MEET DANIIL KVYAT

Russian Formula 1 driver, racing for Scuderia Toro Rosso
The most successful Russian driver in F1 history.

MEET DANIIL KVYAT
Russian Formula 1 driver, racing for Scuderia Toro Rosso
The most successful Russian driver in F1 history.

23
Age
April 26 1994
Birth date
Ufa, Russia
Place of birth
Monaco
Residence
183 cm
Height
68 kg
Weight
Daniil Kvyat was born in Ufa, Russia, on 26th April 1994.

At the age of eight, Daniil moved to Moscow with his parents, where he made his first appearance behind the wheel go karting.

Kvyat started go kart racing on a regular basis, and immediately began to put in strong performances. In the autumn, he had his first professional testing session for racing karts with the Stolitsa Kart team. In January 2005, Kvyat made his professional debut in motorsports winning his very first race in Sochi.
The first thing that stood out was his fantastic feel for the car. He didn't have experience, but he had the will to win, the passion, the desire for victory and a fantastic work rate.

Oleg Guskov, first coach
During the 2005 season, Daniil was already racing in the most prestigious Russian events, as well as competing in Italy, where he raced in tournaments of various levels.

Kvyat's first professional team in Italy was Franco Pellegrini's crew. Daniil participated in competitions abroad with his team in the Mini class.
One of Kvyat's first trips to Italy
One of Kvyat's first trips to Italy.
Source: personal archive
During the winter of 2007, Daniil's family moved to Italy to support his commitment demonstrated by his strong results. The young driver's parents stayed with him alternately, and he started education in Italian school, continuing to race in local tournaments.

Before the start of the 2008 season, Kvyat, who had already proved himself in the Italian karting scene, signed a contract with the Zanardi factory team, led by well-known manager Dino Chiesa. A few years earlier, future Formula 1 champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had raced side by side in Chiesa's MBM team.
We met in the team's office. He was very polite, reserved, but almost the first thing he told me was: "Dino, I know I'll be a Formula 1 driver. So, we have to work together, and the results will come." Those were the words of a 13-year-old boy. All of them dream of Formula 1 at that age, but Daniil was absolutely certain of it.

Dino Chiesa, Zanardi Team Principal
Daniil moved to the KF3 junior category with Chiesa's team and became a participant of the prestigious World Series Karing (WSK) series. However, the Russian driver and Zanardi's partnership did not result in any success. He achieved European Championship qualification but Daniil switched teams just before the championships started, to join privateers from Morsicani Racing, who used an FA Kart chassis.
Kvyat on his way to winning the Bridgestone Cup KF3 in Lonato, 2009.
Kvyat on his way to winning the Bridgestone Cup KF3 in Lonato, 2009.
Source: personal archive
In their very first race, the new partnership produced an excellent result: Daniil, who had tested the new kart of the new team just a couple of days before the start of the championship, not only made it to the finals but was fighting for the win.
Kvyat and Morsicani Racing won several prestigious competitions, including WSK rounds and the Bridgestone Cup. The Russian defeated his Zanardi ex-teammate, Nyck de Vries, who was now a protégé of the McLaren Formula 1 team. Kvyat also won the Trofeo delle Industrie, in the final heat of which Daniil finished ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Rafaele Marchiello, future members of the Ferrari Academy.
Kvyat's European winning streak continued at the beginning of the 2009 season. The Morsicani Racing driver won the prestigious Winter Cup in the KF3 category and then added more victories to his name in the WSK rounds in Sarno and Le-Castellet.

His victory in the Winter Cup was especially outstanding because he made it to the top of the podium after starting from the last position on the grid, where Daniil found himself as a result of a clutch failure in qualifying. Kvyat first made his way into the final heat and then, starting from P3, he won that race, overtaking Carlos Sainz Jr along the way.
Winning the WSK round in Sarno, 2009.
Winning the WSK round in Sarno, 2009.
Source: personal archive
Kvyat became one of the leaders in the WSK series, and began to draw the attention of sponsors. In the spring, he got backing from the Russian Lukoil company. However, the young driver was also noticed by Red Bull.
Head of the Red Bull Junior programme and motorsport consultant Helmuth Marco started following Kvyat. During the summer, Daniil participated in his first testing session in an open-wheel car, arranged by Red Bull.

The young Russian driver was invited to Varano, the home track of the Eurointernational racing team, alongside Carlos Sainz Jr, another candidate for the Red Bull Junior Team. Both drivers made a strong impression and signed contracts with the Austrian company.
Daniil continued to race successfully in karting. He took the bronze at the 2009 European Championships one more time but was unable to reach the finals of the World Cup in Sarno. During the qualifying session slot, chosen for Daniil by the team, it started to rain and his lap time was not fast enough in comparison with the times posted by drivers on the dry track. Improving his situation during the qualifying heats was barely possible, primarily because the team had decided to place their bets on their second driver, Italian Guliano Maria Niceta.

