Daniil Kvyat's winter training. Scuderia Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat's winter break

January 12, 2017

They make 'em tough in Russia and Daniil Kvyat's 2016 proved that, as he fought back from the difficult situation of changing teams partway through the season, to get back to his old self by the end of the year. Which is why, no sooner had he left the Yas Marina paddock after the final race of the year, than he was already focusing on 2017.

"Almost as soon as the 2016 season was over, I was thinking about building up to this year," admitted Scuderia Toro Rosso's Russian driver. "After taking part in a few end of year events, I had some time off, but me and my trainer found time to train even before and during the Christmas period. The work never really stopped."

For that reason, you won't find any stamps from exotic locations in Daniil's passport this winter. "I did all my training in Monaco, which is my base now, because we know where all the best places are for running and so on," he said. "So I felt comfortable there. But I did have a few days off for holiday time in Europe, which was nice. I went on a few road trips with my girlfriend, spending New Year's in Rome and then we skipped down to Florence, Lugano and then back to Monaco to resume training."

At this time of year, Daniil is in regular contact with his engineers in Faenza and he admitted he found it hard to leave them alone over the holiday period. "I'm quite intense with my engineers, so I wanted to give them a bit of time off from myself for Christmas and New Year. But since then, we've been in touch and it's good to know there's a lot of hard work going on in the factory as well. I had a seat fitting earlier on, but I think we will be checking on that, as I've been eating a bit!"

The extra calories are all part of the preparation for driving the 2017 cars, which are expected to be far more physically demanding than the previous years' machines, because of the greater speed and downforce they will produce. "In theory the cars will be much faster and so we should train accordingly and be fit and ready to do a lot of laps during the Barcelona test sessions," confirmed Daniil. "We are preparing for that, doing a little bit more strength work, but it's not too different to last year, we have just increased the volume a little bit, by beginning training in December already, which used to be free time. It's a nice life when it brings results. I'd rather be training than partying, as the end result is I get to drive an F1 car! So it's always a pleasure to work towards good results. When you know you have done your preparation work as well as possible, then you can approach everything in a calm state of mind."

So keen was Kvyat on getting in as much training as possible, that he did not even go home to Russia for the end of year celebrations. "My family and girlfriend all came to spend Christmas in Monaco. They understood I wanted to keep working, so in a way they were all involved in my training programme. That way they got to experience a European Christmas!"