Newly announced Maserati MSG Racing driver Jehan Daruvala has recognised that his debut Formula E campaign will be a “learning process”, with him expecting the “racing itself” to be difficult to adjust to.
It was announced on Wednesday that Daruvala would be making the step up from Formula 2 in 2024 to race in Formula E, a series he has been around this year.
Alongside his MP Motorsport F2 duties, Daruvala held the role of Mahindra Racing reserve driver during season nine, with him having also participated for the Indian manufacturer in the Berlin rookie test.
It does mean that Daruvala has some experience in Gen3 machinery, although he would’ve had more if Mahindra hadn’t faced issues in the Rome rookie practice session. Leaving his position at Mahindra to race for Maserati is a bold decision, mostly due to how special it would’ve been for the Indian driver to have raced for Mahindra.
However, Mahindra clearly have other ideas for the future that don’t include Daruvala, with the Banbury-based team having signed Nyck de Vries and Edoardo Mortara. Daruvala has actually replaced Mortara at Maserati, a team who showed real promise in the second half of last season.
Maximilian Günther proved that Maserati’s package is more than competitive enough to fight for podiums and even victories, something Daruvala will aspire to achieve. However, his initial target for season 10 will be to settle into the championship, having competed in F2 for four seasons.
He is, of course, a very decorated F2 driver, having won four races in the junior category – his last win came in the 2022 Monza feature race. At just 24 years old, Daruvala could go onto have a long Formula E career, something which would likely increase the chances of Hyderabad returning to the calendar in the future.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly an exciting time for Daruvala following his move to the Monte-Carlo-based team, Formula E has proven to be one of the most challenging categories to adjust to. Ex-F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi is living proof of that, with the Italian having endured one of the worst rookie seasons in the history of the all-electric series in season eight.
As Daruvala points out though, he has “always been fast” no matter what car he’s driving, giving him confidence that he can settle into the series quickly. Looking ahead to his maiden campaign, he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to produce quick laps in qualifying; however, he admits that the frenetic peloton-style of racing will require time to understand.
Compared to his previous experience in F2, the Indian driver recognises that Formula E is “mentally very difficult” because “there’s a lot to manage”, such as the energy levels. As a result, he’s aware that his first season in the category will be a “learning process”.
“I think to be honest, I think the racing itself is going to be the part I think I will have to adjust to the most,” Daruvala said during a virtual roundtable to select media, when asked by Motorsport Week how long he expects it to take to get used to Formula E’s style of racing.
“I’ve always been fast in everything I’ve driven. I was also fast in the rookie test. I mean, it doesn’t mean I will automatically be fast when I drive, but I think doing a qualifying lap is something that I can do, but there’s a lot of learning to do behind-the-scenes in terms of in racing itself and 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 experience in junior racing.”