Kvyat decided to part ways with Angelo Morsicani's team after the World Cup and joined the Intrepid factory team. He raced for Intrepid in the last two races of the WSK season, winning the final one. It was the last win of his career in karting as the Red Bull Junior Team bosses decided to progress Kvyat to the next level, straight into the cockpit of the Formula BMW car for the 2010 season.
Last karting win, Lonato, 2009.
Last karting win, Lonato, 2009.
Source: personal archive
His debut season in open-wheel racing was not easy.
Before the start of the European season, Daniil travelled to Malaysia with the Eurointernational team, which prepared cars for both the Red Bull juniors, to race in the Formula BMW Asian Championship, where he won his first race. However, his first races back in Europe were not very successful. Sainz, who had more tests under the belt before his debut in open-wheelers, was the first to deliver a result.
Formula BMW race at Hockenheimring, 2010.
Formula BMW race at Hockenheimring, 2010.
Source: Gregory Heirman
Daniil always relies a bit more on instinct, while Carlos prefers calculation. Of course, Carlos was better-prepared from a technical point of view, Daniil didn't have the same baseline. But in terms of pure speed, they were level from the very start. I'd go even further: when the conditions changed, Daniil immediately edged ahead, thanks to instinct.

Nicola Sgotto, Daniil Kvyat's engineer
However, by mid-season, Daniil had improved his results. In Germany, he qualified in the front row for the first time and after that he finished every race in the points, including the final round in Monza, where he finished in 2nd place, making it to the podium for the first time during his debut European season.

Two weeks later, Kvyat won a race in the Asian Championships in Singapore, a positive ending to his campaign in Formula BMW. The Bavarian company had earlier announced the closing of their open-wheel programme by the end of the 2010 season, so Kvyat could not continue to compete in the series.
Kvyat's strong form at the end of the season was noticed by Red Bull, so they decided to move their protégé to the most prestigious and competitive series at that time: the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.
Kvyat made his debut in this new class in the autumn of 2010, when he raced behind the wheel of the Renault 2.0 car in the last round of the season in Barcelona for Koiranen GP.
Before the start of the 2011 season in Europe, Daniil went for a pre-season boot camp in New Zealand to race in the Toyota Racing Series. He raced in four rounds for the Victory team, scoring several podiums and winning one of the races. Before the last round of the season, which Daniil missed, he was P4 in the drivers' standings.
In the team boxes in the Manfeild Toyota Racing Series round, 2011.
In the team boxes in the Manfeild Toyota Racing Series round, 2011.
Source: personal archive
In the new season, Kvyat had to share the garage with Carlos Sainz Jr again, who had moved to Formula Renault 2.0 just before the start of the season (although initially Red Bull had planned to have their juniors race for different teams).

Kvyat participated in both the Eurocup and NEC, and proved himself as one of the series' favourites from the very beginning of the season. He, Sainz Jr and Robin Frijns collected many wins and podiums, and Daniil ended up in P3 in the Eurocup and runner-up in the NEC.
Daniil dominated in the final rounds of the series, winning five races out of six. Three of those wins were in Monza, where the Russian won all the races that weekend.
Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup race in Nurburgring, 2011.
Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup race in Nurburgring, 2011.
Source: personal archive
Despite strong performances, Helmuth Marco decided to keep Kvyat in Formula Renault 2.0 for a second year, while his teammate Sainz was moved to Formula 3. Daniil remained with Koiranen GP.
In his second season in Formula Renault 2.0, Daniil continued his campaign in the Eurocup and raced for the Alps Cup. Having won half of the races in which he started, Kvyat still had a close battle for the title due to a couple of unlucky weekends, which allowed his rivals to catch up.
Situations like these, when you need to be aggressive, bring out the best in him. He was reacting just a bit faster, but then authoritatively made his intentions clear. He placed his car in such a way as if he was telling his rival: "Mate, do what you like, I'll still go for it, so you best move aside.

Hagen Pischel, Daniil Kvyat's engineer
In the Eurocup, Daniil's main rival was Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne. Vandoorne won four races versus Kvyat's six but he also never finished a single race below P4. Daniil lost precious points at Nürburgring due to a wrong tyre choice by his team, and at Hungaroring after crashing with Oliver Rowland.
Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup race at Moscow Raceway, 2012.
Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup race at Moscow Raceway, 2012.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
The fate of the title was decided in the last round of the championship in Barcelona. Koiranen GP made a wrong call in the mixed conditions and selected wet tyres for Daniil although the circuit was drying up after the rain; most of the other drivers on the grid started on slick tires. Thus, having lost several positions in the last part of the race, Daniil didn't score enough points to secure the title.

