India’s F2 driver Jehan Daruvala all set for big test with F1 giant McLaren

Mumbai’s Daruvala over the moon as eight-time F1 champs McLaren invite him to test drive their car in UK; believes F1 dream is not far away now

Jehan Daruvala

Mumbai-based F2 driver Jehan Daruvala has taken a giant leap towards realising his childhood dream of becoming a Formula One driver. Daruvala, 23, has got himself a two-day test drive (June 21 and 22 at Silverstone, United Kingdom) with eight-time F1 constructors’ champion McLaren and will be driving their MCL35 that competed in the 2021 F1 World Championship.

The test is part of McLaren’s Testing Previous Car (TPC) programme and is offered to promising drivers who have the potential to break into F1. The track time earned during the test will help Daruvala accumulate enough points to apply for a Super Licence that is needed to compete in F1.

Dadar boy on a high

The Dadar resident aspires to become only the third Indian to race in F1, after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok. Daruvala is part of the Red Bull Junior Programme currently and considers himself extremely fortunate to get the opportunity to test with a rival F1 team.

“It’s been my childhood dream to drive a F1 car and I am finally going to get to do it this week. I’m really looking forward to it. Though this [test] is nothing related to me getting a drive next year in Formula One, it’s an encouraging sign as a going driver. There are 20 seats in the grid in F1 and competition is really intense. This test together with my F2 results will help me in the next step of my career. I want to give it a go at F1,” said Daruvala, who has had a great season in F2 with five podiums in six rounds, placing him third in the standings.

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Speaking at an online interaction from the UK, Daruvala said his only focus right now is F1 and he is looking forward to learning what the engineers at the team teach him about McLaren MCL35 during the programme. 

‘Goal is to learn’

“McLaren’s 2021 car is one of the fastest. My main goal is to learn since I have never driven a Formula One car. As a driver it is tempting to go flat out in the beginning. This test is for me to learn about the car and its characteristics and find its limits. I prepared on the simulator for a couple of days before the testing. I need to listen to the engineers as they have a lot more experience about the car than I do. 

The main thing would be to learn what they are saying and follow the programme. My aim is to win the F2 Championships and hopefully do enough so that my name is out there [to be noticed],” he explained.

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