In a huge boost to Indian Motorsport, Red Bull Racing Formula One Team have signed up Jehan Daruvala for their Red Bull Junior Program, paving the way for the country's big racing hope to compete in the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Jehan, who has taken giant strides in the sport since his debut in 2009 as a 10-year-old kid, will race for Carlin, alongside fellow Red Bull Junior Yuki Tsunoda, in his maiden F2 season; it was announced on Friday. His first race is in the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 21st.
The Red Bull Junior program has been instrumental in producing some of the world’s best F1 racers over the years including, four-time World F1 Champion - Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Alex Albon, and many others.
The selection into the Red Bull program is a huge recognition for the young Indian who has consistently performed well at the top of every series he has participated in, culminating in a fantastic season last year where he finished 3rd in the FIA F3 championship.
Jehan had started the season on a strong note with a victory in the first round. A second consecutive victory and more podiums saw him briefly lead the F3 championship around the half way mark. He entered the last round at Sochi in Russia, with an outside chance at the title &minimum second almost assured.
Unfortunately, his car did not start the formation lap of the last race. Forced to start from the pitlane, 29th and last, Jehan drove arguably one of the best races of the season. He charged through the field climbing up from 29th to 9th on track but unfortunately, lost the runner up spot by a mere 1 point.
Jehan began his career with a stellar record in Karting. Soon after attending a program in Mumbai, he started karting in 2009. He went on to win the Micro Max Rookie Cup & National Title in 2010, followed by the Malaysian Junior Yamaha Title in 2011. That was the year he was selected as a member of the Sahara Force India Junior Program.
He went on to become the first Indian to win an FIA title in motorsport, when he won the 2012 CIK FIA Asia Pacific KF3 Championship. He was also the first Indian to win a title in Europe when he was crowned the British Super One KF3 Champion. In 2014, Jehan became the first and only Indian till date to step on the podium of an official FIA World Championship when he finished 3rd in the CIK FIA World Karting Championship.
Jehan stepped up to Formula Racing in 2015, earning multiple podiums in his maiden season in Formula Renault. In 2016 he was runner-up behind Lando Norris in the Toyota Racing Series. Jehan became the first Indian to win an official Grand Prix, when he won the 2017 New Zealand Grand Prix. He moved to the FIA F3 Eurpoean Championship in 2017 & 2018 earning 8 podiums besides finishing 2nd in the Rookie Championship with 26 rookie podiums in 2017.
“After an excellent year for me in FIA F3 in 2019, I hope to carry my form into my first year in F2 with the support of the Red Bull Junior Team and Carlin. There are many experienced F2 drivers and a number of strong rookiesmaking it an exciting grid this year – I’m looking forward to the challenge!” said Jehan.
Trevor Carlin, owner of Carlin Motorsport added “We are delighted to welcome Jehan back to the team for his third season with us. His performance last year in FIA F3 was extremely impressive and we really believe in him. There is no reason why he cannot make it all the way to the top. Without a doubt there will be a lot to learn – both for Jehan as a driver in a more powerful car and also for the team with the new 18-inch wheels but we have a great team ready to meet those challenges “
Jehan is the only Indian to –
- Be on the Podium of an FIA World Championship event in any form of motorsport (He was 2nd runner up of the CIK FIA World Karting Championship)
- Win a British Championship (Winner of the British Superone KF3 Championship)
- Win an official ‘Grand Prix’ – Won the New Zealand Grand Prix in 2017
- To win an FIA Asian Championship (First Indian) (Only winner of the CIK FIA Asia Pacific KF3 Championship)
- Finish in the top 3 of an FIA Championship which is a feeder series to F1 ( 3rd in FIA F3 2019 )
- Earn Pole / Win a race / bag fastest lap in an FIA F3 Championship race
The 2020 FIA F2 season is going to be exciting for Indian Motorsport fans. The grid of 22 drivers has a mix of very experienced F2 drivers and some very fast rookies. The competitiveness of the series is seen from the fact that 13 of the 22 drivers are a part of the junior development program of F1 teams. It is the final frontier from where racers make their way into F1, driving at over 330 kmph on the same weekend as the F1 races.