Fri, May 06, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Max Verstappen replaces demoted Kvyat at Red Bull

AP, MILTON KEYNES, England

Red Bull has demoted Russian driver Daniil Kvyat and replaced him with Max Verstappen for the rest of the Formula One season, starting from next week’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The 18-year-old Verstappen’s promotion from feeder team Toro Rosso came after Kvyat twice barged into Sebastian Vettel’s car in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix, knocking him out of the race on the first lap.

“Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent. His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive so far and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing,” team principal Christian Horner said in a statement.

“We are in the unique position to have all four drivers across Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso under long-term contracts with Red Bull, so we have the flexibility to move them between the two teams,” Horner said.

Kvyat was also involved in another incident with Vettel at the Chinese Grand Prix and his demotion to Toro Rosso — where he drove in the 2014 season — appears to be a reprimand.

Vettel spoke with Horner, his team principal when Vettel and Red Bull won four straight drivers’ and constructors’ championships from 2010 to 2013, moments after being shunted off the track at Sochi.

DEVELOPMENT

Kvyat “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,” Horner said.

It is a big blow to the 22-year-old Kvyat, who was signed to replace Vettel when the German left Red Bull to join Ferrari last year.

Kvyat finished a commendable seventh last year, one place ahead of his more illustrious teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, and this season secured an impressive third place in China.

While his talent and his speed are not in doubt, his abrasive, highly risky style of driving has caught the headlines more than his results.

CONFRONTATION

Vettel confronted him angrily after the Chinese race, where Vettel collided with his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen after Kvyat attempted an aggressive overtaking move on the first corner.

Kvyat did not apologize to Vettel, although he did after the Russian incident.

Verstappen, the youngest driver to make his debut in F1 last season, is touted as a future star of the sport and is under contract until the end of next year, with Mercedes and Ferrari both reportedly keen on signing him.

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