Daniil Kvyat has revealed a sensational behind-the-scenes story from 2015 regarding a conversation he had with Maurizio Arrivabene, who was the Ferrari team principal at the time.
Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat were on the verge of becoming teammates at Ferrari. This is the sensational revelation made by the Russian driver, who, after an excellent debut season with Toro Rosso in 2014, disclosed that he was approached by Maurizio Arrivabene himself, the team principal of Ferrari, at the end of 2015.
The Moscow-born driver, coming off a reasonably satisfying first year at Red Bull, finishing ahead of team leader Daniel Ricciardo, chose to reject Ferrari’s proposal and continue in Milton Keynes. However, the decision turned out to be a total failure for him. Helmut Marko, who had allowed him to enter Formula 1 directly from GP3 and take Sebastian Vettel’s place at Red Bull, decided to sideline him after only four races, demoting him to Toro Rosso to make room for Max Verstappen.
Refusing Ferrari’s offer by Maurizio Arrivabene at the end of 2015
“At the time, it was just about getting in the car and driving,” recalls Daniil Kvyat in an interview with the official Formula 1 website. “During that period, Daniel was at the peak of his performance, I believe. The car was also suited to him, and I had to solve some problems. It was still a solid season with good performances, so I was quite satisfied.” – he pointed out.
“The winter was a bit strange because I was contacted by Ferrari, by Maurizio Arrivabene. They said, ‘We want you to drive for us,’ and we started talking more and more.” – the former F1 driver admitted – “In the end, it was clear that it wouldn’t work because my ties with Red Bull were very strong. We continued in 2016; that year the car improved, but not when I was there at the beginning. Then, of course, the famous team switch…”.
After a disastrous start to the 2016 Formula One championship, culminating in a disastrous retirement at the Russian Grand Prix, Helmut Marko decided to bid farewell to Daniil Kvyat, sending him back to Toro Rosso. His seat was taken by the young Max Verstappen, who, at the first opportunity in a top team, managed to achieve his first career victory in Spain.
According to Daniil Kvyat, however, the Austrian had already intended to get rid of him even before the start of the season: “Helmut told me, ‘We need you to beat Daniel consistently in every race, more or less.'”
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
“I replied, ‘Okay, let’s see, he’s not an idiot, but I’ll do my best like him.’ The first races were tough, but there were clear improvements, like in China. Then there was Sochi, and obviously, they needed it, so that’s how it goes sometimes.” – the Russian believes.
The emotional collapse
Speaking of the demotion to Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat revealed that he heavily suffered the blow psychologically: “The situation became difficult because my motivation was quite low, another car with a different philosophy.”
“Carlos was very hungry and confident with that car, while I, on the contrary, had neither hunger nor confidence. There’s nothing you can do against a hungry Carlos with that mental approach. There were glimpses of decent races, but it wasn’t my best season. In 2017, the approach was slightly better, but it still wasn’t right, and I think we were drifting apart from Red Bull.”
At the end of 2017, the Russian decided to take a sabbatical year, spending a season with Ferrari as a third driver: “It was clear that we needed a break. So, 2018 was the year off, and I became a reserve and test driver for Ferrari. It was nice. I needed it just to eat, train, and sleep, honestly.” In 2019, with Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from Red Bull and Pierre Gasly’s consequent promotion from Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat returned for the third time to Faenza, securing a splendid second place in Germany under the rain.
At the end of 2020, with the outbreak of the pandemic, the newly-formed AlphaTauri decided to bet on Yuki Tsunoda for the following seasons, and Daniil found himself forced to bid a definitive farewell to Formula 1.