It’s hard not to feel sorry for Daniil Kvyat. He was rapidly promoted through the Red Bull system and has just as rapidly dropped back down through it again.

It didn’t look good when it was announced that Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly would be racing in Mexico, and now it looks like he’s finally been pushed off the ladder for good, despite a decent performance in Austin.

Helmut Marko has confirmed that as far as Toro Rosso is concerned, Kvyat is done. Marko told Auto Bild:

“Kvyat will not return again. We do not believe he can make the turnaround in the long term. Gasly and Hartley will finish the season, then we’ll see what happens.”

After getting more chances within the Red Bull programme than most others do, it’ll be interesting to see what the 23-year-old does next. Will he find a drive with another team, or is he done for good? At COTA he was apparently spotted chatting to the folks at Williams…

The other effect of Kvyat being bumped for good is that suddenly, out of nowhere, Brendon Hartley looks like the front-runner to get a full-time seat with Toro Rosso next year.

He was quietly impressive in Austin, and with three more races this year to get to grips with things and learn, it’d take something pretty unusual to see someone else in that seat come 2018. And this is the guy who was dropped from the Red Bull programme in 2010! Maybe that means Kvyat will get another chance in seven years, too?