20 August 2014
F1: Kvyat 'starting from zero' at Spa
Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat admits that a successful history at Spa-Francorchamps will mean little when he makes his first F1 appearance at the Belgian track.
Daniil Kvyat admits that he has good memories of his previous visits to Spa-Francorchamps, but admits that they will count for little when F1 rocks up for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.
The Russian has impressed in his debut F1 campaign but, like Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, does not have the results to show for it. The pair remain outside the top ten of the drivers' standings, with Frenchman Vergne holding the upper hand in terms of points, and Kvyat is determined to address that in the second half of the season.
Having been confirmed for a second year with STR in 2015, when he will be partnered by fellow teen sensation Max Verstappen. Kvyat has already turned his attention to Belgium, but admits that past success in the Ardennes will count for little when the cars leave pit-lane this weekend.
“I have very good memories, as I won here three times, but, once you get to the track, everything starts again from zero and how well you do depends on how good a job you do, starting on Friday morning,” he reasoned, “Spa is a legendary track, I've enjoyed driving there in the past, so I am really looking forward to tackling it in an F1 car for the first time. It is definitely one of my favourites.”
The Renault-powered STR9 has not been the most potent weapon in the F1 field this season, and may not be the ideal car for a track where a powerful engine needs to be combined with the high downforce required in the middle sector, leaving Kvyat among a minority who might be hoping for rain this weekend.
Nearly a month has passed since the last grand prix in Hungary, including the sport's compulsory two-week factory shutdown, but the entire Toro Rosso team is looking forward to getting back to work, none more so than Vergne who, having learned that he will be surplus to requirements next season, has more reason than most to hope that his second half gets off to a successful start.
The Frenchman had a busy break – starting with some simulator work and a demo run with Red Bull Racing in Holland – but is raring to go ahead of one of his favourite events of the year.
“Spa is undoubtedly one of the best circuits on the calendar and I think I'd have to say it's also my favourite track,” he confessed, “I love it for so many different reasons, starting with the track itself. It has that mix of the high speed sections, where you need good engine power and the slower more technical section on the part of the track that links up the two bits from the original old 14 kilometre circuit, and it's always a great weekend.”
Like Kvyat, Vergne insists that he would not object to a little precipitation during the course of the weekend as he attempts to boost his eleven-point tally.
“Of course, this place is famous for its strange weather, with rain at one part of the track and not at another, which is an aspect I actually enjoy,” he confirmed, despite admitting that poor weather had forced him to abandon plans to relax at home in Switzerland during the break.
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