Jehan Daruvala completes successful F1 test debut

Jehan Daruvala
Jehan Daruvala is aiming to become the third racer from India to race in Formula 1. Photo: IANS

Mumbai: Young Indian racer Jehan Daruvala made a successful Formula 1 test debut this week with eight-time constructors' winner McLaren and is now eligible for a Super Lience.

The 23-year-old, who is aiming to become the third racer from India to race in Formula 1, drove the Woking-based team's 2021 race-winning challenger - the MCL35M - on Tuesday and Wednesday at Silverstone.

The test was Daruvala's first taste of F1 machinery and he chalked up over 130 laps combined over the two days, over twice the distance F1 drivers will cover during next weekend's British Grand Prix.

The track time helped him earn enough points to apply for a Super Licence, which is needed to compete in Formula 1.

Daruvala, who ran trouble-free on both the days, currently races with Italian team Prema in the Formula 2 championship, the feeder series that sits one step below Formula 1, and is third in the overall standings.

“I really enjoyed my first time driving a Formula One car. I felt immediately at home and while it was physically more demanding than anything I have driven in the past, I didn't have any issues with my fitness,” Daruvala was quoted as saying in a media release on Friday.

According to Daruvala, the experience gave him good understanding of how teams operate on an F1 weekend.

“As a result, we were able to work through the run plan well and complete everything we had mapped out. We did a mixture of high-fuel long runs and as well as shorter, low-fuel runs on different tyre compounds. That gave me a good understanding of how teams operate on an F1 weekend.

“Overall, I'm very pleased with how the two days went, how I coped and the mileage we were able to complete. I felt I was able to push closer to the limit with every lap and I can't wait to drive one of these cars again,” he added.

Daruvala, who remains a part of the Red Bull Junior Team is a three-time F2 winner and has scored 12 podiums in the category, including five top-three finishes from six rounds this season alone.

He is aiming to become the first Indian to win the Formula 2 title this season.

So far, India has had only two drivers in F1 Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.

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