Helmut Marko: Daniil Kvyat seat change is not a demotion

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Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says Daniil Kvyat's move to Toro Rosso is to help the Russian revive his career "out of the firing line".

On Thursday Red Bull made the surprise announcement Max Verstappen would be stepping up from Toro Rosso in a straight swap with Kvyat, effective immediately. It came after Kvyat collided twice with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in Sochi and jeopardised teammate Daniel Ricciardo's race, something Marko labelled Red Bull's "day of disaster".

Kvyat had scored a podium just a race earlier at the Chinese Grand Prix but has struggled for consistent form in the RB12, with Ricciardo leading the qualifying head-to-head 4-0. That podium had only come after Ricciardo suffered a podium early in the race, with the Australian recovering from last position to finish just six seconds behind his teammate in fourth.

Marko thinks the pressure from Ricciardo has caused Kvyat to overdrive the car and thinks he would benefit from a period of races out of the spotlight.

"The decision came only after Russia," Marko told Autobild. "It has emerged more and more that Daniil was no match to the pressure from Daniel Ricciardo and was constantly overdriving the car. We wanted to take him out of the firing line and help his career instead of harming it.

Marko denies a switch to Toro Rosso is a demotion as the junior team has also enjoyed competitive form this season.

"Kvyat has seen both halves. I do not see this as a demotion. The Toro Rosso is at a very good level this year."

The switch is effective immediately so will see Verstappen make his Red Bull debut at the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend. Kvyat returns to the team he drove for during his rookie campaign in 2014.