By Andre Benson
(BBC) Red Bull have demoted Daniil Kvyat after his calamitous Russian Grand Prix and replaced him with Toro Rosso’s 18-year-old Max Verstappen. Kvyat, who crashed into Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel twice within two corners at his home grand prix, has been dropped to junior team Toro Rosso.
The pair will be in their new positions until the end of the season.
Last year teenager Verstappen became the youngest driver in the history of F1 at the age of 17.
“The next step in my relatively short career so far is an amazing opportunity,” he said, while thanking Red Bull for “the confidence they have me”.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described the Dutch driver as “an outstanding young talent” and said he was “pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing”.
Head of driver development programme Dr Helmut Marko said the move was not a “demotion” for Kvyat.
“We wanted to take him out of the firing line and help his career instead of harming it,” Marko told Auto Bild.
It is a typically ruthless decision from Red Bull, who use Toro Rosso to test out young drivers and then either promote them within two years or dump them.
It raises serious questions over the F1 future of 22-year-old Kvyat, who was described by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner as “the real deal” when he was promoted to replace Vettel in 2015 after just one year at Toro Rosso.
Horner said: “Dany 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.”