Daniil Kvyat will race in Formula 1 for Toro Rosso in 2014 in a shock decision by Red Bull.
Kvyat currently sits second in the GP3 Series standings with one round remaining in his rookie season. He will replace Red Bull Racing-bound Daniel Ricciardo as team-mate to Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso line-up.
The news means that Antonio Felix da Costa has been overlooked for the seat. He had been next-in-line in the Red Bull Junior Team after a series of wins in Formula Renault 3.5 at the end of last year, but he has stumbled to third place this year and Red Bull bosses were known to be looking at alternatives.
Kvyat, 19, made his Formula 1 testing debut with an afternoon of running for Toro Rosso at the Young Driver Test at Silverstone in July.
“This is fantastic news, a dream come true and I want to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for giving me this priceless opportunity,” said the Russian youngster .
“Ever since I began karting, I wanted to get to Formula 1 and now that wish will become reality next season. I had a brief taste of working with the Toro Rosso team, when I drove for them at the Silverstone test and I enjoyed the experience very much. The fact I am based in Italy and speak Italian will, I am sure, help me to become part of the team very quickly.”
Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost added: “We are pleased to continue our policy of bringing on drivers from the Red Bull Junior Programme. Daniil is a very talented driver, which can be seen from his results in all the junior categories.
“He impressed our team with a strong performance and very informative technical feedback at the young driver test in Silverstone. This suggests that the basic qualities from which he can progress are all in place. Daniil can be sure that we will use all our experience of training youngsters to give him the best possible start to his Formula 1 career.”
Kvyat began racing cars in Formula BMW in 2010, moving on to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2011 where he finished third in the Eurocup. He improved to second place in 2012 behind Stoffel Vandoorne and also won the Alps championship. This year he has combined his GP3 campaign with one in the FIA F3 European Championship.
He will be joined by a second Russian rookie on the grid next year should Sergey Sirotkin be confirmed with Sauber. The first ever Russian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on 5 October next year.