In a shocking twist of events, Toro Rosso and Red Bull have announced that Russian 19-year-old Daniil Kvyat will partner with Jean Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso in 2014. This announcement comes as a surprise considering the two drivers supposedly ahead of him on the Red Bull development ladder, Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Kvyat has been impressive throughout the 2013 season in both GP3 and European F3, where he has taken wins. Kvyat currently sits second in the GP3 standings with one round to go at Abu Dhabi.
This also means that there will be two Russian drivers on the grid for 2014, with Formula Renault 3.5 driver Sergey Sirotkin set to race with Sauber alongside an unconfirmed teammate. With the Russian Grand Prix slated for a spot towards the end of the 2014 season, it is a great time for motorsport in Russia. There are also rumors that Russian Vitaly Petrov could be on the grid soon. The former Renault and Caterham F1 driver began his career in 2010 with Renault, before taking a maiden career podium in the 2011 season opener in Australia.
This announcement does raise doubts over the career of Antonio Felix da Costa. Going into the 2013 season, da Costa was the form man. He had just taken third place in GP3 and took fourth in the Formula Renault 3.5 standings, despite having raced in less than half the events. Many slated him as the next man for Toro Rosso. A brilliant performance during the Young Drivers’ Test at Silverstone this year backed up these predictions. With money short and his career under Red Bull running out, there may be few options for da Costa.
For now, Russian motorsport is having a renaissance, and the future looks bright for yet another Red Bull prospect.