Indian racers step into 2018 — Part 1
Here’s a list of how some of India’s top single-seater racers performed last season and where they will be competing in 2018.
The year 2017 proved to be monumental for Indian drivers competing at the international stage. It saw multiple race winners from the country in various single-seater competitions, which created some historic sporting moments for India.
In 2018, the drivers are trying to carry on the good showing and bring more laurels to the country. Here’s a full list of drivers with their 2018 plans in single-seater racing.
Among young Indian drivers, Jehan Daruvala stood out as the most consistent through the 2017 season. The Indian started his year with Toyota Racing Series, where he took nine podiums to finish in the top-5. The Force India protégé followed it up with an impressive performance in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Carlin, as a rookie. He finished sixth overall with one victory, becoming the first Indian to win a race in the category. He finished second in the rookie class with seven wins.
Post-season, Daruvala tested in the GP3 Series with Arden International and MP Motorsport. He eventually decided to stay back in F3 with Carlin for another season, where he will start as one of the favourites to win the title.
Arjun Maini and Kush Maini
Arjun Maini was touted to be a title contender in the GP3 Series and started with a bang as he got his maiden victory in Barcelona’s Sprint race. The Haas F1 Team also announced him as a development driver for the 2017 season in the same weekend. He will continue in the role in 2018 as well. Unfortunately, Arjun could only manage one more podium in the season-finale to finish ninth in the 2017 GP3 drivers’ standings. Post-season, Arjun tested the FIA Formula 2 Championship car with Russian Time and Trident. He eventually decided to compete in F2 with Trident in 2018, where he is currently competing as a rookie.
His younger brother Kush Maini completed his second full season in the Italian Formula 4 Championship in 2017. Kush finished seventh overall with two podiums. After spending two years at the F4 level, Kush made a move to the UK-based BRDC British Formula 3 Championship in 2018 with Lanan Racing — the same team his elder brother raced for in 2014. Kush has already registered a win and two podiums in the first two rounds of the 2018 British F3 season.
Ameya Vaidyanathan and Tarun Reddy
Ameya Vaidyanathan had a fighting second year in the Euroformula Open season in 2017. He was in a strong position for the title in the first half of the season, but improved runs by others saw him finish fourth in the standings. He also made his European F3 debut at Spa-Francorchamps in 2017 with Carlin, competing in nine races. For 2018, he has decided to move to a full-time seat in the European F3 with Carlin.
Meanwhile, for Tarun Reddy, it was an upward move from British F3 to EF Open in 2017. He started his rookie season with Carlin in the first four races and then switched to Drivex School in the second half. But results didn’t come by as he finished 14th overall and eighth in the rookie standings. So far, Reddy is yet to confirm his racing programme for the 2018 season, largely due to financial constraints.
It is not often an Indian gets to live a championship-winning year in an international competition. The 19-year-old Mahaveer Raghunathan won the Formula class in the 2017 BOSS GP. Driving for PS Racing, the Chennai-born racer took three class wins and ten podiums to win his maiden title. The Indian then had his maiden LMP2 test with G-Drive Racing in the post-season FIA World Endurance Championship’s ‘Rookie Test’. It is unclear at the moment if Raghunathan will make a switch to sports car racing or remain in single-seater.
After much speculation regarding his Super Formula future, Narain Karthikeyan was confirmed with TCS Nakajima Racing, driving the Honda machinery in the 2017 season. He had a difficult year as he scored no points for the first time in his Super Formula career. For 2018, the 41-year-old is continuing in the series with TCS Nakajima for his sixth season. He did a test in Super GT but decided to stay back in the single-seater series.
Ricky Donison competed in America’s USF2000 Championship in 2017. He entered five rounds into the championship and scored a podium at Indianapolis while racing for Cape Motorsports. It is unclear where he will compete in 2018.
Akash Gowda raced in the Japanese Formula 4 Series. He was unable to score a point racing for VSR Lamborghini. He is expected to join the newly-launched Asian F3 series in 2018.
Krishnaraaj Mahadik claimed a race win in the British F3, competing as a guest driver in two rounds with Double R Racing. For 2018, he has already started the season with the same team in British F3.
Brad Dias competed in the Asian Formula Renault’s Class A category for BlackArts Racing. The Hong Kong-based Goan racer finished sixth in the standings, which included a podium at Sepang. He is competing in the Danish Formula 4 for Magnussen Racing Experience.