Greater Noida, Oct 26 (IANS) Jehan Daruvala, the 15-year-old from Dadar Parsi Colony in Mumbai, is ticking all the right boxes on his way to becoming the next big name in Indian motorsports. The country’s first driver to win a British National Karting title is in no hurry to make it to Formula 1, he wants to stay with karting for at least two more years.
The Force India Academy product was crowned the British KF3 champion at Shenington, England, earlier in the month.
His success has many asking: Will he be the next Indian F1 driver after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok?
Getting to the pinnacle of motorsports needs years of grooming, the way McLaren nurtured Lewis Hamilton.
Daruvala, who has the backing of Vijay Mallya-owned Force India, is not looking too far ahead and will hone his skills at senior level karting in England and Europe.
“I am not thinking of Formula 1 yet, it still looks far off. My life has changed after moving to England and I want to improve my karting,” Daruvala told IANS at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) here Saturday.
The Parsi boy from Mumbai was one of the three drivers picked from Force India’s ‘One in a Billion’ contest aimed at producing the next Indian F1 driver. The other two were dropped while Daruvala has made the most of the opportunity in these two years.
“Life has changed. Karting in India is so different to that in England. The weather is unpredictable there and you are racing against 35 to 40 guys,” said Daruvala, who took to karts five years ago.
He could not have asked for a better coach and mentor than Terry Fulleton, 1973 world champion and Ayrton Senna‘s rival during his karting days.
“It’s just amazing to work with Terry. The feel of how the kart functions in different conditions is one important thing he has taught me, also things like how to race on a wet track with slick tyres or getting the maximum out of wet tyres.”
F1 might be a distant thought, but Daruvala has a clear view of his future.
“Next year, I will be racing against drivers with five to six years of experience. It is going to be a good learning year and I will soon find out how good I am. I need to be a lot more consistent. Race craft is one area I want to keep on improving, speed is another,” said the Fernando Alonso fan.
Daruvala also talked of the time he spent with former Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg.
“He (Nico) had come to the track in Daytona and worked with me for three days. It helped me a lot,” he said of the days when Hulkenberg was with Force India and one of the judges of the ‘One in a Billion’ contest.Published 26 Oct 2013, 20:15 IST