Horner: Driver swap wasn’t taken lightly

Red Bull did not drop Daniil Kvyat because of his Russian GP antics, rather it was a decision that was a long time in the making.

Red Bull came in for some criticism after demoting Kvyat back to Toro Rosso in the wake of his crash-marred Russian GP with his Red Bull race-seat going to Max Verstappen.

However, according to team boss Christian Horner, that race had very little sway in the team's decision.

"A discussion arose about bringing Max in and the four cockpit situation… we had the opportunity to shuffle the order," he told reporters at the Barcelona circuit.

"Rather than wait until later in the year, we elected to do it in time for the European season and get Max into a Red Bull and Daniil into a Toro Rosso.

"There’s been a lot more to do with the decision than just one Sunday afternoon.

"As I say, we’re privy to a lot more information. It wasn’t a decision taken lightly."

The team boss also explained that by promoting Verstappen to a Red Bull race-seat, they had effectively put an end to rivals trying to sign their young star.

"Max Verstappen, make no mistake about it, he is one of the hottest properties in Formula 1 at this point in time," he said.

"So it's only natural other teams will be showing interest in a driver that is demonstrating his kind of ability and talent.

"This move also kills off the driver market regarding Red Bull drivers, certainly for the foreseeable future."

As for those calling the decision harsh, Horner has defended the team as he says Kvyat was consistently struggling compared to Daniel Ricciardo.

"Many people will judge it to be harsh or unjust, but I think we’re in the unique position of having four, relatively competitive, cockpits in Formula 1.

"We have a lot of information on the drivers, from junior programs, watching their development in the simulator and in the car, we have a huge amount of data, knowledge, info and all of their testing.

"We came to the conclusion that Daniil has been struggling a bit for form compared to his team-mate… it's been a consistent pattern."

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