Vijay Mallya says teenager Jehan Daruvala can make F1 debut in 2 years' time
Sixteen-year-old Jehan Daruvala for long has been tipped as the next Indian to make a rare jump to Formula 1 and prodigy's chief backer says his team Force India will be waiting for him
New Delhi: Sixteen-year-old Jehan Daruvala for long has been tipped as the next Indian to make a rare jump to Formula 1 and prodigy's chief backer Vijay Mallya says his team Force India will be waiting for him provided he does well in junior single seater series in the coming two seasons.
Daruvala, a Force India Academy product, enters the world of single seater racing next season, after showing his mettle on the European karting circuit for the last three seasons. Mallya believes Mumbai boy Daruvala is shaping up well to become India's next F1 driver after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.
"Jehan has done very well (in karting). He has every reason to be proud of his achievements. We at Sahara Force India are very proud of his accomplishments. I think he will continue to do well," Mallya told PTI.
"He is naturally talented but for the next two years, he needs to get more and more experience in single seater racing cars, drive more powerful cars and after that if he continues this upward trajectory of development, then F1 will be waiting for him," said Mallya.
Asked whether Force India will be ready to give Daruvala his "dream" breakthrough, Mallya responded by saying "absolutely". Daruvala, who finished third in the World Karting Championship and second in German Championship this season, will be testing Formula Renault 2.0 cars soon for next season.
Earlier in the year, Force India and its support staff in the UK had wanted him to do karts for another season but plans changed with his commendable showing in the most basic form of motor racing.
"I feel I am ready for Formula cars. We all thought I would take longer to reach that stage but it has happened sooner for
good. Racing in Europe is highly competitive even in karting and the results have given me immense confidence to progress in my career.
"Reaching Formula 1 is surely the ultimate goal but before that there is a lot of ground to cover in junior series," said Daruvala adding he has got extra confidence from the fact that 17-year-old Max Verstappen will be making his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2015.
The talented teenager is certainly making all the right noises but only time will tell whether he can make it big with Force India support, much like how Lewis Hamilton benefited from his long-term association with McLaren.