Mahindra Racing have announced the signing of Formula 2 podium finisher Kush Maini, who has become the team’s new reserve driver for season 10.
The Banbury-based squad were in need of a new reserve to replace Jehan Daruvala, who has become a full-time driver for Maserati MSG Racing. Signing Maini ensures that the team still have a young and exciting Indian driver in the team, something which is clearly crucial to the Indian manufacturer.
Maini has made remarkable progress over the last seven years and has risen up the single-seater ladder. Back in 2016 and 2017, he competed in the Italian F4 Championship, before he moved onto the British F3 Championship in 2018.
In his maiden British F3 campaign, the Bangalore-born driver claimed one win and a further seven podiums, on his way to third in the Drivers’ Championship. 2019 saw him switch to Formula Renault Eurocup, although he returned to the British F3 series in 2020. He went one better in 2020 than he did in 2018, and finished second in the standings.
He competed in the 2021 Asian F3 series and made a one-off appearance for ARC Bratislava in the LMP2 class in the World Endurance Championship, before he made the big move to F3 for 2022 with MP Motorsport.
Maini secured one podium in his debut F3 season at the Hungaroring; however, he could only manage 14th in the Drivers’ Championship. Nevertheless, he still moved instantly into F2 for this year with Campos Racing. With two races remaining in Abu Dhabi, Maini sits 11th in the standings and finished on the rostrum in Melbourne.
The 23-year-old is widely expected to complete a second season in F2 as he’s now part of the Alpine Academy, whilst he’s also being mentored by two-time F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen.
His future certainly looks bright, with his reserve role in Formula E set to open more doors. Maini is very proud to have been signed by Mahindra, with him admitting that it feels “like coming home”.
“It’s a huge honour to be joining Mahindra Racing. Being an Indian driver, and the team being Indian, it feels in many ways like coming home,” said Maini.
“A lot of my work will be concentrated on the simulator, and hopefully getting in the car for the Rookie Test. I’m just going to try and learn as much as I can, it’s a different style of racing. I’ll be doing as much work as possible on the sim with the engineers to try and be helpful for both Edoardo and Nyck, and to try and help push the team forward on-track.
“Mahindra is a huge manufacturer, so for me, it’s a massive deal to be signing with them. Being an Indian brand, it’s the cherry on top of the cake. I’m super excited to get started.”
Maini will likely be used by Mahindra in the Berlin rookie test, although a lot of his work will be in the simulator alongside fellow reserve driver Jordan King.
Team Principal and Mahindra CEO Frederic Bertrand is “excited to welcome” Maini into the team, with him having been signed as part of the outfit’s focus on the future.
“We are excited to welcome Kush to Mahindra Racing as a Reserve Driver. He has a great record that speaks for itself in the junior formulae and is an exciting talent to add to our driver lineup,” said Bertrand.
“We are a very future-focussed team, so the opportunity to support new and emerging talent, such as Kush, is one we are naturally keen to explore. We’ve been watching him in FIA Formula 2 this season, and believe he has all the key skills and attributes to help Mahindra Racing push on for greater success in the future.
“His synergy with Edoardo, Nyck and Jordan will play an important role in the team’s continued push for better performance on-track, and off-track he is a superb ambassador for India within motorsport.”