CHENNAI: It was not long ago that the names ‘M Schumacher’ and ‘R Schumacher’ screamed at you from Formula One start-lists. The younger of those brothers, Ralf, managed six victoriess and dozens of podium finishes in his ten years in the sport. The elder, Michael, ended up a record seven-time world champion.
It has been nearly twelve years since the two Schumachers last raced each other in Formula One but now another two brothers are bidding to ignite a sibling rivalry at the highest echelons of world motorsport. Everyone knows Arjun Maini — currently racing only a step away from F1 in the FIA Formula 2 and a developmental driver with Haas F1.
But now his younger brother Kush is carving himself a spot on the motorsports map. Last week, 17-year-old Kush won a race in only his second weekend in the BDRC Formula 3 championships at the Rockingham Circuit, racing for Lanan Racing and followed it up with a podium finish in the very next race. Before that, he had come away with a podium finish from his first weekend in Formula 3 in Oulton Park. One British motorsports outlet described his victory as a ‘stunning drive’.
“As soon as I got into the lead in the first lap, I knew that if put all my corners together now, I was going to win,” Kush says. “Towards the end, I calmed down and just got the car home.”
The victory was an indication of how much Kush had grown as a racer. “The transition from karting to single-seaters (in 2016) was tough,” he says. “In karting, I was one of the best in Asia and I was really confident (about) moving into Formula cars. Unfortunately, in my last kart race, I broke my collarbone and ended up sitting out 3-4 months and missed all of pre-season testing in 2016. I was a bit too hot-headed back then and making silly mistakes.”
“I guess the main thing I’ve learnt is how to calm myself down and realise that the championship is long instead of trying all out to win every race. You got to learn that sometime and I did that over the last two years. This is the year where I really show what I’ve learnt,” he said.
Kush and Arjun are as different as it can get when it comes to racing styles and Kush admits they are diametrically opposite as people too. “We’re completely different people,” he says. “Arjun is calm, nice and down-to-earth while I’m more mean. Even on the race-track, I am a lot more aggressive than he is and take more risks and those don’t always pay off. I think a mix of both our qualities would make the perfect racing driver and that’s what I am trying to become.”
In an age when people are breaking into Formula One by their late teens, Kush knows he has only a couple of years to make an impression. “I am not thinking about all that,” he says. “I am taking it one race at a time. I think that’s what’s really going to help me calm myself as a person and get better results.”
But has he thought of how, in a couple of years, he will be fighting for the same spot as Arjun. “The dinner-table conversations will be quite interesting,” he laughs. “It definitely comes to my mind sometimes and it will be pretty weird. But hopefully one day, we will be fighting in F1.”