Formula 1

Daniil Kvyat unfazed as he prepares for Red Bull switch

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Daniil Kvyat insists he is undeterred about the challenge in front of him as he moves to Red Bull for 2015.

The 20-year-old had a decent first year in F1 last season managing five points-scoring results in a Toro Rosso that was hampered by an inferior Renault power unit and therefore found it hard to keep up with nearest rivals Force India and McLaren.

Despite ending the season 14 points behind his team-mate and now Formula E driver Jean-Eric Vergne, Red Bull saw enough potential in Kvyat to promote him to the senior team for his second season following the exit of Sebastian Vettel to Ferrari.

A big jump 

While the scale of the task facing the Russian may not be quite as severe as that faced by Daniel Ricciardo when he made the jump up to the then four-time consecutive world champions alongside Vettel who had just dominated the final nine races of the previous season, he does still face a stiff task to meet the expectations and to match his new team-mate who went on to beat the German and become the only non-Mercedes winner of 2014.

But, talking to Autosport, Kvyat claimed he was unfazed about the prospect of going up against the Australian next year.

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"He proved to be a driver of an extremely high level this year," he said, "[but] I will be at Red Bull not to watch him do well, but to do my best and be in front of him and everybody; that's how it's going to be."

"I wouldn't go there if I was scared," he added.

Full of self belief

Indeed Kvyat seems to have full belief in his own abilities - something that should serve him well in the high-pressured world at the top of F1.

"I know what he can do, but I will also do my best and my best isn't that bad," he claimed.

"People outside will look at one thing and draw comparisons, but I am only looking at what makes me go faster.

"I feel absolutely ready. It's a challenge, but it's an opportunity as well."

And as for having to live up to the hype of being the man that replaced Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull, Kvyat has few concerns.

"Vettel had the perfect shot with Red Bull and got four titles; he did a fantastic job," he said.

"What makes me so excited about going to the team is that the history is so big in the team already."

A weaker 'Bull offers margin for error

Certainly there will be a lot of eyes on Kvyat and how he deals with the expectation of being at one of F1's top teams, at just 20 years old he still has a long way to go in his development as a driver but the key thing for him is that he has the backing of Red Bull and you would think they are willing to give him time to maximise his potential.

The fact that the Milton Keynes-based team won't head into 2015 as favourites or even particularly expected to be challenging for wins, given the advantage of Mercedes, does also give Kvyat a slightly easier start to the next phase of his career but solid top eight or top six results will still be seen as the target.

More pressure on Ricciardo?

Going up against Ricciardo is a good thing for the Russian too. While the Aussie no doubt impressed us all in 2014 as to how quickly he settled in and enjoyed the success he did, there was always the thought much of it was because Vettel didn't adjust to the new generation of cars as well as he did.

Therefore, while Ricciardo does set a high benchmark, there is equal pressure on him to firstly prove 2014 wasn't a one-off and to also keep improving himself too, that's why I expect Kvyat to be as much of a threat to his new team-mate as Ricciardo was to Vettel this year.

With the emergence of the next generation comes that lack of fear and maybe even respect for whoever they go up against, drivers like Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas highlighted that with how they beat their more experienced perhaps more highly rated team-mates in such comprehensive fashion and while I don't think Kvyat will do that to Ricciardo in 2015 there is the prospect he can become the top dog at Red Bull within a few years.

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