Newly-hired Toro Rosso driver, Daniil Kvyat, will be driving a Formula One car much sooner than 2014 preseason testing. The Russian teenager, in a bid to obtain the necessary super license to be an F1 driver, will be participating in the first free practice sessions in the penultimate and final rounds of the 2013 calendar.
Kvyat has previous experience driving a F-1 car, but in a much more relaxed setting. The Russian drove 22 laps in the Young Driver test at Silverstone over the summer. He impressed greatly with his speed, but his running was curtailed by a small mistake that sent him into the gravel on his one day of running.
In Austin and Brazil, the pressure will be much more intense as preparations are not only for Kvyat’s personal gain, but are necessary for the team as it tries to claw back points to Sauber in the championship. As a result, Kvyat will have to be at the top of his game to not disappoint. Should the outings prove successful, then the pressure heading into the 2014 season will be even higher as expectations will have risen on the eve of his Formula One debut.
Many have called Red Bull’s decision over Kvyat into question since the surprise announcement over a week ago. Some said that he is far too young and inexperienced to be thrown in such a cutthroat sport without any major preparation. Comparisons have been made to Jenson Button‘s debut in Formula One as the Briton was of a similar age and experience level as Kvyat is now.
The fact of the matter is that in 2000 (the year of Button’s debut), there was unlimited testing, and every driver from every team would be pounding away at tracks all over the world between Grand Prix events in order to be prepared for the next race.
That situation is much different to the one today, where young drivers have virtually no opportunities to drive current Formula One cars for as long as they can. If you’re lucky like Kvyat is, then you get a few free practice sessions in a season before preparing during preseason testing. If you aren’t, then testing is your first real taste of a Formula One car.
Formula One will see the debuts of two teenagers in 2014. To put things in perspective, their combined ages are the same as Mark Webber‘s. Let’s hope that isn’t the detail everyone focuses on next season, or else they won’t have a chance to succeed.