Asked what Kvyat will be doing in 2018, a Ferrari spokesman told Tass news agency: "The role of development driver is normally associated with work in the simulator.
"Main track activities are covered by our other drivers," he added.
Nonetheless, the Kvyat news caught many by surprise, including the pundit for Finnish broadcaster C More, Toni Vilander.
"It will take valuable experience to Ferrari, as he was still a driver last season," he said.
"Perhaps his management thought this was the right solution, even if the simulator does not improve a driver's skills. He should not remain a test driver for long, as every driver's goal is to race," Vilander added.
He wonders if Kvyat might use the role as a launching pad to a Ferrari-linked team like Sauber or Haas.
"In truth, it will be difficult for Daniil, but maybe he can get the support of some sponsors as well," said Vilander.