MP Motorsport driver Jehan Daruvala said he must “prove [himself] somewhere else” after he concludes his four-year FIA Formula 2 Championship career at the end of this season.
In 2023, Daruvala stood on the podium both times in Saudi Arabia and again in the Monaco sprint race, but he has yet to take a victory this year.
His best chance yet at a race win would have come in the Sprint Race at the last round at Spa-Francorchamps, but a loose headrest that flew off the car as he was leading from pole meant that he had to pit and retire the car after just two laps.
As the summer break concludes, Daruvala is 12th in the standings with 53 points – on course for his worst championship placing since his rookie season in 2020. For Daruvala, enjoying the final races is now his principal aim.
“I know it’s going to be my last few races in F2, so [I’m] just going to enjoy myself,” he told InsideF2 from the Zandvoort paddock on Thursday.
“The year hasn’t gone to plan. We’ve been quick at times but just been quite unlucky, honestly. I don’t think I’ve had any luck all year even when things are going well – like last time out in Spa, my headrest flew off.”
Daruvala had a similarly barren stretch from a points perspective this time last year, losing a Feature Race podium in Austria to a post-race penalty and otherwise taking only two points finishes in nine races.
He did say, however, said there was more to his 2023 season than the results show.
“I would say last year was more a general lack of speed. This year, we’ve had speed, but somehow we’ve just not had luck on our side.
“The Feature Races, whatever strategy that I do, the opposite happens in the race and I don’t really score enough. It’s definitely not the year I expected or the year I wanted, but that’s racing. That’s life.”
Life has taken Daruvala far from the F1 dream he held when he entered F2 back in 2020. As many of his peers on the grid jockey for driver academy placements and F1 free practice appearances, the Indian driver is looking elsewhere.
“I pretty much knew already last year,” Daruvala said about not coming back. “I was already thinking about it being my last, but honestly, I didn’t really have too many opportunities outside of F2 this year. There was no point to not have a drive, so I decided to do another year in F2.
“Of course, it’s not worked out as I wanted [it] to, but hopefully I get more opportunities to prove myself somewhere else next year.”
And where might that be, InsideF2 asked?
“My main focus is to go in Formula E. Hopefully the next two to three weeks I’ll know more, but I’m going to try to make sure I land up in Formula E.”
Daruvala has previously been vocal about his desire to move to the all-electric single-seater world championship, in which he currently serves as a test and reserve driver for the Indian Mahindra Racing squad.
A spot had opened up at Mahindra midway through the 2022–23 season when Oliver Rowland parted ways with the team after Monaco, but Roberto Merhi filled the seat while Daruvala was busy competing in F2.
In the meantime, Daruvala may stay involved with MP even once his F2 stint ends. MP run all the cars in Indian F4, a new-for-2023 national Formula 4 series that will provisionally run in November and December, and Daruvala said he received an offer to coach some of the entrants.
“I’m not too involved as of now. I’ve not spoken too much with Sander about it, but he did ask me a few months ago [that] if it does happen, will I go down and coach the drivers and stuff. I said yeah, if I have time and no clashes in my calendar, I will be there.
“It’s good for Indian motorsport, and hopefully we have a lot of drivers taking part in the championship as a success.”
Image: Formula Motorsport Ltd