Mahaveer Raghunathan: Yet another talented starlet shackled by lack of funding
What's the story?
Chennai born Mahaveer Raghunathan is motorcar racer and has won a number of tournaments in the past few years. His previous year's tally includes nine podium finishes in Auto GP and two in Boss GP. His performances earned him the second spot in the Auto GP driver's championship in 2016.
The success at Auto GP and Boss GP caught the eye of F1 teams and he was asked for a test drive. However, like a number of talented Indian sports persons, he does not have the funds to race at the highest level and has little support for him.
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A few months earlier, Arjun Maini was signed by Haas F1 as a development driver. With Maini and Raghunathan taking big steps in their motorsport careers, the future of India in this sport looks bright. However, unlike Arjun, Mahaveer is a first generation driver who hails from a middle class family.
He had been racing until recently without any sponsorship. But, the Italian company Coloni Motor Sports decided to help out the young talent. The hardships haven't shackled him so far though as the 18-year old has made his way up from JK-BMW to MRF 1.6 to Formula 4 to the European F3 Championship and then to Auto GP.
The heart of the matter
The Mylapore lad aims to make it to the big stage of F1 one day, but that’s a massive challenge. A driver can reach the highest level through either Auto GP or GP2. Mahaveer plans to test a GP2 car at Abu Dhabi, and then take a decision over the level he wants to race in.
Around 48.5% of F1 drivers have GP2 experience and thus Mahaveer also wants to give it a shot. However, one has to race for at least two years in GP2 which will further cost his family and the problem of lack of funding will continue. Meanwhile, he continues to get offers from Formula One teams and hopes of someone who could fund his dreams.
Mahaveer will begin the 2017 season with the Auto GP series unless he treads to GP2, starting with a couple of races in the famous Hockenheim circuit on April 3 2018, with the Italian team PS Racing. He is keen to defy the odds and become an F1 driver without splashing a lot of cash.
Mahaveer Raghunathan has made remarkable progress since he only started racing 6 years ago. He has the potential of becoming the third Indian after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok to line up in a Formula 1 car and should get funding by the Government of India.