New kid on the block

Jehan Daruvala (above, with force India principal Vijay Mallya) wants to make an impact in his first season in singleseater racing with the British team, FORTEC, in the foumula Renault 2.0 North European Cup (NEC).-PTI Jehan Daruvala (above, with force India principal Vijay Mallya) wants to make an impact in his first season in singleseater racing with the British team, FORTEC, in the foumula Renault 2.0 North European Cup (NEC).

“My main aim is to perform well this year, not think of three or four years down the line,” says Jehan Daruvala, who is all set to make his debut in single-seater racing this year. By Y. B. Sarangi.

Jehan Daruvala, 16, holds promise of making it big in motorsport. He has had a dazzling run in karting. From being a National karting champion to winning the British championship — the first Indian to do so — and finishing third in the FIA World Championship, Daruvala has tasted success at the elite level of karting.

The teenager, chosen from ‘One From a Billion’ talent hunt programme conducted by the Formula One team, Sahara Force India, now wants to make an impact in his first season in single-seater racing with the British team, Fortec, in the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup (NEC).

Daruvala, who moved to the Haileybury School in Hertfordshire in the UK two years ago to focus on his studies and pursue his interest in motorsport at the same time, spoke to Sportstar about his dream and what he intends doing to achieve it.

Question: How excited are you about switching to single-seater racing this year? And what are your plans?

Answer: I am very excited. I have driven these cars for a few weeks. It is nice to drive them. I know it is going to be hard, but my aim is to finish in the top three (at the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC).

You being a talented youngster, there are a lot of expectations from you. Does that put you under pressure?

It is good in a way because the pressure will help me perform. It is always good to have some pressure. I perform well when I am under pressure. There is pressure, but I will deal with it pretty well.

How has Force India’s support been all these years?

Force India has done the best for me. They have made me physically fit. At different phases, they put me in the best of teams. This year, I am driving for Fortec, which won the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC in 2012. Once again, they have put me in the best team.

Vijay Mallya, the team principal of Force India, has said that in the next few years you might drive an F1 car. How do you deal with such expectations?

My real target is to perform well this year and get the best possible result. If I perform well, I will get the chance. Main aim is to perform well this year, not think of three or four years down the line.

Single-seater racing demands a lot in terms of physical fitness. What are you doing in this regard?

Nowadays I have been doing a lot of cardio-vascular exercises. I play sport such as football, badminton, cricket and table tennis for one-and-a-half hours; do treadmill for over an hour and half-an-hour of push-ups and pull-ups to enhance muscular strength.

Looking back, what are your best moments in go-karting?

Winning the British championship is my best. And coming third in the FIA World Championship is one of my better achievements.

Do you miss being a regular teenager? How do you manage your studies?

I don’t miss anything. Racing is what I love the most, and whatever I do is for racing. I am studying a lot. I have come down (to Mumbai) for my holidays, but I am studying six-seven hours a day.

Your family support…

My family has supported me very well. They don’t put pressure on me to perform.

Who is your favourite driver, and which is your favourite Formula One team?

Fernando Alonso is my favourite driver. I like the way he drives, with aggression. Force India is my favourite team.