There may be no Indian Grand Prix or any Indian drivers in Formula 1, but there are plenty of Indians in action all around the globe in 2015. Darshan Chokhani takes a closer look.
We start with the most senior Indian driver of them all – ex-Jordan and HRT F1 racer Narain Karthikeyan, who like last year is driving in the Japan-based Super Formula series, moving from Lenovo Team Impul to Docomo Team Dandelion Racing for the new season. The change in team has heralded an upturn in fortunes, as the Indian finished on podium in the first round of the series in Suzuka.
The only other Indian ex-F1 racer, Karun Chandhok, is continuing his Formula E campaign with Mahindra Racing. Chandhok will cap his stint in the all-electric series with a drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, driving for the Irish team Murphy Prototypes in the LMP2 category.
The other veterans
Sportscar specialist Aditya Patel is driving in the Audi R8 LMS Cup this season, a series primarily held in the Asian countries with China, Malaysia, Korea and Japan being the major venues. Having driven in the ADAC GT Masters and International GT Masters, this gives Aditya a new challenge. He already has a podium under his belt in the first round of the season.
The Indian ace rally driver Gaurav Gill continues to compete in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, where he has been driving since 2007. He had started his APRC stint driving the Mitsubishi Lancer, but now he drives the Skoda Fabia for Team MRF. He had won the championship in 2013 while finishing third in 2014, and is looking to win the championship this year again.
From single-seaters to sportscars, Armaan Ebrahim has done it all. Last year he drove in the Blancpain Sprint series, and for this year he will drive in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia series, slated to start in June, for the Sri Lankan Dilango Racing outfit.
Prashanth Tharani meanwhile is racing in the 24 Hours Series with Zest Racecar Engineering, having already competed in the first round held in Mugello in March, and may also make his debut in the SEAT Supercopa Championship.
The young hopefuls
Force India boss Dr. Vijay Mallya has often been asked why there are no Indian drivers behind the wheel of his F1 cars, and he has answered by launching the Sahara Force India Academy – and its driver Jehan Daruvala hasn’t disappointed at all.
After a successful stint in both junior and senior karting, Jehan made his debut in single-seaters in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and made a good impression. He is to drive in the championship this season with Fortec Motorsport, dovetailing it with the second-tier Alps series.
European Formula 3 features another two of India’s brightest stars this season, as 2014 BRDC F4 runner-up Arjun Maini steps up to join Van Amersfoort Racing and gain further experience competing with the best in the Europe. Joining him is Italian F4 graduate Mahaveer Raghunathan, who is driving for team Motopark.
Another of the young guns, Tarun Reddy, is competing in the UK-based MSA Formula Championship driving for Double R Racing, and he is joined by Ameya Vaidyanathan, who is drives in the BTCC support category for Joe Tandy Racing.
Prashanth’s younger brother Karthik Tharani will continue to race in the 2015 MRF Formula 1600 Championship, where he is leading the points, and will also drive in the JK Formula BMW Championship along with joining his brother in 12 hours of Brno.
The final group of young drivers includes Akhil Rabindra driving for Douglas Motorsport in the BRDC F4 championship, along with Ameya Vaidyanathan who is driving for Hillspeed.
Parth Ghorpade is expected to race in the Spanish F3 series, and the likes of Advait Deodhar and Raj Bharath continue to compete in the Indian series as they look for opportunities in Europe; Advait is in Munich with the BMW Driving Academy currently.