Red Bull Racing’s driver lineup will look very different starting with this year’s Spanish Grand Prix, as former Toro Rosso phenom Max Verstappen will replace Daniil Kvyat in the RB12.
The announcement comes after Kvyat’s horrible performance at Sochi, where he crashed into Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel twice within two corners.
The 22-year old Russian driver will return to Toro Rosso, while the 18-year old Max Verstappen will join Daniel Ricciardo over at Red Bull, in what is clearly a better car, despite Renault’s power unit still not equaling Ferrari (Toro Rosso’s engine supplier) in a straight line.
“Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent. His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive so far and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing,” stated team principal Christian Horner. “We are in the unique position to have all four drivers across Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso under long term contracts with Red Bull, so we have the flexibility to move them between the two teams.”
Verstappen went on to acknowledge that a move to Red Bull is an amazing opportunity, thanking the team for “the confidence they have in me.”
As for Kvyat, Horner added that the young Russian will “be able to continue his development at Toro Rosso, in a team that he is familiar with, giving him the chance to regain his form and show his potential.”
Of course, one can’t help but feel this is a demotion as far as Kvyat is concerned, and one that comes after two incidents that were arguably hard to avoid, especially the one in T3 when Vettel lifted off the throttle.
It seems that McLaren-Honda driver Jenson Button feels the same way: