Daniel Ricciardo has suggested that his former team mate Daniil Kvyat might actually benefit by spending a year out of Formula 1.
"I think if Daniil misses a season, it could even do him good," Ricciardo told Russian news agency Tass this week. "He just needs a reboot."
Kvyat made his Formula 1 début with Toro Rosso in 2014. He was promoted to the Red Bull line-up alongside Ricciardo the following season. However, just four races into the 2016 season Kvyat was abruptly demoted back to Toro Rosso in a straight swap with Max Verstappen.
Further doubts about the 23-year-old Russian's future arose this year when he was benched for the Malaysia and Japanese races in favour of Brendon Hartley. The team subsequently confirmed that they were letting him go permanently.
"Kvyat will not return again," Red Bull motorsports consultant Doctor Helmut Marko told Germany's Auto Bild at the time. "We do not believe he can make the turnaround in the long term."
"Unfortunately Dany didn't do enough, in our opinion, to warrant retaining that seat," added Red Bull principal Christian Horner.
The decision left Kvyat without a drive for 2018. Suggestions that he might be picked up by Williams as a replacement for Felipe Massa have also fizzled out. But Ricciardo insists that this doesn't mean the end of the road for Kvyat.
"I am confident that leaving Red Bull will even do him good," Ricciardo suggested.
"He is naturally very talented, which I recognised well when we were teammates. He was often very fast," the Australian added.
"He's also still very young and I think still has a chance to prove himself in Formula One.
Another former Toro Rosso team mate has also spoken out in support of Kvyat.
"I wish him all the best as he deserves to be in Formula 1," said Carlos Sainz, who has since moved on to Renault. "He always pushed me so I hope he gets a new chance.
The Spanish driver added that he didn't know what Kvyat had lined up for 2018.
"I saw Daniil once after Austin but I haven't heard from him since," Sainz told the Russian broadcaster Match TV last week. "I don't know what his plans are."