Maini enjoys life in the fast lanes

Life, after he was signed up as a development driver for Haas F1 Team, has been “normal”, Arjun Maini says. The subsequent GP3 win in Barcelona too seems to have done nothing to alter it.

Arjun Maini feels Indian motorsport is on the rise.   -  Special Arrangement

Life, after he was signed up as a development driver for Haas F1 Team, has been “normal”, Arjun Maini says. The subsequent GP3 win in Barcelona too seems to have done nothing to alter it. “Of course it’s a big boost to my confidence but my trainings continue to be normal and I am approaching everyday as I usually do,” he adds.

After touching down in Bengaluru last weekend, the 19-year-old spoke at length on his journey, Karun Chandhok's influence, the Indian motorsport scene and more.

Excerpts…

On the journey from the GP3 paddock to F1 paddock

It’s unbelievable. The difference in everything, the size, the glamour, it’s absolutely unbelievable. I’m not going to lie, it does feel a bit overwhelming. But when you get over it, the racing is still the same. You still go out there to win. Haas wants me to be completely focussed on the GP3 series for now.

On his step-by-step initiation into racing

I am very, very lucky. I’ve had superb support from JK Trye from a young age and with Haas now. Family support has been absolutely incredible and support from Karun Chandhok as well. Everything is pointing in the right direction and I’m much more prepared than Karun and Narain (Karthikeyan) were at this time.

On whether this is a new beginning for Indian motorsports?

I think it’s on the rise. The Indian Grand Prix is not there for a few years. But Indian motorsports is doing really well. If you see the new kids karting in the championships, you can see how impressive it looks. I am happy to show the way along with Jehan Daruvala, to try and make it to the top.

On what more needs to be done

I think it’s the exposure. When I got into it I started off by watching Formula One. That’s what got me into my first go-kart. And unfortunately a lot of Indians don’t have the opportunity that I had from a supportive father who was a driver himself. The opportunities lower down are a lot less. But if you look at the actual talent of the current drivers it’s really, really strong. It just needs to be nurtured in the right way.

Are less tracks a reason?

There are definitely not enough tracks. When I was young we had the Speedzone track in Bangalore and I used to go there every Sunday to drive. That’s how you fall in love with the sport.

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