Kvyat still thinking about F1: 'If the opportunity would come, why not?
'You don’t turn it down of course'

Kvyat still thinking about F1: 'If the opportunity would come, why not?

19 May - 17:00 Last update: 17:05

Ludo van Denderen

To the general public, Daniil Kvyat has probably fallen off the radar. After years of driving in Formula for Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and AlphaTauri, the Russian currently drives his races in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and possibly Formula E next year. Still, Kvyat has not put a return to F1 out of his mind: "Everything is possible and open, I think."

It feels a bit like going back to basics. At the back of a pit box is a rickety little table, with equally tattered chairs next to it. There is little of glitz and glamour here in the garage; this is motorsport outside Formula 1. This is the new world of Daniil Kvyat, who has taken a seat at that little table. Once a promising talent from the Red Bull Academy, now at 29 seemingly done with F1.

A constant battle

"For a while, to be honest once I was out, for a few months I was feeling fine, and I felt like I had a long stint there", Kvyat reveals during an exclusive interview with GPBlog. "Formula 1 is a constant fight, lot of pressure there as well, in a way, not pressure but a lot of like you said, a lot of observation from the media, lot of travelling. Sometimes, many years in a row there, it’s like not bad to have a bit of break. But now, of course, I realise it’s been a kind of racing, and it’s always cool, cool to be part of Formula 1."

Although the stakes in the WEC and Formula E are also high, it is different from Formula 1. "Of course there is a bit less observation and there is no Netflix camera, this is the big difference, but in the end, here you have to build relationships, be in the right spot, right time."

Breakdown with Verstappen

Looking back, Kvyat was unlucky that one Max Verstappen impressed at Toro Rosso and Red Bull wanted to put the then 18-year-old in the Russian's car. Those moments just before the Spanish Grand Prix proved to be the turning point in the careers of both Verstappen and Kvyat. Verstappen won his first race, while Kvyat's results dwindled. Meanwhile, Verstappen is a two-time champion, and Kvyat is competing in the WEC with PREMA in the LMP2 class for the top prizes.

"I mean I don’t think about it as much," Kvyat says about a possible return to Formula 1. "It’s in the past, but if the opportunity would come, why not? You don’t turn it down of course you know. Sometimes the rookies now maybe they struggle a lot more, people with experience, with that kind experience of pressure in Formula 1, it’s important."

Hulkenberg as an example

With Nico Hulkenberg (35), there is a fine example this season of a driver who celebrated his return to the F1 grid after years on the sidelines. "Exactly" responds Kvyat. "Everything is possible and everything is open, I think. But right now I focus on racing here. But if somebody wants someone with experience already in a lot of teams in Formula 1, yes, it’s open for discussion. But right now, my full focus is here."

Kvyat recently tested NIO's Formula E car. A number of drivers in the WEC combine their work in endurance racing with the electric class. "It is very challenging first time, but the times were competitive, I got quite comfortable with the car straightaway and I think I just wanted to have a taste of it and sense what it’s all about. To get to know the people in that paddock, so that was my main goal."

A contract in Formula E? Kvyat seems to have ears for it. "I mean it’s inevitable that you test and you learn, you meet people. The team for example I drove for, it’s a discussion, I’m open for a discussion of course, and races here usually don’t clash so it could be something, it could be a possibility."

Boarding at Lamborghini

What is certain is that Kvyat will drive a hypercar next season. He has committed to the new Lamborghini project, which has also committed Romain Grosjean. "The project is very very strong, it’s very dedicated, it’s like there is a lot of different people are involved in it, I think it looks great and we are going to do our best to try and make it work very well. It’s true, maybe the road can be rocky. Of course, [It is] always the aim to be trying as high up on the order as possible. You can’t start with mentality that the car simply will be up there. No, we have to be humble, but we are here to do a strong result."