Scuderia Toro Rosso has announced it has signed Daniil Kvyat for the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship season, ending speculation about his future within the Red Bull fold.
The Russian made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2014 before being promoted to Red Bull Racing 'A team' in 2015, only to be sidestepped back to the sister outfit five rounds in the 2016 season when he was replaced by Max Verstappen.
Raising speculation about his future within the Red Bull fold beyond 2016, Kvyat had been tipped to lose his drive to Red Bull junior and GP2 title contender Pierre Gasly, but Toro Rosso has now ended rumours by confirming Kvyat will stay alongside Carlos Sainz.
"Great news! I'd like to thank Red Bull, Dr. Marko and all the team for their support and the faith they have shown in me since I returned to the team earlier this year. I'm very happy to stay with a team that feels like home to me. I'm really looking forward to continuing the hard work together in 2017 and I'm really aiming high. I will always be fully dedicated, giving my 200 per cent, and I will be pushing as hard as I usually do, that's for sure. I'm delighted!"
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A three-time F1 podium winner, Kvyat's retention comes despite indifferent form since re-joining the Toro Rosso outfit, the 22 year-old scoring just three points in the 13 races. However, with Sainz also struggling for results as the Toro Rosso package fades with its year-old Ferrari engine, team manager Franz Tost feels Kvyat has shown enough to prove he is worthy of a new deal.
"It makes a change to announce our driver line-up relatively early,” he said. “There are so many new elements coming to Formula 1 in general and to our team specifically, in terms of the change of power unit supplier, that having the same two drivers gives us stability and a benchmark to work from.
“For Carlos, it will be his third year with us, which speaks volumes when it comes to how highly we rate him. In recent races, it has been clear that Daniil is back on top form.
“I always told him that his future with us was in his hands and he has stepped up to the mark and delivered the sort of performances that have ensured his 2017 seat in the STR 12. We now have a very talented and strong driver pairing to tackle a season in which we expect to be very competitive."
The announcement also formally confirms Sainz will drive the Renault-powered Toro Rosso STR12 in 2017. The Spaniard was revealed to be staying with the team earlier in the year, but had more recently been linked with a move to Red Bull's engine partners Renault as part of a 'loan' deal tied into its power unit contract.
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