The young driver has three podium finishes after collecting points in just three of the first 14 races.
Jehan Daruvala became the first Indian to win an F2 race. He achieved the feat at the end of the season by winning the 34-lap Sprint Race in Sakhir, Bahrain on Sunday. With the win, Jehan finished the season as the 12th best driver in F2, accumulating a total of 72 points.
After the win, Jehan gave an insightful interview to Hindustan Times, talking about his season, the struggles with the engine and hearing the national anthem after the win. Hearing the national anthem was a humbling moment for the 22-year-old Carlin driver. Jehan believes the win not only will boost his confidence for the upcoming challenges but also gives hope to the young aspirants in India.
The proud Indian driver said, “Hearing the national anthem on the podium was a really proud moment for me, also for everyone back in India. It gives me the momentum to carry on into testing and into next year.”
Jehan had to get his engine changed. The faulty engine kept Jehan’s performance down by losing horsepower and getting worse after each race. The difference between him and his Carlin teammate was quite huge due to the engine underperforming.
Talking about the issues with the engine, the Mumbai based driver explained, “Normally if the engine is fine we just run one (in a season). I kept complaining (to Carlin) that I am down compared to my teammate (Yuki Tsunoda) and it needs to be changed. It was not a small difference, was quite large at one point.”
The difference that the engine was making proved to be a big factor in the slow start of Jehan Daruvala’s season. The 22-year-old believes there are races where he could have had podium finishes, if not for the engine. The results since the change in the engine back the driver’s case.
After collecting points in just three of the first 14 races, the Indian driver went on to win points in eight of the next ten games. Jehan opined, “A little bit, but in Spa and Monza it was a big factor. I could have been on pole in both those rounds. I was almost half a second down in Spa to my teammate, the same in Monza. That is a factor, but in the first half, I had bad starts too.”
Jehan now is optimistic about the future. To him, getting the first win was very important. To get the monkey off his back was crucial and now gives him the much-needed self-belief that the driver needed after the kind of start he had to his season. He wants to build on to this momentum and fight for a top 3 finish next year.
Speaking about his ambitions for the upcoming season, Jehan Daruvala said, “The win has given me confidence. I always believed in me but to get the monkey off my back feels good. I should be able to fight for the top-3, if not for the title (next year).”