SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian driver Daniil Kvyat has been handed another chance to rescue his Formula One career after Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso named him as Pierre Gasly’s replacement for 2019 on Saturday.
Gasly is moving up to the Red Bull senior team once Australian Daniel Ricciardo leaves for Renault at the end of the year.
Kvyat has had a chequered career to date, the 24-year-old promoted and demoted by Red Bull before being cut loose altogether in 2017.
He has been working with Ferrari as a development driver this year, focusing mainly on simulator work.
“I would like to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for giving me this opportunity to race in Formula One again and I am particularly pleased to be returning to a team I know very well,” he said in a statement.
“Toro Rosso has always made me feel at home and I’m sure it will still be the same next season.”
Second chances are rare in Formula One, let alone third ones, but Red Bull are short of qualified drivers to take Gasly’s place from within their own junior stable.
Britain’s Dan Ticktum, 19, is the most promising but has yet to earn enough points to qualify for a super-licence.
Kvyat made his debut with Toro Rosso in 2014, after winning the GP3 series, and moved up to Red Bull in 2015.
The Russian was then demoted back to Toro Rosso after four races in 2016, making way for Red Bull’s Dutch teenage prodigy Max Verstappen, and dumped before the end of 2017.
“Even if my duties were primarily simulator based, I’ve learnt a lot, and I now feel stronger and better prepared than when I left Toro Rosso,” he said of his time since then.
“I never gave up hope of racing again, I am still young and I have kept in good shape to always be prepared in case another opportunity presented itself.”
Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said he believed Kvyat deserved another chance.
“There were some difficult situations he had to face in the past, but I’m convinced that having had time to mature as a person away from the races will help him show his undeniable capabilities on track,” he said.
“We’ll push very hard to provide him with a good package, and I feel the best is yet to come from his side.”
Toro Rosso’s other driver is Le Mans-winning New Zealander Brendon Hartley, whose future remains uncertain after a run of unconvincing performances.
Germany’s Pascal Wehrlein, a former racer for Manor and Sauber, has been linked to the seat in media speculation and was recently released from his Mercedes contract.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly