Force India protege Jehan Daruvala says he would be fully prepared to test a Formula 1 car by the end of next year.
Daruvala has been touted as India’s next F1 driver, with a successful rookie campaign in European F3 only adding to his stature.
However, Force India has taken little incentive to hand him an F1 test, with team principal Vijay Mallya saying last year that he can’t put a date on it.
“Testing opportunities are so limited these days and it’s hard to predict when Jehan will get the opportunity to drive a Formula One car,” Mallya told Firstpost.
“The priority is for Jehan to keep building on the progress he made in F3 last year," he said.
"If he delivers strong results, I’m sure the opportunity will come to him but it’s impossible to put a time frame on something like this.”
Speaking in response to Mallya’s comments, Daruvala said he is in no rush to drive an F1 car, but would nevertheless be ready for such an opportunity in late 2019.
“I have always worked on developing as a driver and then taking the next step,” Daruvala told Motorsport.com.
“Every driver has a different rate of development and it is important not to rush things.
‘It is important that I test a more powerful car in the future and spend some time understanding the Pirelli tyres before I get an opportunity to test an F1 car.
“I believe I should be ready to do that in the latter half of 2019.”
Daruvala tested a GP3 car, which is more powerful than European F3’s Dallara F317 and also runs on F1-like Pirelli tyres, at the end of last year but elected to stay in F3 for another season.
While there is no official data on how many Indians have driven an F1 car (historic or contemporary), Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok remain the only two drivers from the subcontinent to have taken part in a grand prix.