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Kvyat joins Alpine F1 as reserve driver

·1-min read
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

LONDON (Reuters) - Russian Daniil Kvyat will be Alpine F1 reserve driver this season, the Renault-owned team said at the online launch of its 2021 Formula One car on Tuesday.

Kvyat lost his race seat at Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri to Japan's Yuki Tsunoda at the end of last season. The 26-year-old also served as Ferrari reserve in 2018 when he was also dropped by Red Bull.

He has made 110 race starts to date, with three podium finishes.

"In a year of pandemic, it is important for us to have a strong back up, and Daniil has proven that he's a very quick and reliable driver under very difficult conditions," said Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

"He has already scored three podiums at the age of 26, so we are very, very happy to have someone who is going to be able to step up if the need arises and score the points, take the car where it should be at the end of the line."

Alpine have Frenchman Esteban Ocon, 24, and Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso, 39, as their race lineup.

Their reserve last year, as the Renault team, was Russian Sergey Sirotkin. Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou will be the test driver.

Six of the 20 Formula One drivers have contracted COVID-19 so far, with three including Mercedes' seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton missing races last season and requiring a replacement.

The 2021 season starts in Bahrain on March 28.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)