The teenager Arjun Maini participated on Thursday at Haas F1 Team as one of his development drivers, which only made him the third Indian to be part of a Formula 1 team after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.
Haas signed Maini-based Bengaluru with American Santino Ferucci as development engines for the team that made his Formula 1 debut last season.
As Ferrucci, Maini will be “integrated” with the American outfit, attend races and tests throughout the year while participating in the team’s simulation program.
However, there is no confirmation to make his debut in a Formula 1 car. “His start to the race depends on how his GP3 goes. He will start with the simulator working at Maranello at the Ferrari simulator,” PI Chandhok, who is also in charge of Maini, told PTI.
Asked about the importance of this role, Chandhok added: “It’s a good first step in the world of F1 and Arjun will learn a lot. The way we convert this to F1 will be largely based on his season in GP3 which begins this weekend.” Chandhok and Karthikeyan are the only Indians who participated in Formula 1 with the last points when he finished fourth in the US Grand Prix of six cars in 2005.
Maini joined GP3 midway from last season after he had no choice but to leave the F3 program. He finished 14 races on 18 GP3, finishing 10th in the standings, including a second place in Hungary.
It was learned that Maini did not have to pay for the role of development pilot with Haas by signing it on merit. “Arjun has been successful in karting and has evolved into various series of Formula and now GP3. We will keep an eye on his progress this year,” said Guenther Steiner, Haas team leader.
Maini said it was an honor to be part of a Formula 1 team. “All my race to date has been the goal of becoming a Formula 1 driver, and this opportunity brings me closer to my goal.
“I look forward to learning, understanding and experiencing how a Formula 1 team works. Everything I learn can be used immediately in GP3 while preparing my ultimate goal of Formula One, “he said.