We will have to wait a bit longer to see the next Indian in Formula 1 (F1) as Vijay Mallya reveals that Force India star student Jehan Daruvala will not get his breakthrough until 2018.
Force India Academy product, Daruvala, caught people’s attention in his debut single seater outing as he clinched three podium finishes in the 2015 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC seriesat the Hockenheim Circuit.
The 17-year old boy promoted himself to formula cars after delivering dependable performances at the karting level.
Despite a bad start from third on the grid that saw him immediately lose a position, by the end of lap one, the Mumbai boy lunged down the inside of Kevin Jorg from two car lengths' behind and managed to make his move stick in spite of locking up his tyres.
Jehan finished fifth overall in the highly competitive series, which saw 43 different drivers perform at various stages of the seven-round series. He stood second in the official Rookie Standings.
Jehan looked comfortable in third place and a brief safety car period resulted in no changes at the top. The race was won by Louis Deletraz ahead of Ukyo Sasahara, securing the last podium spot. It was also his third podium finish of the season.
"He is doing very well. I am confident he will continue to do well. He is getting fitter, he is getting more experience and he will get better over time. He has made us proud so far and I think he will make us even more proud in the future," Mallya told PTI from Austin during the United States Grand Prix that took place over the weekend.
Mallya added: "At the end of the day, it is tough to predict (when Daruvala will drive for Force India). You have to see the experience as the season progresses. Certainly 2016 is too early, 2018 is a more realistic target provided he continues to progress the way we expect him to progress.”
Mallya previously stated that Daruvala will need a minimum of two productive single seater seasons before jumping to F1. The liquor baron has preferred an all foreign driver line-up ever since buying the team in 2007. Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandok, were two options available to Mallya after he bought the team but he decided against it, saying that "he cannot be expected to pick Indian drivers just because he owned a team".