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Daniil Kvyat's career is certainly not one of gradual growth. Kvyat entered Formula 1 at a young age, and was promoted to a top team after just one year, and was then relegated twice and still came back to Toro Rosso. How will the 25-year-old Russian fare in 2020 if he is allowed to compete for the team now known as Alpha Tauri?
The Red Bull Road
After strong results in karting, it doesn't take long for Red Bull to knock on Daniil Kvyat's door. At the end of 2009, the Russian and Carlos Sainz had the opportunity to show what they are worth during a special event organised by Red Bull and both gentlemen then received a contract.
With Sainz as a constant measure, it took a while before Kvyat could show his talent in other classes as well, but began to slowly improve. Although it was Sainz who won the Eurocup in 2011, Kvyat came in second place. Good enough to stay in the talent programme and meet familiar faces in other classes on the current grid. For example, Stoffel Vandoorne was Kvyat's main competitor during the 2012 season in the Eurocup.
First attempt at Toro Rosso
The GP3 title was taken by Kvyat in 2013 (where the Russian once again rode alongside fellow Red Bull-junior Carlos Sainz) and shortly afterwards Kvyat was allowed to compete in the Toro Rosso. In 2014, it was Daniel Ricciardo who made the switch to Red Bull (where Mark Webber left), giving Kvyat preference over Sainz for the spot next to Jean-Eric Vergne.
The driver duo would only drive together for one year, as Sebastian Vettel moved to Ferrari after 2014. The more experienced Vergne was not chosen and instead, it was Kvyat picked by team boss Christian Horner.
The birth of The Torpedo
The fairly early switch from Kvyat to Red Bull did the Russian little good. In the much more powerful RB11, Kvyat struggled to get good results and was regularly in the wall with his car. Despite the disappointing results, Kvyat managed a better finish than his team mate in front Daniel Ricciardo and the driver duo were also retained for the 2016 season.
The season started badly for Kvyat, but the Russian managed to turn the tide. In Bahrain, he took points by finishing seventh and in China, Kvyat was back on the podium. In his home race in Russia, however, things went wrong in the end and the Russian ended up hitting the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Not once, but twice. Vettel was forced out of the race and Daniel Ricciardo was also damaged by the reckless action of his team mate.
What is initially dismissed as something "that Red Bull will talk about", ends in a demotion of the Russian back to Toro Rosso. Max Verstappen entered the RB12 in Barcelona and won his debut race with Red Bull.
Slipping and getting up again
At Toro Rosso, Kvyat came across as a familiar face, namely his eternal 'partner in crime' Carlos Sainz. At Red Bull's sister team, Kvyat would have the chance to recover for the rest of the season: It's recognized that the promotion came a little too soon. The rest of the 2016 season was smoother for the Russian and Red Bull decided to give him the same seat at Toro Rosso for the 2017 season.
An accumulation of technical faults and driver errors prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix ensured that the boiling point was finally reached: Toro Rosso replaced Kvyat for rookie Pierre Gasly. In the United States, Kvyat would be allowed to get back into the Scuderia Toro Rosso, as Carlos Sainz made the switch to Renault that weekend. Although the Russian took points with Toro Rosso in Austin, Brendon Hartley was designated as a permanent replacement for the departed Sainz.
Towards the end of the 2017 calendar year, Kvyat was thrown out of Red Bull's junior program and made a move to Ferrari. There, the Russian took on the role of test driver and was even allowed to compete in the SF71H during the 2018 season to test the new tyres.
In 2019, Kvyat was conjured out of the hat again when Red Bull training started to dry up more and more. The Russian took his chance and had a solid year at Franz Tost's team. The Torpedo still lives up to its name, witnessed on a few occasions, but Kvyat also took a spectacular podium in Germany’s rain-impacted race.
Daniil Kvyat in 2020
For 2020, Kvyat is again on the grid and this time he will drive for Alpha Tauri. The new name doesn't change anything about the former Toro Rosso and the same goes for the line-up. Kvyat will once again sit next to Pierre Gasly, where the Russian will once again have to show why he still has to be part of the 'junior programme'.
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