Bengaluru’s Arjun Maini, a 19-year-old boy has been announced as a development driver for Haas F1 team. He is all set to become the third Indian to have a taste of a Formula One car.
Alongside his GP3 Series racing campaign, Maini will conduct simulator work. He has been mentored and managed by former F1 driver Karun Chandhok. He seemed delighted to be associated with the American F1 team.
“It’s an honor to be a part of Haas F1 Team’s driver development programme,” Maini said. “All of my racing to date has been with the focus of becoming a Formula One driver, and this opportunity puts me one step closer to my goal. I am eager to learn, understand and experience how a Formula One team operates. Everything I learn can be used immediately in GP3 while preparing for my ultimate goal of Formula One.”
Despite missing the start of the 2016 GP3 Series, Maini ended the year tenth overall with a best finish of second position.
Karun said Arjun would learn a lot as a development driver. “I’ve been managing Arjun along with his father for the past few years. Since the back end of last year we were working on a link with an F1 team and it took a few months for his dad and I to work with Guenther Steiner and the team at Haas F1 to get here. It’s a good first step into the F1 world and Arjun will learn a lot. How we convert this to a race seat in F1 will largely be down to his season in GP3 which starts this weekend. Still, I feel very proud to be one of India’s only two F1 drivers thus far, and I hope to help him expand that club in the future,” he said.
Maini earned his first title in 2007 when he won the Rotax Mini Max National Championship. Numerous wins and podiums followed before Maini began the transition to open-wheel machines.
He won the 2013 Formula BMW Super Six Series in Asia and finished second overall in the 2014 BRDC Formula 4 championship with four wins, 10 podiums, five poles and six fastest laps.
In 2015, Maini competed in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand and finished fourth in the standings with two wins, five podiums, three poles and two fastest laps – a performance that led him to GP3 in 2016.