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Daniil Kvyat Q&A: I want to let my results do the talking

04 Feb 2015

Daniil Kvyat’s career progression has been nothing short of meteoric of late. Just 12 months ago the Russian youngster was preparing for his debut season in F1 racing with Toro Rosso; now he’s settling in at Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement. After completing his first runs in the RB11 during testing at Jerez, Kvyat discussed filling a four-time world champion’s shoes, his preparations for the new season and what it was like to drive a car without a front wing…

Q: Daniil, how was it running without a front wing? A cool experience? (After damaging a front wing on Monday, Kvyat was forced to run without one for the rest of the day)
Daniil Kvyat:
No, not at all. The car is completely different. The downforce is practically gone - and that doesn’t feel cool at all. You feel the front tyres sliding in the corner and you don’t need that.

Q: So what did you do for 18 laps?
DK:
Try to make the best out of it. Checking that the (car’s) systems function as they should - that was basically it.

Q: You’ve moved through the F1 pecking order like a hot knife through butter - from a midfield team to a top team within one year. Can you believe your luck? Without Seb (Vettel) moving to Ferrari your career would have developed significantly differently…
DK:
I don’t believe in luck. This is a result driven environment and if I hadn’t been driving well in 2014 I would not be at Red Bull Racing - even if Sebastian had left. Now I have to react to this situation, as this is the real world of hard facts and not a fairy tale planet where luck is the currency. 

Q: But had he not moved you still would be at Toro Rosso…
DK:
I don’t know. That was never up to me: Sebastian made the decision.

Q: You will take over Seb’s cockpit, but when told that you had big shoes to fill your reply was: “my feet are growing fast.” Have they grown since the announcement?
DK:
They have already grown big - meaning that I had a good preparation over the winter. So let’s get started. I have to compensate for a bad first test day so hopefully I am done with these kinds of glitches for quite a while.

Q: Has your winter preparation been much different from last year? Can you talk us through it? 
DK:
No, I haven’t done anything different. Probably my physical status had to be corrected a bit - but that was already clear in the course of last season. 

Q: Last year at the very same time - the Jerez test - Red Bull had seemingly already lost the championship because of their chronic unreliability. Is the feedback better now?
DK:
If you say that the season was already lost here last year I don’t agree to that. Ending in P2 in the constructors’ doesn’t look too bad to me after such a difficult start. Of course we are aiming for a better result this season - and we will work hard for that. 

Q: At Red Bull Racing results are the religion. Do you think you can do a Daniel Ricciardo and win against the Mercedes?
DK:
After four days of running how would I know? So I don’t like to talk about eventualities - I want to let real results do the talking. I cannot see the future and it is my philosophy not to talk but to do. And the less you talk and the more you show in the season, the better it will look. 

Q: How much do you already know the rest of the team? How’s your relationship with Daniel?
DK:
Daniel and I have known each other for a long time, so we will have a good relationship. We always have something to talk about. And the team? I am getting to know them each and every time a bit more. It is a significantly bigger team than Toro Rosso so it takes time until you know all the faces and the names that come with them. In reality it is not so easy to change the team. Especially when you step up to a big team like Red Bull where the expectations and targets are completely different then at Toro Rosso.

Q: Now, for the first time, Russia has a potential race winner. How often do you go back home and how is your reception there?
DK:
Actually, I go back to Russia quite often, it’s just this winter I’ve stayed in Italy because it is better for my training - it’s simply much warmer. It’s much better for preparation. Of course I get huge support from Russia, and that feels pretty good. But without achieving anything it’s all advanced laurels - now I have to show what I can do. 

Q: Russia had its first Grand Prix last season with lots of fans in attendance. Now with you in a team that will give you the chance to win will the fans flock to the circuit in even greater numbers?
DK:
Ha, I hope so! I know that Russians are very patriotic so hopefully many will come to see me. 

Q: You come across as a very realistic young man. Setting aside the very difficult start of your Red Bull career with a damaged front wing, what are your expectations for your second year in F1?
DK:
Aiming high as a driver. I always want to win. When I started my F1 career last year with Toro Rosso I thought to myself: ‘hey, why not win the championship?’ It was wishful thinking of course, and things became more realistic pretty quickly, so I realised that it is better to take things on a day to day basis and leave the daydreaming to others.