May 7 (GMM) Daniil Kvyat looks set to be given a second chance to shine at Red Bull.
After his meteoric debut at the mere age of 19 for the junior team Toro Rosso last year, the confident Russian was promoted to replace the Ferrari-bound quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel for 2015.
Kvyat’s start at the former championship winning team, however, has been almost as disastrous as it was anonymous.
It has even triggered early rumours that, now just 21, Kvyat could be dispensed at the end of the year to make room for Red Bull’s new teen sensation Max Verstappen.
But team boss Christian Horner says Red Bull-Renault is taking the blame at the moment, also excusing Daniel Ricciardo as the pair struggle so far in 2015.
“Daniel Ricciardo’s still smiling as much as he ever has done and young Kvyat, again, has had a tough hand at the moment, yet is not letting it get to him,” he said.
Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber, meanwhile, also thinks it is too early to write off Kvyat, indicating he thinks the real judgement should wait until later.
He told Sport360 that Australian countryman Ricciardo, however, has already proved his talent.
“You don’t win too many races by fluking them,” said Webber, referring to Ricciardo’s standout season in 2014. “He’s clearly got very good pedigree.
“Daniil, time will tell whether he can operate at that level week in week out towards the end of this year. They (Red Bull) will be back next year,” he predicted.
Red Bull, however, is unveiling a significant upgrade package for Barcelona, reportedly centred around a radically-short nose for the RB11 car.
And Renault is also pushing on, announcing a “modified spec” of its troubled turbo V6 for the Spanish grand prix weekend.
Horner said: “We want to try and make a good step forward over the coming races and try and put Williams, and maybe even Ferrari, under a bit of pressure.”
But Webber thinks the real sights have already been turned to 2016.
“Red Bull want to be fighting for a world championship next year,” he said. “If there’s any positives about having a brutal season, it’s that you can cut your losses and focus on next year’s car.”