It solely takes about an hour or so to drive from Hammersmith in London to the Silverstone racing circuit—a easy and hassle-free drive that Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala has needed to make previous to the F2 race-weekends this fortnight.
However the journey from the Mumbai suburb of Dadar to the very coronary heart of Grand Prix racing has been a little bit extra convoluted for Daruvala. The 21-year-old, nonetheless, has expertly manoeuvred his life’s journey by the slick lanes and tight bends—and due to this fact placing himself on the cusp of residing out his final dream of changing into an F1 driver.
Right now Daruvala is an F2 driver. And constant podiums in F2 has seen a number of graduations to the head of motorsport within the current previous—Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Lando Norris (McLaren) and George Russell (Williams) amongst others. Whereas Daruvala’s rookie season hasn’t actually gone in line with plan, his profession graph over the previous few years is purpose sufficient to imagine that greater and higher issues at all times lie forward for this Mumbaikar.
Final yr, Daruvala was a part of the F3 circuit, the place he received two races, stepped on to the podium an extra 5 instances, was a title contender for all the season and finally completed third within the drivers’ championship.
All that earned him a seat in System 2—the top-most tier of junior motorsport—with the British outfit Carlin, which had received the groups’ championship in 2018. Considerably, he was additionally picked by System 1 group Purple Bull for its junior programme, which has produced the likes of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and a number of Grand Prix winners Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Nearly immediately, Daruvala impressed in F2 by topping timesheets throughout testing in March. However the season itself hasn’t gone how he’d have appreciated. In 5 race-weekends to this point (together with Saturday), Daruvala has been capable of end within the factors solely thrice and is but to climb atop a podium step.
“It hasn’t been a simple begin to the season,” he says throughout a telephone name from Silverstone. “The pace was there, however in Spherical 1 I bought taken out by my teammate (Yuki Tsunoda) which compromised the weekend. In Spherical 2 I made a mistake preventing for factors. These are errors I shouldn’t be making however you study from that.”
He believes that when his begins enhance, so will his season. “The races have been optimistic when it comes to pace. The place I want to enhance is in my begins. I’m fairly assured that when I enhance my begins, I can combat for podiums as a result of the pace is there.”
Although Daruvala has had a poor begin to the season, failing to attain within the first 4 races (all in Austria), he’s slowly coming into his personal and has been within the factors in three out of the final 5 races (together with Saturday’s characteristic race).
After scoring his first F2 factors— he was sixth within the characteristic race and seventh within the dash race in Hungary—the Indian completed simply exterior the rostrum within the second race in Silverstone final week, gaining eight positions on the finish of the dash race alongside the way in which.
“It feels good. Particularly after two weekends of not scoring. However my goal is to not rating factors. I want a lot better outcomes—like qualifying for the entrance row,” says Daruvala, who idolises two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.
Right now, Daruvala (14th with 18 factors going into Sunday’s dash race) trails his teammate Tsunoda by 29 factors. Earlier than this race weekend, Tsunoda had made the factors simply twice, however on each events he landed up on the rostrum.
“It’s not simple to maneuver up (from F3 to F2) and straightaway get to the entrance. However that’s what we anticipate of ourselves,” says Daruvala, who was one of many solely two drivers to guide final yr’s F3 championship, the opposite being eventual champion Robert Shwartzman. “In F2, vehicles are greater, heavier and you’ve got much more energy. Tyres are rather a lot greater. You need to get used to carbon brakes and it’s a very completely different process to heat them up and maintain them heat throughout races. In the event you don’t maintain the brakes as much as temperature, it impacts efficiency.”
Being picked by an F1 group like Purple Bull for his or her junior programme undoubtedly boosts the profile of a driver. It additionally provides him technical help (engineers and many others.) and places him inside attain of an F1 seat. However with the latter comes huge stress.
“Now that you simply’re a step away from F1, there’s extra stress. There’s additionally stress being a part of the Purple Bull junior group. In the event you can’t ship below stress, you’re not prepared for F1,” he says.
The F1 dream was probably hatched by Power India, whose ‘One in a Billion’ driver hunt in 2011 earned him a spot of their academy. With an F1 group’s backing at an early age, Daruvala received a number of karting collection in India, Asia and later in Europe. Then, in 2013, he grew to become the primary Asian to win the British Championship.
Daruvala instantly progressed to components racing however Power India folded in 2018. The outsider, nonetheless, has realized to outlive.
All by his profession, Daruvala has been racing in opposition to drivers who come from racing royalty—Mick Schumacher (son of Michael), Guiliano Alesi (son of Jean) and Pedro Piquet (son of Nelson and brother of Nelson Jr).
“It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re a Schumacher or Alesi—all of us have the identical alternative to go to F1,” he says.
True. His rivals could also be blessed with hefty surnames in car-racing. But when Daruvala’s journey in motorsport progresses a step additional, he too would’ve earned his proper to change into a family identify.