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  Sports   In Other sports  12 Jul 2017  The shining hope for India’s F1 prospects

The shining hope for India’s F1 prospects

THE ASIAN AGE. | IRFAN HAJI
Published : Jul 12, 2017, 12:49 am IST
Updated : Jul 12, 2017, 12:49 am IST

Daruvala wants to finish the championship among the top five and emerge as the best among the rookies.

Daruvala has ambitions to race in F1.
 Daruvala has ambitions to race in F1.

Jehan Daruvala created history earlier this month by becoming the first ever Indian to win a race in the FIA F3 European Championship. The 18-year-old Mumbai-born driver is currently marked fifth overall in the standings at the halfway mark in the ten round championship. He had three podium finishes including top finish in the last race in Germany. Jehan, from the Sahara Force India Academy, who drives for Carlin Motorsports had created history few months back when he secured pole position in the second round in Monza, Italy, and finished second in that race. His second podium came during the Hungary race last month.

He is currently second best among the rookies. Daruvala wants to finish the championship among the top five and emerge as the best among the rookies.

FIA Formula 3 is considered as the toughest junior racing category in the world, having produced some of the best racing talents ever known, including Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

“It was incredible to finish on top of the podium. F3 is probably the toughest series in the world right now, and to win a race shows how competitive I can be. It gives me self-belief and more confidence, and I want to build on this. There are still five rounds left. I will try to win more races and keep the good work going,” he said.

Daruvala has ambitions to race in F1. Post the top podium finish, Naren Karthikeyan praised him by saying that he was by far India’s brightest prospect for making it to F1 and it has motivated him further.

“It means a lot. I have F3 this year and as well as next. I am working on my skills and hope to go higher. Yes, F1 is the ultimate goal, and I have to prepare for that in every aspect,” he added.

The talented teenager celebrated his top podium finish with his community in Dadar during his brief visit to Mumbai.

“My family and the whole community at Dadar Parsee Colony has supported me right from the beginning. I am now based in the UK, and season racing keeps me busy between April to October. Even as I am honing my skills for the better part of my time, I make a point to come here and share my success,” said the former student of Bombay Scottish School, Mahim.

Like many car racers in Mumbai, Daruvala’s tryst with car racing started at the Go Karting track in Powai. “I was nine when I first went for Go Karting in Powai. Rayomand Banajee spotted my talent, and I started racing. No one had raced from my family, but that didn’t stop me. My family has supported me in my passion,” he recalled.

He shifted to UK at the age of 13, and it wasn’t easy for him to live alone. But he saw off the initial tough phase, and his talent is taking him places. In his first year in the FIA F3 European Championship, he showed promise and now wants to be consistent. “This year has been pretty good as a rookie. I am in the top five and will be quite happy to finish 4-5 at the end of the championship. I want to score more wins and be consistent,” he said.

The next round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is scheduled at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium on July 29-30, and Daruvala wants to build on his success. “It is my favourite as it is among the longest tracks and has multiple mix of turns. I just won the last race, so I am confident of taking things as they come,” he said.

Jehan was inducted into the Rising Stars programme of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) last September. BRDC is the most exclusive club in motor racing and is home to the most successful drivers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth.

“I am just a member of the club, but yes, I can get to Silverstone at will,” Jehan concludes with a smile.

Tags: jehan daruvala, fia f3 european championship