BENGALURU: Getting into the fold of a Formula One team can be inspiring, but sometimes overwhelming. For a youngster like Arjun Maini, who was signed up as a development driver with the Haas Formula One team recently, it is no different. For someone who is from India and taking baby steps into the big league, it is even more special.
Bengalurean Maini, also the first Indian to win a GP3 race, refuses to let it bother him. “Life has been pretty normal. It’s a big boost to my confidence but training goes on as usual. But I’m trying to be better than I was before,” he said here on Monday.
However, there was an element of awe when Maini saw the Formula One team paddock. “It’s unbelievable and hard to explain. When you walk from the GP3 paddock to the F1 paddock, the difference in everything — the size and glamour — it’s absolutely unbelievable. It does feel a bit overwhelming initially, but when you get over it, the racing is still the same,” he explained.
Though Arjun is on board a Formula One team, there is limited activity and he is more focused on the GP3 Series, where he is third in the championship after the opening race in Spain in May. The next race is in Austria in July. “I’ve had small chats with (Kevin) Magnussen, but not for long. Hopefully, I’ll get more time in the future. I got a few days in the simulator, but that’s the only plan. They want me to focus on GP3 for now. If the GP3 season goes well, it opens up a lot of opportunities.
Results in GP3 will determine whether I get to drive the F1 car anytime soon,” he stated.
Till now, it has been all about familiarising with the Haas team. “I was able to spend some time in the garage, understanding how drivers work with the engineers and how teams operate. I want to take that experience with me to prepare for the future,” Arjun remarked.
Moving up to a better GP3 car this year with Jenzer Motorsport, the 19-year-old is happy about it. “It’s a fast car, has 400 horsepower and is a step up. It has got a lot of downforce, is heavy and big. I had never driven Pirelli tyres before last year, and that made a big difference. But it’s just like any other car after you get used to it,” he stated.
Arjun hopes to make the most of the next race in Austria. “I’m looking forward to it. The team is getting along really well this year. Preparations are going smoothly. I look forward to racing after a really long break,” said the racer from Bengaluru.