Jehan Daruvala: Finding a Formula for electric racing success

Daruvala moved to Formula E after spending four years in the F1 feeder series Formula 2, where he was a part of the Red Bull junior team

Jehan Daruvala with his F2 teammate
Dennis Hauger of Norway after a race in Imola, Italy, in 2022

Eastern Eye

INDIAN race driver Jehan Daruvala has said it is the right time for him to move to Formula E, adding he has no regrets about spending a few extra years in the junior series for a shot at an elusive Formula One seat.

Daruvala moved to Formula E after spending four years in the F1 feeder series Formula 2, where he was a part of the Red Bull junior team.

However, he failed to land a seat in F1, and post his F2 stint, the 25-yearold served as a reserve driver for Mahindra Racing in Formula E for a year.

“In hindsight, yes, everything is different. I was pushing to get into Formula One for those few years so I don’t have any regrets,” Daruvala said.

“I feel like I have come here (Formula E) at the right time. I have matured and I’m still only 25, still young,” he added.

Daruvala is driving for the Maserati MSG Racing team, becoming only the second Indian to take part in the allelectric series after Karun Chandhok.

However, his debut Formula E race ended in disappointment, as he finished 16th in the season opening Mexico City E-Prix last Saturday (13).

His learning process with the Gen 3 Formula E car will continue as his rookie season progresses, given the disparate philosophies between the electric race machinery and F2 cars.

“There will be a lot (of adaptation/ unlearning). I haven’t done a race yet in Formula E. Even in Valencia [Spain], I missed out as I had some battery issues,” Daruvala said, speaking ahead of the Mexico City event.

“I have done a lot of prep. I was in Monaco for a couple of months. I was going to the factory every day. I have done a lot of days on the simulator, the test in Valencia, and also some private tests in Mallorca,” he added.

The Mumbai-born racer was looking forward to racing in front of his home crowd in his rookie season but that won’t be possible as the Hyderabad E-Prix was cancelled earlier this month.

“Definitely, it’s disappointing that the race is cancelled,” Daruvala said. “I was looking forward to that weekend, to have the home crowd, my family, and friends that would have been very special, especially in my rookie season in Formula E. Hopefully, it’s not the end and I have the home race to come back to next year.”

Having landed a senior professional racing gig after a struggle, Daruvala is determined to make things work with Maserati MSG Racing.

“I haven’t put in any personal goals. I am driving for a luxury brand and they have put their trust in me.

“I am starting my professional journey so it is my turn to deliver if I want to stay in this category. So that is my goal, to score as many points as possible and bring home podiums.

“I want to stay in Formula E and make a career here. My future now lies here,” he revealed.

Daruvala said he hopes he can inspire young Indians to take up racing.

“Hopefully, I can help more fans from India get used to seeing electric racing and enjoy it. My goal is to stick around for a long time and that will maybe help young people from India take the sport or pursue racing.”