Toro Rosso appoint Kvyat
In a shock announcement, Toro Rosso have confirmed that Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat will drive alongside Jean-Eric Vergne for the 2014 season.
The 19-year-old, a relative unknown who is a graduate of the Junior Driver programme of parent team Red Bull and tested for Toro Rosso at the Young Driver Test at Silverstone in July, will replace the Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
Kvyat has driven in the GP3 series this season and currently sits second in the standings after an impressive debut season for the MW Arden outfit co-owned by Mark Webber and Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Nevertheless, Ricciardo's vacant seat had been expected to be filled by the highly-rated Antonio Felix da Costa - who also happens to be Kvyat's flat-mate.
'It hurts but its like this, im happy for Daniil and that it stays in the Red Bull Family, enjoy mate Dany Kvyat' tweeted Da Costa in response to Toro Rosso's bombshell news.
Proving that he hadn't lost his sense of humour along with his expected route into F1, Da Costa then posted: "Looking for a new flat mate. Interests please retweet. #keepsmiling'.
While the decision to overlook Da Costa and appoint Kvyat is bound to be perceived as financially motivated, team boss Franz Tost has insisted that the Rome-based youngster was selected on merit.
"Daniil is a very talented driver, which can be seen from his results in all the junior categories," said Tost. "He was a very successful Kart driver and, in 2012 he took the Formula Renault 2.0 Championship title with 7 wins. This year, he competed in six rounds of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, taking one win, five poles and five podiums.
"In addition to this, he is still in a position to win the GP3 Championship, as he is only seven points behind the leader. He impressed our team with a strong performance and very informative technical feedback at the young driver test in Silverstone. This suggests that the basic qualities from which he can progress are all in place. Daniil can be sure that we will use all our experience of training youngsters to give him the best possible start to his Formula 1 career."
Kvyat added: "This is fantastic news, a dream come true and I want to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for giving me this priceless opportunity. Ever since I began karting, I wanted to get to Formula 1 and now that wish will become reality next season. I had a brief taste of working with the Toro Rosso team, when I drove for them at the Silverstone test and I enjoyed the experience very much. The fact I am based in Italy and speak Italian will, I am sure, help me to become part of the team very quickly."
Ahead of this weekend's Indian GP, Toro Rosso are eighth in the Constructors' Championship after scoring 31 points during what has proved to be a difficult campaign for the team.