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As Maini endures below-par F2 stint, Haas F1 remain non-committal on his F1 test

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179   //    15 Sep 2018, 22:04 IST

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Arjun Maini

Singapore, Sep 15 (PTI) Young Indian racer Arjun Maini is still nowhere close to testing a Haas car despite being the Formula 1 team's developmental driver since 2017.

Maini has had a forgettable maiden season in Formula 2, which is a step below Formula 1.

The 20-year-old Maini and Jehan Daruvala are the two Indians who are aiming to break into Formula 1. They both are still far from achieving their goal, having not done enough in the junior single seater series to attract attention of Formula 1 teams.

"We still have not defined our plan for testing at the end of the season. That depends a lot on the plans from Pirelli what to do. So, the honest answer is, we don't know yet," Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told PTI when asked about the possibility of Maini getting his much awaited test run.

Though Daruvala, who is into his second Formula 3 season, has done well in patches, Maini has had it rough in Formula 2 with his team, Trident, languishing at the bottom of the standings. With two rounds remaining, the Bangalore-based driver is 16th in the standings with 24 points.

Maini is into his third season in a Formula 1 feeder series, having done Formula 3 and GP3 in the previous two seasons. He had finished ninth in GP3 last year with 72 points and that included a win in the sprint race at Barcelona.

Money plays an important role in Formula 1 but consistent performances in the junior series do help in generating interest among Formula 1 teams.

His mentor and former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok said luck has also played a part in Maini's underwhelming showing.

"It has been a tricky season for Maini. I can think of four weekends when he was in the points but technical issues hurt him. I can understand why Haas has not committed him a test drive yet. They have strong links to Ferrari and have a pool of drivers to choose from for testing," said Chandhok, who is now a popular pundit in the paddock.

"The current standings don't tell you the complete picture. If not for factors beyond his control, Maini would have been higher up the standings. Having said that, things have not gone according to plan. You have to finish in the top three to catch the eyeballs. Hopefully, he can fulfil his potential in the next F2 season," Chandhok added.

Maini's former teammate at Trident, Santino Ferruci, has tested for Haas and remains as a developmental driver with the American outfit despite getting a four race ban in Formula 2 for deliberately colliding into the Indian.

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