Christian Horner believes Red Bull Racing will have one of the most exciting driver line-ups next season, with the introduction of Daniil Kvyat.
The 20-year-old Russian put in a string of impressive performances in his debut season with Red Bull’s junior squad Toro Rosso.
But Sebastian Vettel’s surprise departure to Ferrari saw Kvyat promoted to the Red Bull Racing team earlier than expected, following in the footsteps of both Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who he will partner in 2015.
“The way he has performed this year has been phenomenal,” said Horner. “Having won the GP3 championship last year and coming in as a rookie with no pre-season testing with the problems the Renault powered teams had, and again he’s been fantastic this year.
“He’s been very quick. I think what gave us real confidence was the performance Daniel Ricciardo has delivered this year. Giving him the opportunity has given us the confidence that you can invest in youth and you can believe and trust in it.
“That’s why we’ve taken Dany Kvyat. I’ve known him obviously since being a member in the Red Bull Junior Team, he drove for my team in GP3 as well, where he won the Championship and his fight back that year from mid-season to the end of the year was truly impressive.”
The departure of Vettel after six seasons at Tilbrook means the team will have distinctly different look next season with Kvyat joining Ricciardo, who himself has only raced for the team for one season.
And unlike in previous seasons when he has had to deal with team-mate rivalries - most notably between Vettel and Mark Webber - Horner expects a smoother time with two drivers who get on well off the track.
He said: “It’s going to be an exciting new dynamic and they are going to be pushing very hard.
“The two drivers get on very well and know each other. They both have a bit of banter outside the car, in the car they are both hungry, no quarter given racing drivers.
“They know they are driving for Red Bull, the brand, the Team and all employees of the ground and with that comes a responsibility.
“I think we’re set for a fantastic season.”
And the Red Bull Team Principal says he has no fears in having Ricciardo step forward to lead the team after just a year.
“I think Daniel has been the sensation of the year to be honest with you,” Horner added. “The way he’s raced, he’s wheel to wheel racing, his speed, his composure in the car, he’s looked like he’s belonged at that level. I think he’s out done all of our expectations and even his own.”