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Motorsports racing driver Jehan Daruvala on his journey till date and the road ahead

A t2 chat with Mumbai boy Jehan Daruvala on choosing racing and why he wanted to be in Formula E

Saionee Chakraborty | Published 14.05.24, 07:08 AM
Jehan Daruvala is the second Indian to take part in the all-electric series after Karun Chandhok

Jehan Daruvala is the second Indian to take part in the all-electric series after Karun Chandhok

He is only 25 but already has numerous accolades in motorsports racing, including the feat of being the first Indian to win a Formula 2 race during the Sakhir Grand Prix, in 2020. A t2 chat with Mumbai boy Jehan Daruvala on choosing racing and why he wanted to be in Formula E.

You are just 25 and you’ve achieved so much! Congratulations! If we were to rewind, how did it all start for you?


When I was six or seven, I used to watch Formula 1 and other races on TV with my family. I had a huge interest in racing. I used to love speed and like it when my dad used to drive fast or when I used to see a supercar. I always wanted to kart, but never really thought of doing it professionally because I didn’t know where to start even, in India. Once when my dad was flying for work and saw it in the newspaper that there was a karting camp in Powai and that’s where I actually went for the first time, really to kart. And, I did really well. Rayomand Banajee, the in-charge of the camp, asked me if I wanted to join his national go-karting team. When I was 10 years old, my journey started in karting in India. I raced a few years in India and a couple of years in Asia and Europe and then I slowly moved to cars and competed in all sorts of championships and now I am here in Formula E. It’s been a long journey.

Who inspired you the most?

In the sport, since I was young, I used to follow Fernando Alonso, who was my childhood hero. I have always loved his passion and dedication for the sport. He is still going on at the age of 42. I used to love watching him race. In the years when I started Formula 1, he was with Renault. Now, I like to see the youth doing well in F1. I have raced against some of these guys. Lando (Norris) has been my teammate in the past. I would probably support him a bit more now.

Given that motorsports is still a niche sport, what is the scene now?

I think it’s better than a few years ago. It’s still evolving and I do believe it’s still a long way to go. Unfortunately, the level of competition is so high in Europe that most karters in India do just a couple of years in India and then they slowly move out and do Asia or Europe, just because it is not competitive enough. Exposure still has to grow and slowly you need people to sponsor young drivers and allow them to have the opportunity to take motorsports forward. Racing, in the end, is an expensive sport. So, you’ll also need financial help for the sport to grow in India.

What do you think has contributed to your phenomenal growth in just a decade?

I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I have had a lot of great opportunities also in my career. In the beginning, when I was racing in India, I got chosen to be one of the three winners in the Force India One in a Billion Hunt, at that time a big life-changing moment for me. I used to love being at home, with my family, but I had to leave home when I was 13 and move to the UK to a boarding school and study there.

I had huge opportunities when I was with Force India. I was always racing in the best teams and had great fitness coaches and a great mind coach. I worked really hard and put in a lot of sacrifice. I did it for many years. I combined school with my racing and in the end, all my efforts helped me progress and be the driver I am today.

What was your biggest takeaway from Formula 2?

I think I learnt a lot over a period of time, especially the ups and downs of racing. You have many highs and lows in this sport. I gained a lot of experience and have tried to use it as I moved forward in my career in Formula E, but I am a rookie all over again. Formula E is a completely new environment for me, a new car. I am learning a lot of things from scratch.

Why did you think Formula E was a great move at this point in your career?

Since I was young I have always wanted to be a professional racing driver. I decided early on. By the end of 2022, I wanted to be in Formula E. The whole of 2023, I was looking for opportunities to break into Formula E. There are not many opportunities for professional racing drivers nowadays, going out of Formula 2. I wanted to get in here as soon as possible. The level of Formula E is really high. It is a world championship event. There are all the top manufacturers of the world here and the top drivers. There’s no reason why I would not want to be in Formula E.

Does F1 still remain the bull’s-eye?

I have been pretty realistic in the last couple of years. When I was with Red Bull, in the junior team, that time the goal was obviously to be in F1. But now opportunities are super limited in F1. Guys who have been in Formula 2, they don’t end up being in F1. If I wanted to be a professional racing driver, I needed to look elsewhere. Formula E is very interesting. I had an eye on it for the past few years to be honest. I wanted to push myself and my managers to get into Formula E and in the end, it all paid off.

Can you pick three milestone moments of your career?

.... Driving for Maserati in Formula E. I think hearing the Indian National Anthem in a Formula 2 race, the first Indian to win a Formula 2 race and being a part of Force India was a life-changing moment for me, and with Red Bull as well.

Sony Sports Network is the official broadcaster for Formula E in India

Last updated on 14.05.24, 07:19 AM

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