Ruthless Red Bull have axed Daniil Kvyat and promoted 18-year-old Max Verstappen in his place after the Russian caused what team bosses called “a day of disaster” at his home grand prix on Sunday.
Kvyat crashed into Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel twice in the first three corners of the race, ending the German’s afternoon and also damaging his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s vehicle.
That earned the 22-year-old a public rebuke from Red Bull’s feared advisor Helmut Marko and, following crunch talks this week, has now been demoted to the outfit’s feeder team Toro Rosso.
Verstappen, son of ex-racer Jos and the youngest driver ever to compete in Formula One, is to take Kvyat’s place with immediate effect and will make his Red Bull debut at the Spanish Grand Prix on 15 May.
British former world champion Jenson Button accused Red Bull of acting hastily. “Really? One bad race and Kvyat’s dropped, what about the podium the previous race?” the McLaren driver tweeted.
— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) May 5, 2016
Kvyat achieved just two podium finishes in his three seasons in F1 and also clashed with Vettel in China last month, when the four-time champion and former Red Bull star called him “suicidal” and “a madman”.
Vettel then swore profusely over his radio when Kvyat forced him out of the Russian Grand Prix, after which Marko said his driver had caused “a day of disaster for Red Bull”.
Verstappen’s best finish is fourth at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix and the Dutch youngster finished 12th in the drivers’ standings in his debut season – five places behind Kvyat.
“Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent,” said Red Bull principal Christian Horner. “Dany will be able to continue his development at Toro Rosso, in a team that he is familiar with, giving him the chance to regain his form and show his potential.”