In the Alps series, the Russian was fighting with the Frenchman Norman Nato. Barcelona hosted the series finale just a couple of hours after the finish of the Eurocup race. Two title contenders crashed out and, having more overall points in the championship, Kvyat eventually won the title.
In the 2013 season Kvyat found himself as a driver in the MW Arden team in the GP3 series, which was founded by the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team Principal Christian Horner. Carlos Sainz Jr joined Kvyat as a teammate once again, after a mediocre season in Formula 3.

The season start was a real challenge. Struggling to find appropriate settings for the cars, both Kvyat and Sainz failed in the season opener. They managed to catch up with the leaders after a few rounds, once the Arden engineers mastered management of the Pirelli tyres. Daniil scored his first podium in the series at Hungaroring in July, then won the race in Spa in August to decrease the points deficit between him and the leaders in the drivers' standings.
GP3 series round in Valencia, 2013.
GP3 series round in Valencia, 2013.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
Kvyat was very close to scoring maximum possible points at Monza: he took pole position, won the first race and was just one step away from another victory in the second race. Staring from P8, he overtook six opponents to become a runner-up in the race with a minimal gap to the winner.
GP3 race win at Monza, 2013.
GP3 race win at Monza, 2013.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
When it was all going wrong for us in the beginning, he was cheering us up, led the team forward, told us: "All right, guys, we've got a big battle ahead. Yeah, we're struggling now, but we'll be stronger later."

When everyone is a bit down, coming off one tough weekend and then another, the driver plays a key role. It's very important that the driver continues to believe in people, tries to motivate them, tells them: "You can do it, guys."

Daniil aced his role when we were floundering at the start of the championship. He never pointed fingers, never accused. He simply worked, and that was one of the main components of his success that year.


Cyril Blais, Arden GP3 Team Principal
Alongside his GP3 campaign, Daniil was also racing in the European Formula 3 Championship. He won his first race in Zandvoort, after which he was offered a contract as a Formula 1 driver by Helmuth Marco, head of the Red Bull Junior Team.

Kvyat was to substitute Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso cockpit, following his transfer to Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team.

As a part of the preparation for his Formula 1 debut, Daniil participated in several race weekends with the team in the USA and Brazil.
Daniil Kvyat finished his GP3 season with a win in Abu Dhabi, which secured him the title in the series.
In his first season in Formula 1, Kvyat raced with Jean-Eric Vergne, a Frenchman, who had raced for Toro Rosso for two seasons already.

The Russian driver made it into the top ten in qualifying for the opening round of the championship and became the youngest driver ever to score points the next day in the Australian Grand Prix.
Toro Rosso new car presentation before the 2014 Formula 1 season.
Toro Rosso new car presentation before the 2014 Formula 1 season.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
Raw speed, great tough attitude, a star in the making.

Mark Hughes, Formula 1 expert
Having proved himself as a strong driver in one team with Vergne, Kvyat won promotion to the Red Bull Racing team: he was chosen to replace the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in Red Bull's flagship team.
The start of the 2015 campaign with Red Bull Racing was difficult due to issues with the Renault engine. After resolving reliability issues, Daniil and his team began to harvest the points regularly.

Finishing second in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Kvyat scored his maiden podium in Formula 1, thus setting the best result of Russian drivers in the history of the championship.
Kvyat with the cup for 2nd place in the Hungarian Grand Prix, 2015.
Kvyat with the cup for 2nd place in the Hungarian Grand Prix, 2015.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull Racing finished that season in fourth place in Constructors' Championship, while Daniil surpassed his far more experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the Drivers' Championship, making the most overtakes during the season.
The 2016 season start was a challenge again, but Daniil finished in P3 in the third round, bringing home the first podium for Red Bull Racing in the new season.

However, after an incident during the start of his home Grand Prix when Kvyat contacted his teammate and Sebastian Vettel's car, team management decided to demote Daniil back to Toro Rosso.
3rd place in the Chinese Grand Prix, 2016.
3rd place in the Chinese Grand Prix, 2016.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
Daniil spent some time adapting to the team and the new car, and returned to good shape, posting several strong performances in qualifying and races by the end of the season and securing his place in Toro Rosso for 2017.
In his 4th season in Formula 1 Daniil started with Toro Rosso
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
Daniil is racing in F1 not because he's Russian, not because he's a hero of the Red Bull ads. He's racing here because he's a real talent.

David Coulthard, Formula 1 Vice-Champion