(Reuters) - Daniil Kvyat has recovered his mental strength after the Russian Formula One driver’s shock demotion from Red Bull and can score a lot of points for Toro Rosso, according to team principal Franz Tost.
Kvyat, 22, traded places with Max Verstappen last month with the 18-year-old Dutchman going on to become the sport’s youngest ever race winner with victory on his team debut at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“We’ve lost a super talented driver in Max but we got back another driver who is able to perform for us. He will score a lot of points for us,” Tost told the official formula1.com website at the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday.
“At the beginning he was not in the best condition as you can imagine, but we had meetings together, had dinner a couple of times, and I think he has his mental strength back,” added the Austrian.
“In one or two races he has overcome all that and is focused on his new job... obstacles are there to overcome and he will do that.”
Tost could not say whether Kvyat and Spaniard Carlos Sainz, the team’s other driver, would be staying with the team next season since that decision would be made by Red Bull.
He said, however, that he would be happy to retain the current line-up.
“I would not mind keeping what we have. But should one of the two prefer to leave there is only one other option — Pierre Gasly,” he added. “All the other drivers are too young and inexperienced.”
French racer Gasly, 20, is Red Bull’s reserve while also competing in the GP2 support series.
Tost looked forward to 2017 rule changes allowing more synergy with Red Bull Racing on parts and design, along with the switch back to the same Renault engine use by the former champions.
Toro Rosso are currently using a 2015 Ferrari power unit, but Tost said the car and drivers were good enough to compensate for the lack of engine development over the season.
“My hope is that we will frequently finish in the top 10 also in the second part of the season,” he said, targeting fifth place overall.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly