Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has refused to provide a timeline for Jehan Daruvala’s maiden Formula 1 test, but assured that “the opportunity will come to him” if he fares well in 2018.
Daruvala was the ultimate winner of Force India’s ‘One in a Billion Hunt’ programme and his career has been supported by the Silverstone-based squad ever since.
The 19-year-old enjoyed a successful rookie season in the highly-competitive European F3 championship last year, finishing sixth in the standings with one victory and two further podium finishes.
He will stay in the series for another year with Carlin, and Mallya says his results will determine when he will get to test an F1 car for the first time.
“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, referring to cost-driven regulations which prohibit teams from testing their cars outside official tests and limited promotional runs.
“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.”
While there is no official data on how many Indians have driven an F1 car, Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok remain the only two drivers from the subcontinent to have taken part in a grand prix.