Why is a Red Bull junior testing an F1 car for McLaren?

Red Bull junior Jehan Daruvala is making his F1 test debut with McLaren this week at Silverstone. 
Why is a Red Bull junior testing an F1 car for McLaren?

The 23-year-old, who currently sits third in the 2022 F2 championship, is getting the chance to sample McLaren’s MCL35M which the team raced during the 2021 F1 season. 

Daruvala’s two-day test is taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week at Silverstone, which will host the British Grand Prix next month on July 3. 

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F1 teams are allowed to use cars as recent as 2021 for private testing outings. 

“As part of our testing previous car (TPC) programme, Jehan Daruvala will test the MCL35M at Silverstone on 21 June and 22 June. Enjoy your first drive in an F1 car, Jehan,” a McLaren statement read. 

Despite being on Red Bull’s young driver books, Daruvala has been given permission to test for McLaren by Red Bull. 

“I’m incredibly grateful to be getting this opportunity,” said Daruvala.

“Testing in Formula 1 is extremely limited and opportunities like these are not easy to come by. It will be my first experience in a Formula 1 car, which I’m sure will be special. 

“The support that I have received from the Red Bull Junior Team, my family and sponsors, coupled with this opportunity that McLaren have given me will enable me to prepare myself better to achieve my childhood dream of competing in Formula 1.” 

Why is a Red Bull junior testing an F1 car for McLaren?

Is Daruvala likely to make it to F1? 

Daruvala, who joined Red Bull’s junior programme after finishing third in F3 in 2019, is aiming to become just the third Indian driver to make it to F1 after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok. 

Karthikeyan scored five points in 46 grand prix starts across two spells in F1 in 2005 with Jordan and later HRT between 2011-2012. 

Meanwhile, Chankhok made 11 stats for HRT and Lotus between 2010-2011, scoring no points. After a brief stint in Formula E, the 38-year-old is now part of Sky F1’s presenting team. 

Daruvala was chosen in the top three of the Force India F1 team’s ‘One in a billion hunt’ for an Indian F1 driver.

He is in his third season in F2 and is currently the highest-placed Red Bull junior in the championship, having claimed five podium finishes so far in 2022. 

The Prema driver has already admitted that this year will be make-or-break for him in terms of his dream of reaching F1. 

Daruvala is enjoying his best season in the series to date, having previously finished 12th and seventh in the drivers’ standings, winning a total of three sprint races.

Why is a Red Bull junior testing an F1 car for McLaren?

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