Malaysian GP 2017: Pierre Gasly to replace Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso
After months of speculation about Sainz replacing Palmer at Renault during the season to make space for Gasly, it’s now Kvyat who gives his cockpit to the GP2 champion.
Toro Rosso today confirmed that Pierre Gasly will replace Daniil Kvyat alongside Carlos Sainz from the Malaysian Grand Prix onwards. The Frenchman is expected to race for the Faenza outfit at least until the Japanese Grand Prix to give the team time to evaluate him for a possible seat in 2018.
Gasly is highly motivated after finally making it to Formula 1: “I feel as ready as I can be, having had to be prepared for anything in my role as Red Bull Racing’s third driver this year. I will do my best to perform well with Scuderia Toro Rosso during these coming races.”
Since Gasly is currently fighting for the championship in the Super Formula series in Japan he, therefore, most likely won’t participate at the US Grand Prix in Austin where Kvyat could return to the cockpit. What happens after that though has yet to be confirmed.
That Pierre Gasly would make his F1 debut this season has been a topic of discussion for at least the last year, where he originally hoped he could go straight to Formula 1 after winning the GP2 championship. A low-performing Kvyat after the cockpit switch from Red Bull Racing back to Toro Rosso seemed to spell the end for the Russian. However, Red Bull believed in Kvyat coming back to his real strength and confirmed the same Toro Rosso line-up for 2017 quite early, leaving the Frenchman disappointed.
After strong performances in this year’s Super Formula, a drive at Toro Rosso became more and more obvious. With Carlos Sainz’s switch to Renault, a seat needed to be filled, and if Palmer had accepted the reported offer to leave Renault after the Singapore GP, Gasly probably would have driven alongside Kvyat from this weekend.
As Palmer still wants to finish his season with Renault, Red Bull decided to let Daniil Kvyat sit out a few races to give Gasly the chance to show his potential during a grand prix weekend.
Toro Rosso explains the situation with Daniil Kvyat as follows: “For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil Kvyat has not really shown his true potential so far this year, which is why we are standing him down for the next races.”
The Russian has scored only four points this season while teammate Carlos Sainz has 48 on the board. The race in Singapore probably triggered the swap even more, as Kvyat crashed and caused a safety car deployment, while Sainz achieved with his career-best result with an excellent fourth.
Now it will be interesting to see how well Gasly can compete against Sainz and which driver line-up Toro Rosso will go with in 2018. The new partnership with Honda could even make a debut possible for GP2 driver Nobuharu Matsushita, who already did a test with Sauber in Hungary this summer.