Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost says it became “clear” that Daniil Kvyat should stay with the team for 2017 after the Russian driver’s Singapore Grand Prix battle with Max Verstappen.
It’s not often one Formula 1 race can change the fortunes of a driver, let alone save their career in the sport.
But that appears to be what happened to Kvyat last season. He suffered a decent start at Red Bull in 2016 and even scored a podium in China.
However, after a disastrous home race, he was demoted to Toro Rosso and replaced by Verstappen. He struggled to adjust and that produced some disappointing results.
But, remember his great scrap with Verstappen during the Singapore GP? Well, that Marina Bay Street Circuit battle made it clear to Toro Rosso’s team principal that Kvyat should stay.
Tost explained to Motorsport.com that Kvyat’s fight with Verstappen and ninth place in Singapore was a huge boost to his confidence and kicked off a run of improved performances.
“I think that it was generally positive to show that he still has the speed and the car control to fight against Max and also leave him behind.
“For his self-confidence it was very important. The big turnaround was done in Singapore. Where he really showed a good race and qualifying as well. And also afterwards he showed good performance. Therefore for me it was clear that he should continue with us.”
Tost believes that Kvyat’s recovered confidence and good end to 2016 will see him back to his best in F1 2017:
“I was 100% convinced that he could come back [to his best] because he showed in the past that he could do it. In sports in general, you have ups and downs.
“But if a driver or a sportsman in general shows that he can win races and championships, then you know he has in mind all the ingredients he needs to become successful and to be successful.
“Therefore I’m convinced that Daniil is coming back, that he will become successful and I expect a very strong season from him in 2017.”
Toro Rosso announced on Friday that its new car, the STR12, has passed the mandatory FIA crash tests. Expect plenty of headlines about those over the next few weeks…