Another edition of Formula 2 may be getting underway this weekend, but MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala has one eye on his intended future occupation. Throughout 2023, the Indian driver will juggle his F2 duties alongside a test and reserve role for Mahindra Racing in Formula E. Talking to Feeder Series and selected media, Daruvala discussed the aim of a fourth season in F2 and the impact it could have on the next chapter of his career.
By Tyler Foster
It is clear in hindsight that Prema’s underperformance in 2022 restricted Daruvala’s results. The Indian finished seventh in the standings, failing to improve from his previous season with Carlin.
Joining reigning champions MP Motorsport for this year, he hopes to be part of a project capable of winning the title.
“Last year, sadly we just weren’t quick enough with the package that we had. I feel like last year was the best I have drove in my three seasons of Formula 2, and I still didn’t get the result that we wanted. Hopefully I just have a package that can help me show the world what I can do. I believe that I can be the best and win the championship.”
‘I’m here to win’
Despite MP’s excellence over the last 12 months in F2, stepping away from a historically successful team in Prema gives Daruvala one final chance at glory. This switch was the only reason the 24-year-old returned to the series for a fourth year.
Midway through last year when things weren’t going to plan, I pretty much had enough. … I didn’t want to continue doing it.Jehan Daruvala on F2
“It was a pretty hard decision. Midway through last year when things weren’t going to plan, I pretty much had enough,” Daruvala admitted. “I didn’t want to continue doing it. My future lies mainly in Formula E. Either going to America or Japan for one season would not really make a lot of sense. Doing nothing for a year would not make a lot of sense either.
“I had the opportunity to be back in F2 with MP. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t in a top team. I’m here to win and I’ll give my best.”
The addition of Formula E duties with Mahindra to Daruvala’s career plan has created a new path for him beyond Formula 2. While he claims that ‘Formula 1 is still not impossible’ for him to reach, he understands that he would have to win the championship to have any chance. More realistically, a race seat in Formula E seems to be the target, and his F2 performance this season will directly affect his fate.
“They [Mahindra] expect me to be fighting at the front, winning races. I’m only going to get the seat on merit and not because I’m Indian,” Daruvala said.
I’m only going to get the seat on merit and not because I’m IndianJehan Daruvala on a Formula E race seat with Mahindra
“My season didn’t really go to plan last year and it wasn’t the best year. So I kind of had to look at options outside of Formula One, and Formula E was the best for me. Mahindra being an Indian team and me being an Indian driver, I think it was the best-suited combination. It worked well for both of us.
“Obviously, a reserve driver is one thing. I want to be in the race seat soon. I still have to do well in F2; it’s not a given. I have to be fighting for the championship here and earn my seat wherever I go.”
For a driver who claims that he can still fight for the F2 title, it is unknown just how much of an interruption his FE duties may cause to his preparations. How he balances his two roles will certainly play a factor in the outcome of his season.
“I have to combine a bit of both. Obviously, the priority lies in being at all the F2 weekends. But apart from that, I have to be at Mahindra, do correlation, do sim and also be at quite a few of the Formula E events. It’s going to be a busy year for me, but it’s busy in a good way. Hopefully my season does go well and I can be racing in Formula E next year.”
Split with Red Bull
It is easy to forget that Daruvala is no longer a part of the Red Bull Junior Team after the Indian departed the programme following the disappointing 2022 campaign with Prema. Speaking of his time within the academy, he said he was fuelled by the chance to prove them wrong.
“Some relationships come to an end. They didn’t see me in their Formula One seat this year and didn’t really give me any options to be a reserve, so it didn’t really make sense for me to continue in the academy,” Daruvala explained.
They didn’t see me in their Formula 1 seat this year and didn’t really give me any options to be a reserve, so it didn’t really make sense for me to continueJehan Daruvala on splitting with the Red Bull Junior Team
“They still have a huge amount of drivers in Formula 2. It was three good years for me to be part of them. Hopefully, I can make them regret that decision at the end of this year and beat all of the juniors they have in Formula 2.”
Header photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool
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