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India's Daruvala to have first taste of F1 with McLaren

Jehan Daruvala of India
Jehan Daruvala of India
Image: Peter Fox/Getty Images

Jehan Daruvala will drive a Formula One car for the first time when he tests last year's McLaren at Silverstone this week as part of his bid to become the third Indian to race at the pinnacle of motorsport.

The Red Bull junior driver, third in the Formula Two standings and already qualified for a Formula One super licence, will be behind the wheel on  Wednesday.

“This is nothing related to me getting a drive next year in Formula One,” he told reporters.

“But I have got this opportunity to be in an F1 car and do well and if I do get the opportunity I want to be ready.”

Daruvala is the highest placed Red Bull junior in F2 but is in his third season and progressing up the ladder looks difficult for the 23-year-old.

Red Bull's main F1 team have world champion Max Verstappen and Mexican Sergio Perez on multiyear deals while sister team AlphaTauri have confirmed Frenchman Pierre Gasly for 2023.

Japan's Yuki Tsunoda, a Honda protégé, is also likely to remain.

Last year's Formula Two champion, Australian Oscar Piastri, has yet to secure a race seat but is Alpine reserve driver with the Renault-owned team confident he will be racing somewhere in F1 next season.

India's Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok raced in Formula One at a time when it was easier for those bringing sponsorship to secure a seat.

Daruvala, a 'One in a Billion' find in a competition set up by tycoon Vijay Mallya and the now-defunct Force India team, could be the best his country has produced yet still have less chance of making it.

He told Reuters earlier this year that 2022 was a make or break year and he would not give up on his dream.

“I don’t see why if I win the championship and am the most successful Red Bull junior why I can’t get a seat in the future,” he said.

“Formula One is my dream and even if there is a 5% chance of me going to F1 I will wait for that opportunity.” — Reuters

 

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