Romain Grosjean has labelled the decision to demote Daniil Kvyat from the Red Bull Racing team as 'harsh', but admits it is an ideal opportunity for his replacement Max Verstappen to prove himself.
Eighteen year-old Verstappen will make his Red Bull debut at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, replacing Kvyat – who heads back to Toro Rosso –, the Russian losing favour amongst management after causing an accident last time out in Sochi that ruined his, team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel's races.
However, coming just two races after Kvyat was hailed for his accomplished drive to the podium in the Chinese Grand Prix, though Grosjean accepts this is a great opportunity for the young Dutchman, it is still a 'harsh' move.
“It's a very harsh decision,” the Haas driver said. “He was on the podium in China and then the next race, his home grand prix, he got a bit too excited. Messed up the first two turns. It happens. I think it's harsh on him.
“On the other hand, it gives a very good chance to Max. He's very young and now he is having a seat in a top team. It's a bit Formula 1. You need to get someone's seat to get a good seat.”
For Grosjean, the situation bears hallmarks of the accident he infamously triggered at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, for which the Frenchman was given a one-race ban. However, despite the suspension, the Lotus team remained committed to him for another three years, Grosjean saying the seriousness of his situation prompted him to 'get his s**t together'.
“I was either going back home or getting my shit together. In the end, it's great Toro Rosso and Red Bull has two teams so yes you can swap drivers. Daniil has only had one year in F1 then went straight to Red Bull for a year and then four more grands prix.
“Same with Max, he's only on one year and the four grands prix with Toro Rosso and then he goes to a big team. it's probably different. I think it's Franz [Tost] who says you need three years to be up to and ready to go to a big team. We're all different but it's easier to start in a smaller team then a big team.”