he faces at Red Bull.
Franz suggests whilst a “high-skilled driver”, the Russian is suffering from a lack of mileage and is therefore struggling to set up the car properly.
“Nevertheless he is doing a reasonable job. It is not a problem of his driving style, his main problem was that he had so many technical failures he was not able to test the car because it was very unreliable”.
However, Tost believes the solution is simple. “I am convinced that if he can do enough laps, if he gets the confidence in the car and set-up and everything he will show a very good performance.”
Whilst the demeanour of Ricciardo and Kvyat may be chalk and cheese, Tost believes they have very similar characteristics. “Both of them are very focused. Both of them are hard workers and, if they get a good car, a competitive car with a competitive power unit, they can win races both of them.”
Kvyat has scored 17 points this year, whilst Max Verstappen has a paltry 6. The possibility of a mid-season driver change at Red Bull has receded for now, given that points on the board are what they need – not a spectacular young driver.
Red Bull are 29 points behind Williams at present and 31 points ahead of 5th place Sauber. So points on the board are crucial to the team and therefore the drivers’ futures.
With Canada up next, a circuit where power becomes important, the Red Bull drivers may have to accept that 4th and 5th in Monaco, is as good as it’s going to get for some while.
Williams should be resurgent in Montreal, and it will be interesting to see the battle of the big and little bulls rejoined. Toro Rosso have been pushing their elders rather hard this year, particularly in the Saturday one lap shootouts.