Daniil Kvyat says that he spent his year away from racing in Formula 1 focusing on his mental state after a turbulent couple of years with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, and is confident of impressing when he returns to a seat in 2019.

Having been demoted from Red Bull’s senior team one year earlier, Kvyat was dropped twice mid-season by Toro Rosso in 2017 before leaving the Red Bull programme after his last appearance at the United States Grand Prix.

Kvyat joined Ferrari in a development role for 2018, but was confirmed on Saturday to be returning to Toro Rosso as a race driver in 2019, with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko feeling the Russian had become “far more mature” in his year out.

Marko also said he was sure Kvyat had got on top of the mental challenges he struggled with last year, with his form having nose-dived through his final season with Toro Rosso.

Kvyat said he had spent much of his year out working on his mental state and getting himself in a “good mental window,” giving him plenty to be positive about ahead of his comeback.

Asked if he felt he was in a better place now than 12 months ago, Kvyat said: “Well, talking about better place, it’s hard to say.

“One thing I know for sure is that I’m very positive now, very happy to be back. But you cannot be happy forever. You have to acknowledge there is a lot of work ahead.

“I’ve been working on myself a lot this year. It’s very important I think to be in a good mental window with yourself, and this year, it’s exactly what I was focusing on, even though some days it wasn’t certain that I was going to be coming back.

“Once I knew, I was confident that it was going to be very positive.”

Kvyat also thanked Ferrari for its support and help after his year at Maranello in a reserve and development role. 

“I obviously chose to go to Ferrari as a development driver last year. I’m very pleased with how it went,” Kvyat said.

“Obviously a big thanks to Ferrari and [team principal] Maurizio Arrivabene. They were very supportive to me. They were very helpful.

“I know that my job has been helpful, and it was about development, a lot of things on the simulator, working on the car also during a race weekend, so we were supporting the race team from the factory trying to find the correct setup and optimise the setup how they wanted.

“Usually it’s always worked very well while I was there, and I really enjoyed it to be honest.

“I know it’s not the same as racing, but also it makes me very happy to be racing back in Formula 1.”