In what has been one of the most competitive seasons of Formula One in recent memory, there still seems to be something missing; there is still no representation of the second largest populated country in the world, India.
Unfortunately, this has been the case since 2011 when Kumar Karthikeyan drove his last race for HRT Racing.
That could be about to change, with the highly talented Carlin Racings 23-year-old Jehan Daruvala of Mumbai, India, who created history in 2020 when he became the first Indian ever to win a Formula Two (F2) race. It was achieved during the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, beating the likes of Mick Schumacher now with Haas to take the prize. Daruvala, a protégé of the Red Bull Racing Junior team, followed up with another win in this season’s 2021 Monza GP with another victory.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with Jehan during a break from racing as he’s preparing for Round 7 of the Formula Two season in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 03-05 December 2021.
Interview with Jehan Daruvala
Good day Jehan. As a young boy growing up in India, what are your earliest racing memories, and what attracted you?
Thank you, my earliest memory of racing in India was at the age of 9 when I participated in the National India Kartin Championship, where I raced in the micro-max category. Its always been my dream to be a Formula One driver. Back home in India, I grew up watching Formula One on my television with my parents and sister, and it always fascinated me, thus fuelling a desire to pursue the sport from a young age.
How do you cope with the pressure of being part of the Red Bull Junior driving program, having seen the success of previous drivers coming through their program?
There’s always pressure when performing at a high level in any sport, but taking it in my stride has been my strength. Being a junior driver of a brand as large as Red Bull has been a massive opportunity for me, and I look at it positively that the pressure that comes with it pushes me to do my best.
You have previously stated that Fernando Alonso was a big inspiration to you. What is it about Alonso that has the most significant impact on you?
Yes, I have always been a big fan of Fernando Alonso. His ability to get the best out of any car at any point and maximize every result is the main reason I’ve always admired him as a driver.
Have you had the opportunity to meet Alonso as yet? If so, how was that experience? If not, what would you say when you get the chance?
No, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Alonso, but if I did, I would let him know that he was my childhood racing idol and one I looked up to as I was growing up.
What would it mean to you to drive in F1?
Honestly, it would be a dream come true to be in Formula One, but I’m not thinking about that for the moment. I focus on the present and try to do the best possible job. The only way is to perform and tick all the boxes I need to go up to Formula One.
What has been your favorite track to race on, and what was it that made the track so special to you?
Spa is my favorite track to race on. It’s a great track with lots of history and very exciting for us race drivers because you have opportunities to overtake, and it rewards you as a driver.
What can we look forward to seeing from you for the remainder of the season?
More wins and podiums would be the aim.
What do you consider to be your most significant achievement?
While I have had quite some milestones during my racing career, and I believe there will be more to come, it feels nice to know that the younger generation from a cricket-loving country like India are inspired to think that it is possible to be competitive on a global platform even in motorsport.
All at Overtime Heroics Motorsport would like to thank Jehan for giving us his time and wish him all the best for the remainder of the season and what we’re sure will be a hugely successful career.
Main Image Credit Jehan Daravula
Image Credit Embed from Getty Image