Jehan Daruvala had an impressive end to his 2020 FIA Formula 2 season, following a slow start last year will be hoping to learn lessons and drive into 2021 like he drove out of 2020.
Jehan Daruvala made history last month by becoming the first Indian to win a Formula 2 race. But Jehan’s maiden season in Formula 2 should be remembered for much more than his victory in the sprint race in Bahrain. It was a season in which he worked on his early struggles to convert them into late-season successes. It was also his first season as a Red Bull Junior Driver.
Jehan remains India’s best Formula 1 hope and following a move to the Red Bull junior programme will hope that he can get the opportunity if he can deliver good form.
Formula 1 has not had an Indian driver since 2021 when Narain Karthikeyan raced with HRT. What makes jehan different from maybe other nations prospects is that there seems to be no other Indian poised to race in Formula 1 for at least another three-five years.
This means not only would it be a significant moment for him and India but the approximate 30+ million Formula 1 fans would have his complete devotion. Making him a prize asset for many commercial partners who would aim to connect with that market.
It was announced recently that Daruvala was to be staying with Carlin for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship.
“I’m extremely excited to be staying in F2 and with Carlin for 2021,” said Daruvala.
“We made a lot of progress last year and overcame some issues to put together a really strong package. It was great to end the season on such a high with my first F2 win and then to back that up with front running pace in post-season testing. We have a lot of momentum behind us and although we know that other drivers and teams will have made steps forward over the winter, we will be aiming for the top step in every race. Consistency will be the key to a successful championship campaign so we need to be on the pace from the start.”
Red Bull supremo Dr Marko echoed as much recently in a press release, “Jehan showed good development during the season. The highlight was a win in the last race. His progress was seen in his racing in general and his start performance.”
Jehan reflected on his 2020 as being in an upward trajectory but singled out one moment that made the difference;
“The biggest moment that changed the course of my season was changing my engine. I had a new engine from the sprint race in Monza. I qualified sixth in Mugello and on the front row in Sochi. I was in the fight for pole in both the races in Bahrain. Such small things make a big difference in Formula 2. In a race, instead of being a car being always attacked you can be the one attacking. You can save tyres a bit more — it changes the course of the race and the season overall,” explained Jehan.
Jehan’s team-mate Yuki Tsunoda was recently announced as the second driver for Alpha Tauri in 2021. Dr Marko explicitly said, “Jehan has to improve his race craft and must be regularly in the top 5 (in 2021) to be eligible to test a Formula 1 car.”
Talking about his own fortunes beyond next year following these comments Jehan stated;
“It’s quite hard to explain, but from my side Red Bull have been very good in promoting drivers without much backing or sponsorship. They see if you are good enough and they promote you to Formula 1. I’m confident that if I deliver in 2021 I should have a good shout for a seat in Formula 1 in 2022,” said Jehan.
In a new format for the 2021 season, the FIA F2 Championship will feature eight race weekends, but will see the weekend schedule expanded to include three rather than two races, taking the season total to 24 races in all. The normal practice and qualifying sessions will remain on Friday, while two Sprint races will form the F2 activity for Saturday, while an hour-long Feature Race will take place on Sunday morning ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The season will kick off in Bahrain from 26 – 28 March.
We look forward to seeing both Formula 2 and Jehan return then.
Let us know your thoughts on our chat and who you think will be his teammate next year via twitter @F2inside.
Image Credit: © Red Bull Content Pool
Source(s): Indian Times / Red Bull Content Pool