Home Car Lifestyle India’s Kush Maini has a strong debut in Formula 2 at Sakhir

India’s Kush Maini has a strong debut in Formula 2 at Sakhir

by Navyatha Sandiri

India and Formula 1

Several factors, particularly the most recent Red Bull Racing showcase in Mumbai, have contributed to Formula 1’s growing popularity in India. Nonetheless, there hasn’t been much Indian participation in the sport since the Sahara Force India F1 team, which is owned by Vijaya Malaya, ceased operations at the end of 2018.

Two Indian racers pursuing a Formula 1 career

If the two Indian drivers competing in the 2023 Formula 2 championship can stave off 20 other drivers, this situation might soon alter. After finishing seventh overall in both 2021 and 2022, Jehan Daruvala is back for the fourth season of this series, but this time he is competing for MP Motorsport. The other competing Indian this year is Kush Maini, a rookie who races for Campos Racing. Narain Karthikeyan, who competed for HRT until 2012, was the last driver from India to participate in a Formula 1 race.

Season 2023 of Formula 2

14 tracks worldwide will host the Formula 2 season of 2023. Each weekend begins with free practice, which is followed by qualifying, which establishes the starting grid for the “Sprint Race” on Saturday and the “Feature Race” on Sunday. 22 drivers competed for victory at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain during the opening weekend of the competition.

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FIA Formula 2 weekend report for 2023 Sakhir

During free practice, Jehan Daruvala and Kush Maini both demonstrated their speed. If Jehan hadn’t lost time for breaking track limitations, he would have finished third fastest in the session. Kush Maini, a rookie, finished 10th overall and 10th quickest, demonstrating promise.

Sakhir FIA Formula 2 qualifying in 2023

Kush Maini proved during the qualification round that he was swift despite having little previous expertise with his equipment. He once set a time good for second place, but faster times produced by competitors in the final seconds of the session moved him down to sixth place overall. Jehan came in just outside the top 10, unable to make use of the speed he has shown in practice. Because of this, Maini would start fifth in the sprint race and sixth in the feature race, and Jehan would start eleventh in both.

FIA Formula 2 sprint event in 2023 Sakhir

In order to provide the most entertainment, the sprint race is a shorter 120 km/45 min race (whichever is completed first). Drivers must be aggressive from the start to the finish because there are no required pit stops, the first 10 spaces on the grid are reversed, and the top eight finishers receive points. Since the quickest qualifier Théo Pourchaire started from position 10 on the reverse grid, Jehan battled his way through the pack to finish sixth overall in the Sakhir sprint event. Due to his inexperience, Kush Maini managed to squeak through the competition to finish in seventh place overall, behind Jehan, and earn two points in his very first Formula 2 race.

With a total of 12 points added to their account, Maini helped Campos Racing take the lead in the championship as his colleague Ralph Boschung won the race with a margin of victory over 10 seconds.

FIA Formula 2 feature race at Sakhir in 2023

Even though Jehan was one of the first racers to employ the same strategy used by many drivers who finished in the top ten positions at the end of the race, Maini had greater luck than Jehan in the major Grand Prix or “Feature Race” on Sunday. In contrast to the sprint race, Maini excelled at racing far more in the feature event. He started out sixth, and after everyone had turned the first corner, he was in second place! If a safety car hadn’t slowed down the race, Maini had the opportunity to maintain the momentum, but owing to a mix of pit-stop tactics and on-track conflicts, he was unable to keep the competition behind him at the restart and dropped to sixth once more. On lap 16, Maini engaged in a battle for fifth place with Arthur Leclerc, the brother of Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc, taking advantage of his less-abused tyres.

On lap 19, Maini and Leclerc got back into a track battle once more, this time for third place on the podium. Leclerc made mistakes as a result of Maini’s persistent push on the latter, which caused him to lose the battle for third and let two other drivers pass as well. Zane Maloney was one of them; starting from grid position 18, he made an outstanding performance in the Carlin racecar. The Indian driver’s fantasy debut came to an end when he caught up to and passed Maini on the final lap while the latter was experiencing tyre degradation. Jehan, on the other hand, was unable to profit from the change to a different tactic, which would have used the faster soft compound tire to slash through the field.

Jehan made just one pit stop and completed the race in the same spot he started in, which frustrated him because many other drivers who followed the same strategy finished in the top ten.

Driver rankings for Formula 2 in 2023

With 14 points overall in the Formula 2 championship, Kush Maini is now in fourth place, and Jehan is in eleventh place with three points. There is a lot to anticipate because the tournament consists of 14 rounds. The second round of the championship will then take place from March 17–19 at the quick Jeddah track in Saudi Arabia. Keep an eye out for our weekend review, which we’ll be sure to bring you soon after!