[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] RUSSIA RISING: KVYAT SET FOR RETURN

Since the dawn of the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship in 1950, drivers from 40 different nations have started a Grand Prix.

But, Russian drivers have only been on the F1 grid since 2010, with just three so far – and none of their careers overlapping… 

The first was the “Vyborg Rocket,” Vitaly Petrov – who had 57 Grand Prix starts from 2010 to 2012 for Renault and Caterham.

Then, in 2014, from Ufa, came Daniil Kvyat, who made his debut for Red Bull B- team Toro Rosso – directly from GP3, after winning the title.

While this year, Moscow-born Sergey Sirotkin joined Williams following several seasons in GP2-turned-Formula 2…  winning races in the sport’s immediate feeder series.

And in 2019, for the first time in F1 history, the sport will likely have at least two Russians on the grid… with Kvyat set to rejoin Toro Rosso.

The now 24-year-old is primed to return after a year with Ferrari as a development driver, following a nightmare tenure with Red Bull that saw his confidence unravel after being promoted and demoted from its top team.

And much like when Fernando Alonso rejoined McLaren in 2015, there’s lots of water to go under the bridge – but with Toro Rosso lacking options, Kvyat is said to have secured the seat. 

His pragmatic approach will likely to protect him against not only the hands-on approach at Red Bull – but his nickname ‘The Torpedo,’ which he earned after punting off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at Sochi in 2016. 

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIIL KVYAT,
F1 DRIVER, 2014-2017:
“You just go there and do your job, improve yourself, [and] just think, focus on yourself and it should be enough.”

An announcement is expected this week in Sochi ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, where he used to have his own grandstand.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIIL KVYAT,
F1 DRIVER, 2014-2017:
“I really like the Russian Grand Prix. It’s a special one for me. And I just enjoy it like any other race - even a bit more because I have so much home support here.”

Should Formula 2 racer Artem Markelov get a seat at Williams, it could mean a trio of Russians at the top in 2019. An exciting thought for local fans as the sport flies into the world’s largest country.