After the summer break, the F1 action has begun again with the Belgian Grand Prix here in Spa. Away from the action, of the top tier of motorsports racing, an Indian stalwart in Jehan Daruwala, born in Mumbai, is gearing up for the Formula 2 action to kickstart its last leg with the fifth race of the season scheduled to be held at Monza – the temple of racing, in September.
Looking to fight for podium space, Jehan has set his intentions alright, “To be honest, I’m just looking forward to being back in the car and I’m pretty confident that I can fight right at the front of the grid, and fight for wins and podiums so honestly, I’m looking forward to Monza. Hopefully, we can get back up there and do what we know we can do.”
Jehan is the only Indian competing in his second season in the FIA Formula 2 Championship as a Red Bull Junior driver. He is also the second runner up in the Asia Formula 3 series this year. Jehan finished the last season with a high, winning the first sprint race at Sakhir, Bahrain. However, currently sitting at 9th place in the points table, Jehan will have to put in some shift if he is to paddle himself up on the list.
Repping Red Bull in the second division, Jehan might not have had the greatest of seasons yet, but at 22, he is a solid contender for a future seat at Red Bull. But like all good things, Jehan might have to wait for his chance, as Sergio Perez signed a year extension contract yesterday, while Max Verstappen is not going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Even Jehan knows the reality, and as a result, he has set attainable goals for himself, like representing teams on the lower end of the F1 ladder.
Speaking to Indian Express, Jehan said, “It is very difficult to pinpoint where I will end up, whether the rest of the season goes to plan or not. To move into F1, you need seats to open up, and currently, AlphaTauri is a realistic opportunity, but I don’t see a seat opening up at the moment. We are three Red Bull Juniors in F2 and right now, our goal is to do the best we can to impress. That’s the most we can do to put pressure on them to put us in a Formula One car.”
While the time is by his side, Jehan has his father to thank for it. In 2009, Jehan’s father Khurshed Daruvala, intrigued by a “Whats Hot” listing on go-karting in Powai, decided to tell his son about the event. After observing the enthusiasm in his kid who was ready to skip the English exam for the camp by stating, “But this is a question of my life’s career, dad!” the parents took him to coach RayomandBanajee for the camp, where he recognised the potential in Jehan.
Rising through the ranks, Jehan has made a mark for himself in the motor world. In 2019, Daruvala competed in the inaugural Formula 3 season for the PremaPowerteam. He won two races. The sprint race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the feature race in France. He scored seven podiums and was in the second position throughout most of the season, but eventually finished third in the championship.
While Jehan has the desired skills to make it to the big leagues, all he needs is a little slice of luck. The F1 teams are stacked, and even joining an F1 team doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. It is cutthroat competition, but Jehan appears to have the work rate to get there. His former Red Bull Junior team partner Yuki Tsunoda has already made the jump to AlphaTauri and it will certainly motivate Jehan to put in the hard yards. A bright prospect for the motorsport world and the Indian community, Jehan is the one to look out for.