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Maserati sign former Red Bull Junior: 'My future is in Formula E'

Maserati sign former Red Bull Junior: 'My future is in Formula E'

27-09-2023 12:00 Last update: 13:21

Ludo van Denderen

Not Nyck de Vries or Felipe Drugovich, but Jehan Duravala is Maserati MSG Racing's surprising new driver in Formula E. The Indian driver is a former Red Bull Junior and still competes for Dutch MP Motorsport in Formula 2 this season. At the Monaco-based team, the 24-year-old will be the teammate of Maximilian Guenther, who won one E-Prix on behalf of Maserati last season.

In F2, Daruvala is having a difficult season. In the championship standings, he currently holds 12th place. Nevertheless, he will replace Edoardo Mortara, who raced for the team for six seasons (five of them under the name Venturi Racing). GPblog asked team boss James Rossiter why Maserati is swapping a proven race winner for rookie Daruvala. The Brit, first of all, gave credit to the departed Mortara. "He certainly is an amazing character, and we wish him all the best for the future," Rossiter responded.

"Regarding Jehan, he’s an exciting young man. He definitely caught my attention on the morning of the rookie test when he was third fastest in a Mahindra, nonetheless, which I don't think was the most competitive car last season, and he ended up seventh overall in that rookie test. I think that was a very clear indication to me that he has the right skill set to succeed in Formula E."

Formula E requires special skills

Not every driver fits into Formula E, Rossiter believes. "It's a very unique driving style, and you have to have a certain amount of adaptability to showcase your speed in that situation. That was clearly something that was quite impressive, and then being a race winner in Formula 2 that speaks for itself. We shouldn't underestimate how difficult it is to win a race in Formula 2, and also, as a driver, I know first-hand you have good seasons and you have bad seasons. It's about bringing the best out of Jehan as we move forward, and you can all judge him on the results that he will achieve with us."

Daruvala is obviously looking forward to the challenges of Formula E: "Formula E is probably one of the hardest championships out there in the world. You have top-quality brands racing against each other with the highest technology. As well, the drivers are all professional. They're all very good drivers. If you see what they've all achieved in their junior careers, all of them are some of the best drivers in the world. Everything has to click. It's definitely not going to be easy. I think it will be the hardest challenge so far in my career and something that I'm cherishing and looking forward to. I have a great team behind me, and hopefully, my rookie season can be one I can remember."

Daruvala expects a learning year

Daruvala suspects that the racing style will be the main thing he has to get used to. "I've always been fast in everything I've driven. I was also fast at the rookie test. It doesn't mean I'm automatically faster when I drive, but I think a qualifying lap is something that I can do. But there's a lot of learning to do behind the scenes in terms of racing itself, and in Formula E. There's a lot to manage… the energy, it's mentally very difficult. So it's definitely going to be a learning process for me, but something that I feel like I can cope with quite well with my so far experience in junior racing."

Through Formula 3 and Formula 2, plus having been in the Red Bull and Racing Point academies, Daruvala always aspired to reach Formula 1. A move to Formula E could be seen as a step aside to still get into F1 later. But the Indian driver says: "No, I definitely see my future in Formula E. It's obviously very important for me now as a driver to deliver because, at the end of the day, it's a performance-based sport. If I don't deliver good results, then I won't be around for too long. My goal is to work hard, put all my efforts off track and show good results on track."

"To answer the question, I think it was quite an easy decision for me. I've had a good single-seater career so far. Obviously, as James mentioned earlier, some seasons are good, and some seasons are bad. This season didn't really go to plan for me, but I have a new opportunity. It's my first year as a professional racing driver, so I'm really looking forward to it. I do have the hunger and desire to go out there and prove myself against one of the best drivers in the world," Daruvala said.