Indian racer Jehan Daruvala feels 2022 could be the make or break year for his childhood dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver.
The 23-year-old from Mumbai is two rounds away from completing his second season in Formula 2, a stepping stone to Formula 1.
The Red Bull junior driver finished 12th in standings in his rookie season and is currently seventh after impressive outings in Monza and Sochi, where he qualified on the front row.
He wants to do another season in Formula 2 next year to have a crack at Formula 1 in 2023, and for that, he is hoping to retain his seat in the Red Bull junior driver program.
“It’s a hard situation to be in, but you know, realistically, if it’s not 2023, it’s very difficult after that.
“I’ve had two good weekends (in F2), so that will help me (in contention) in terms of being on the market for a good seat and sort of keeping my F2 seat for next year. I hope to get more clarity over that soon,” said Jehan.
Jehan Daruvala wins F2 sprint race in Monza
He will be racing this weekend in Saudi Arabia after a two-month break. Rookie Oscar Piastri is leading the championship.
Asked if a third season in Formula 2 can negatively impact his chances of reaching Formula 1, Jehan said: “I think honestly in Formula 2, there have been a few sensational rookies like Oscar, Charles, Lando (Norris), George but once you are in your second year or third year, you know the difference is a lot less than it is from your first year to a second year.
“You already have had a year of experience, so it doesn’t make too much difference if you’re in your second or third year. If I do end up doing Formula 2 next season, it is again going to be a very hard competitive season,” said Jehan, who has secured four podiums so far in the season, including a win at Monza.
Jehan has not yet explored racing in other series.
“I have not really considered anything else apart from F2 for next year so that my focus remains on Formula 1, but if not, you know, just have a career in motorsport and earning a living there will be a priority,” he said.
Jehan Daruvala: Chasing an F1 dream
Talking about his second season in Formula 2, Jehan said he wanted to be more consistent, considering it was only an eight-round affair this year.
“I started off well in Bahrain, had a couple of bad weekends in Monaco and Silverstone, practically didn’t score in any of them. And I think those two weekends were big setbacks.
“Also, I wasn’t qualifying as well as I wanted to in the first half of the season so it was a big concern in terms of not being as quick as I would have wanted to.
“I always knew that I had the potential, and when I do a good lap, it’s normally always good enough to be in the top four or five.
“So, it was good to turn that form around. Monza and Sochi, qualifying twice on the front row, or be actually on provisional pole both times was definitely a massive step forward for me,” he added.