Pierre Gasly is to take over from Daniil Kvyat in the final races of the season, alongside Carlos Sainz. It is another hit for Kvyat, but the team says that he is staying in the Red Bull family, although one wonders why he would want to do that given what has been done to him in recent years.
“Scuderia Toro Rosso was established by Red Bull to bring youngsters from its Junior Programme into Formula 1 and that’s what we are doing by giving Pierre this chance,” says Franz Tost (or his speech writer, at least). “He is the next in line at Red Bull for this opportunity and he has shown that he deserves it, having taken the 2016 GP2 title and this year being very competitive in the Super Formula series in Japan. He really has a valid chance of winning the title, as he is only half a point behind the leader. The driver switch gives us an opportunity to make a more informed decision regarding our 2018 driver choices. For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil Kvyat has not really shown his true potential so far this year, which is why we are standing him down for the next races. This will give us the opportunity to evaluate Pierre on track during a proper race weekend.”
The chances are that Kvyat and Gasly will be with the team next year, as there are no more Red Bull juniors ready to move into F1 and the rest of those in the programme were long ago binned. Honda might like to have a youngster in the team, but none of the Japanese rising stars have a superlicence, although Gasly is in favour in Japan as he has done a good job for Honda in Super Formula this year. He could win the title in the weeks ahead.