Team: Toro Rosso Car No.: 26 Races: 15 Wins: 0 Podiums: 0 Best Finish: P9 (Australia and Spain) Pole Positions: 0 Fastest Laps: 0 Points: 5 Championship Position: 19th
Red Bull’s decision to keep Daniil Kvyat on at Formula 1 B-team Toro Rosso for 2017 seemed surprising when it was announced late last year, but it was widely recognized it would constitute a last chance for the Russian.
Following his demotion in 2016, Kvyat had struggled to gather his head and find his form. It was hoped the flashes of brilliance we had seen thus far in his F1 career could become more regular after a winter to collect himself and recover – but things did not go to plan.
Despite runs to ninth place in Australia and Spain in the early part of the season, Kvyat quickly slipped into another rut as he went some four months without points, leading to his dropping after an embarrassing crash in Singapore when a top-10 finish looked likely. It wasn’t even possible to blame his lack of form on the car, for teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. was proving to be a regular fixture in the top 10.
Kvyat was brought back for the United States Grand Prix after Pierre Gasly, his replacement, had to miss the race due to a Super Formula clash. Kvyat ironically put in his best performance of the year in Austin, driving a perfect race to P10, but with Brendon Hartley now in the picture, his days were numbered.
Kvyat’s dismissal from the Red Bull program will now give him the freedom to find his feet in motorsport again and embark on a new challenge. It’s likely that will be found outside of F1 next year.
He may have enjoyed his headline moments, such as in China 2016, but Kvyat ultimately has not been good enough. The standout stat is that under F1’s old points system, he would never have scored a point for Toro Rosso.
And that’s not the top-six scoring points, used up to 2003. That’s under the top eight scoring in the system that was used until 2010…
Season High: A perfect run to 10th in Austin, even if it was too little too late.
Season Low: An embarrassing crash in Singapore when easy points were on the table.
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.