Kvyat's STR drive proof that Red Bull still "believes in him"
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has suggested that Daniil Kvyat's continued employment is evidence that the Austrian company has not given up on the Russian.
Kvyat was demoted to Scuderia Toro Rosso from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards, with Max Verstappen taking over the Red Bull seat.
However, while the move was seen as harsh by many, Horner noted that Red Bull's earlier track record with underperforming drivers is something Kvyat can "take solace in", having himself been retained.
"It is a harsh decision and I think you can feel sorry for Dany," Horner conceded. "On one hand, you can say he is not driving a Red Bull racing car - but he is still driving in a competitive car in F1.
"And I think he takes some solace from the fact that any other driver that hasn't succeeded in Red Bull or Toro Rosso hasn't been retained.
"F1 costs Red Bull tens of millions of pounds across the two teams. If we didn't believe in him as a talent, he would not have been retained.
"Putting him into Toro Rosso will enable him to regain his confidence and his form, and be evaluated from there."
A "consistent pattern" between Kvyat and Ricciardo
Horner also insisted that the choice to demote Kvyat was not a decision taken lightly, but that Red Bull gathered, from its data, that the Russian was "struggling".
"Of course, many people will judge it to be harsh or unjust," Horner said. "But I think Red Bull is in a unique position.
"We've got four cockpits in F1 between Red Bull and Toro Rosso, at the moment they are four relatively competitive cockpits. We have an awful lot of information about the drivers having come through the junior programme, we see how they develop on the simulator, we analyse their performance in the car, we have and generate a huge amount of data, knowledge and information.
"We came to the conclusion that Daniil has been struggling a little bit for form compared to his teammate and there has been a consistent pattern there.
"And the discussion arose about Max."
While a decision to reshuffle the line-up just four races into the season can be seen as rushed, Horner says Red Bull decided it had little reason to wait.
"We could have waited until after the test at Silverstone, we could wait until later in the year but we elected, if we are going to do it, let's do it for the start of the European season."
Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble
Bite-size tech: Mercedes W07 front wing
Daniil Kvyat on Red Bull seat swap: "sometimes what you do on track is not enough in Formula 1"