Jehan Daruvala: Red Bull Junior Team Focus

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Jehan Daruvala Red Bull Junior Team Focus

It’s time to meet Jehan Daruvala. He won the last race of the 2020 F2 season. He’s a Red Bull junior driver and races for Carlin. He raced to 3rd in the F3 Asian championship ready for 2021’s title fight. How much further will Daruvala go?

Jehan Daruvala’s Early Career

Born in Mumbai in 1998, Daruvala was a relatively late starter in motorsport.  He began his karting career at the age of 13 and won several championships over the next three years including the British Super 1 National, the Asia-Pacific, and the Malaysian All-Stars Junior.  He finished his karting career finishing second in the 2014 CIK-FIA World Championship and the German championship.

Daruvala graduated from karts into single-seaters for the 2015 season.  Racing for Fortec in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, Daruvala picked up three podiums and a fastest lap on his way to 5th in the standings behind the all-conquering Deletraz.  Reigning series champions, Josef Kaufmann Racing, signed Daruvala for 2016 where he would finish 4th with a pole and a win.

Jehan Daruvala Karting
Image: Red Bull Junior Team

Jehan Daruvala: F3 Driver

Jehan Daruvala was signed to Carlin to race in European F3 for 2017.  He won a race at Norisring on his way to 6th in the championship but he finished 250 points behind his title-winning teammate and fellow rookie, Lando Norris.  The young Indian remained with Carlin for 2018 with similar levels of success as he raced to 10th at the end of the year.

In a somewhat surprising move for 2019, Jehan Daruvala joined Prema to race in the FIA F3 championship.  It was a strong season for Daruvala as he took two wins and a further five podiums to finish 3rd overall.  But similar to his 2017 Carlin season, he was over 50 points behind his title-winning teammate, Robert Shwartzman.

Daruvala Formula 3 Win
Image: Red Bull Junior Team

Daruvala moves to F2

February 2020 saw Daruvala announced as a Red Bull Junior Team driver.  He was also reunited with Carlin to race in the F2 championship for the season.  With fellow RB Junior Team driver Yuki Tsunoda in the sister car, both Carlins would run in a full Red Bull livery.

It was to be a frustrating season though for Jehan Daruvala.  Yuki Tsunoda was regularly featuring at or near the front, while Daruvala was languishing much further down the field.  His complaints of his engine being down on power were finally confirmed at Spa, halfway through the season. Carlin’s telemetry showed the teammates were super close in the corners but the gaps were significant on the straights.  Following an engine swap at Monza, Daruvala scored points in all but one of the races he finished, took his maiden podium, and a superb win at the Sakhir sprint race.

In preparation for a second F2 season this year with Carlin, Daruvala competed in the F3 Asian championship with the Mumbai Falcons.  Three wins among eight podiums was a successful campaign.

F3 Asia Mumbai Falcons
Image: Ishaan Bhataiya / Red Bull Content Pool

Jehan Daruvala GP Grandstand Prediction:

Let’s look at the positives first: Jehan Daruvala is definitely a quick driver.  He knows how to look after the notoriously difficult Pirelli rubber. He knows how to win. And he can overtake and defend well. But on the negative side, it is hard to ignore that he has been in top seats since 2017 and his results aren’t spectacular when weighed against that.

Daruvala was extremely close to Tsunoda’s pace once he got his engine swap last season.  He showed well in the F3 Asian championship and topped the times for most of the post-season test.  2021, then is a make or break season for Jehan Daruvala.  A top-five championship finish would show he is capable of making the step up to F1.  F1 needs a new Indian driver on the grid and if Daruvala can continue his upward trajectory of performance, then he would deserve his spot on the grid.  Let’s hope that pressure doesn’t crush him.

Embed from Getty Images

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