Formula 1 drivers often have a bit of a playboy reputation; that they are banal types: car geeks with a soft spot for beautiful women, fast cars and minibars.
Perhaps that’s an outdated opinion when you consider Red Bull driver Danill Kyvat, the Russian on his third ‘odyssey’ with the Austrian drinks manufacturer. This time back with Toro Rosso in 2019 partnering Alexander Albon.
Actually Danill could be considered a good example of an increasingly intellectual generation of driver when we consider Red Bull’s Helmut Marko’s comments on the Russian: “He reads Leo Tolstoy and listens to classical music” reveals Marko during an interview with Germany’s Motorsport Total website.
The 24 year old Russian started at Toro Rosso, promoted to Red Bull Racing, then demoted back to Toro Rosso after Max Verstappen’s entourage and management forced the hand of Marko after a spat of crashes in 2016.
Could Marko have a bit of a soft spot for Kyvat? After all, not many drivers get three go’s at Formula 1!
“Many Russians are very sensitive people, they only rumble outward” continues Marko.
“He had a psychological downhill that had increasingly translated into his driving qualities, and that’s why we split up.”
Many saw Kyvat’s demotion from Red Bull as a surprise, after all he more than held his own in terms of speed with Ricciardo, albeit at the beginning of his partnership with the Australian in 2015.
But in 2016, Ricciardo upped his game and was a good “half second quicker” says Marko, and that this “provoked superfluous crashes”.
Marko is of course referring to the crashes, often with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel during the 2016 season that then gifted Kyvat the nickname: “Torpedo”.
We then saw Danill Kyvat return to Toro Rosso in 2017, Horner calling it ‘a second chance’. But with some disappointing results and the new Honda deal coming at Toro Rosso, the Russian made way for a wholesale driver changes toward the end of the season and was permanently ousted by the Mexican GP.
Now the ‘Torpedeo‘ is back for 2019: “For Toro Rosso in 2019, it was important to us that we have a certain routine with at least one driver, that he can set the direction in the design direction,” says Marko.
The Russian should have it easy however, his new team mate Alexander Albon had already been rejected by the Red Bull junior programme some years ago.
“In the phase when Albon left us, there have been great difficulties in his private sphere,” explains Marko. “which had put down his performance and psyche, but that has changed in the meantime.”
Something Marko fails to acknowledge is the fact that the Red Bull junior programme is somewhat short of drivers right now, and Albon certainly has benefitted from the fact that the next best driver in the system is Dan Ticktum, who is lacking in F1 super license points.