Kvyat reveals he missed out on chance of Ferrari seat

Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver. 05.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Race
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Former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat has revealed that he was in the running for a seat at Ferrari, but that he passed it up in order to stay with Red Bull.

The Russian driver says he was approached by Ferrari early in 2016 with the opportunity to replace Kimi Raikkonen as Sebastian Vettel's team mate at Maranello.

Kvyat had made his F1 debut in Australia in 2014 driving for the Toro Rosso team, the junior partner in the Red Bull stable.

The following season he was promoted to the senior squad after Vettel quit to go to Ferrari. It saw Kvyat racing alongside new team leader Daniel Ricciardo in 2015, and he even finished in P7 narrowly ahead of the Australian in the points

But just four races into the next campaign, Kvyat was abruptly dropped by Red Bull and returned to Toro Rosso in a direct swap with their precocious rising star Max Verstappen.

Kvyat stayed with Toro Rosso until the end of 2017, and returned in 2019. He remained with the team in 2020 when they were rebranded as AlphaTauri, but made his final Grand Prix appearance in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.


But now the 28-year-old has revealed that he had the chance to move to Ferrari in the period just before he lost his Red Bull seat.

“I was performing really well I think,” he told the Track Limits podcast. "I just scored another podium for the team [in China 2016], and then at the time had also a proposal to race for Ferrari to replace Kimi.

"That was going on behind the curtain," he said. "It was a very difficult situation for me mentally to go back from being wanted by Ferrari, having seen the contract.

"Then you get sent back to Toro Rosso suddenly and then you’re like ... It’s not going well," he sighed, admitting that the hit on his self-confidence had contributed to a slide in on-track performance.

He scored only four points at Toro Rosso for the rest of the season. By comparison, Verstappen, went on to win his debut race with the team in Spain after taking over from Kvyat.

After initially cutting his ties with Red Bull, Kvyat did briefly end up at Ferrari in 2018 - but as a reserve driver, not in the full-time line-up. He was also a reserve driver for Alpine in 2021 and had a brief outing in NASCAR.

As for Raikkonen, the Finn remained with Ferrari until the end of 2018, when Charles Leclerc completed his apprenticeship with the Alfa Romeo Sauber team and graduated to the Scuderia alongside Vettel.

Doriane Pin (FRA) / Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) / Daniil Kvyat (RUS) #63 Prema Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson.
17.03.2023. FIA World Endurance Championship, Round 1, 1000 Miles of Sebring, Sebring, Florida, USA.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Price / XPB Images

Kvyat recently made his LMP2 debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Prema which saw him finish in third place. He's now set to take part in a Formula E test with the NIO 333 squad in Berlin next week..

The Race website reported that Kvyat had undergone a seat fitting and spent time in the team’s simulator in preparation for the test. He has previously had talks with Mahindra and Dragon Racing about an opening.

Kvyat's recent career has been hit by the FIA's severe restrictions on Russian drivers, teams and sponsors participation in world motorsport in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine at the start of 2022.

In Formula 1, Haas driver Nikita Mazepin and team sponsors Uralkali were both dropped by the team before the start of last year's campaign as a result of the governing body's sanctions

Kvyat has now decided to race under with an Italian license, and sports 'il Tricolore' on his overalls. He'll be a works prototype driver for Lamborghini's 2024 Hypercar programme for Le Mans alongside Romain Grosjean.

"Kvyat will be at Lamborghini under an Italian racing license to avoid the sanctions against Russian athletes," Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner reported this week.

"He moved from Russia to Italy early in his karting career and he speaks the language fluently," Gruner said, adding that Kvyat was just 11 when he and his family moved to Rome "to cultivate his great passion for racing".

It means that should Kvyat win, the Italian national anthem would be played in podium celebrations. "I grew up in Italy so this commitment makes me particularly proud," said Kvyat. "It's a huge honour."

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