Kvyat not disappointed over Albon's Red Bull promotion

Toro Rosso's Russian driver Daniil Kvyat. Image: AFP / Attila Kisbenedek
Toro Rosso's Russian driver Daniil Kvyat. Image: AFP / Attila Kisbenedek
Attila Kisbenedek

Red Bull's surprise decision to promote Alexander Albon left Toro Rosso with not just one, but two puzzled drivers on Thursday ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

The relegation of Pierre Gasly, after half a season, left the Frenchman admitting he felt "stunned" while Daniil Kvyat, overlooked for promotion in favour of Thai rookie Albon, put on a brave face.

'They have their reasons'

He said he understood the team's decision and had no problems with it, but it was clear he felt some surprise at the move that was announced earlier this month.

Kvyat had gained promotion before in 2015 only to be dropped back in 2016 before being dumped entirely in 2017 -- and then regaining a place in the junior team this year.

"I don't have any disappointment or anything," said the Russian. "My job doesn't change and my year has been fantastic.

"I look at that rather than at other things that are a bit more out of my control."

He said he thought he understood the team's decision, adding that "they have their reasons".

The move meant that Red Bull will have tested all the drivers in their 'stable' by the end of this season ahead of making a decision who may partner Max Verstappen next year.

"It's important to keep doing your own thing, as good as you can every race, and try to maximise every race," said Kvyat. "I'm not thinking too deeply about the future right now."

Speaking to reporters in the paddock ahead of this weekend's Belgian race, Gasly admitted he was shocked when he was told of his demotion, just hours before the official announcement was made by the team.

"It was 08:42 in the morning and, yeah, it was kind of a shock that it happened," he said. "It was not what I had been told before Budapest. I think everything was pretty clear and discussed over the last few weeks."

The Frenchman said he was not given a clear reason for his demotion, but wanted to put it out of his mind and give his best for Toro Rosso in the nine remaining races this year.

He was unwilling to discuss the reasons for his demotion, or the performance gap between him and Verstappen, who had out-qualified and out-raced him 11-1 in the opening 12 races, scoring 181 points to his 63.

"I think that that should stay internally, that shouldn't be discussed right now," he said.

"Things could have gone better, but now I think it's no point discussing it and I don't really want to because it's over."

Gasly visited Toro Rosso during the break to have a seat fitting and learn the controls of their car with his engineers.

"In the last seven or eight years, I've never been more than one year in the same team," he said. "You always need to adapt."

Grosjean confident over future 

Romain Grosjean, meanwhile, said that he is confident he will stay in Formula One next season despite speculation that he may lose his seat with Haas.

His contract is due to end this year and several other rival drivers have been linked with the potential vacancy.

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has admitted that he is interested in recruiting German Nico Hulkenberg who is set to leave Renault.

Grosjean said: "Obviously there's one guy that's not going to be on the grid next year, but who is it going to be? I don't know."

He said he was less concerned about his future than he was a year ago after a crash-hit start to the 2018 season.

"This year, yes the season is not great, but I am happy with what I've been doing, I am happy with what I've achieved.

"I've had a terrible year (with results). Six DNFs and none of them are my fault! Reliability hasn't been on my side, the car performance hasn't been on my side either."

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