India’s Jehan Daruvala secured his fourth win in Formula 2, a maiden victory for him in a feature race at Monza.
The 23-year old Prema driver, who has had a roller-coaster of a season so far, after being amongst the top three contenders at the start of the season to dropping well-off, made his way back to the podium at the ‘Temple of Speed.’
Daruvala bagged 31 points over the double-podium weekend and now has an opportunity to fight for top 3 in the 2022 Formula 2 Championship. Earlier this month, in an exclusive interaction with Express Drives, Jehan spoke at length about life in the fast lane. Here are some excerpts:
You are one of the top drivers in the F2 championship. How does that translate into getting a seat at F1? What are the challenges you have to face?
I think I’ve had a pretty decent season so far. I wanted to fight for the title but unfortunately, the last few rounds, we’ve not been fast enough as a team. And because of that, we dropped too many points in situations where we should have not.
So I’m not there in the title fight. But I think it’s still been a good season, I’ve been very consistent for a lot of podiums. So, at the end, there are not a lot of seats opening next year in Formula One. Therefore, it is difficult to go there. It doesn’t look like any opportunities with Red Bull are gonna be opening up.
Currently, at 5th place in the driver’s championship, would it be an overstatement to say that this year is make or break season for you to enter F1?
Yeah, I think the majority of the season is over now. It’s difficult for me to go into Formula One next year. But, I think with three to four rounds to go, I can still make a statement in Formula 2. So it’s important to finish off well and then I don’t really know what my future has in store.
You recently tested a McLaren F1 car at Silverstone. How has that changed your perspective towards top-tier circuit racing?
It was one of the best experiences of my life. I had a lot of fun over the four days of testing that I did. I felt very comfortable in the car and was close to the limit really quickly. And I felt very comfortable.
I think the main thing is that, physically, I didn’t struggle. I did all the marks both from a performance point of view and physical point of view.
India has hosted F1 races and had Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok compete at top level, but the motorsports scene in the country is still struggling. Where do you think India is lagging behind?
Back in the day, it was relatively easier to get into Formula One. Being an Indian nowadays is not as easy. I’ve probably been the most successful in Jr single seaters, but it still doesn’t seem that easy to get into Formula One. So, definitely, times have changed.
And I think the sport needs to come back to India to grow more. I think it is doing a bit as Formula E is coming to India next year. That’s gonna help the sport overall a bit. But I think Formula One needs to come back and they need to host races in India again to have that extra boost.
Everyone sees and talks about the glamour of motorsports. Could you tell us about the strict regime and discipline you have to follow?
I think the glamour part of the sport is more for the people who come to watch the races and be part of it. For us drivers, it’s very nice to have a sleep schedule, we are on the track from early morning to late night. We don’t get to see the glamorous side of the sport as much obviously, though, we get to drive the cars, which is the most exciting part of it.
But apart from that, at the end of the day, we’re there to do a job and we’re focusing on how to do the best job possible over the weekend. So it requires a lot of focus and a lot of attention and there’s not a lot of glamour in that part of the sport.