My dream is definitely to become a Formula One world champion, if I can do it more than once that would be even better,” states Arjun Maini. At an age when his peers enjoy the simple pleasures and pressures in life — be it hanging out with their friends, reluctantly waiting for their results or pushing the boundaries in an attempt to figure out their life’s true interests as they slowly but surely march towards inevitable adulthood — Maini is a rarity. The youngster from Bengaluru has already sacrificed the pleasures of a teenager to pursue his dream.
Life on the road for a young driver can be arduous with one too many lonely nights to go along with the physical and mental demands of the sport. And as a teenager and student, education is yet another ball to juggle. “It does get quite hectic but my school has been extremely supportive. They email my parents and tutor the curriculum and have been flexible in terms of my attendance and exam schedule,” reveals Maini.
“I have a few hobbies and a playstation to keep my occupied during the days I want to relax. I get along fairly well with my teammates along with members from my team so the thought of being lonely doesn’t really cross my mind. We all have a different view of what fun is and for me I’m having the time of my life driving a Formula 3 car at its limit,” says the 17-year-old with impressive maturity. One thing that helps him is the presence of family and their unstinted support in his endeavour. “Family support has probably been the most important thing for me so far. More than even the funding, a family that supports you is almost integral to succeed in this sport,” stressed the Bengaluru lad, whose brother Kush is also making ripples in motorsports.
One of the hardest things in life is to find one’s calling and hold fast amongst a multitude of distractions while working steadfastly towards achieving the goal. Maini is among those rare few who are blessed with the aim, the drive and talent — the whole package. Reason enough, one might argue, for the the teen to be hailed as the poster boy of Indian motorsports. Blazing a trail of success at different levels in his wake, Maini is inching closer to fulfilling his dream as he currently stands 17th in the driver’s standings after six rounds in Formula 3.
For any budding driver, Formula 3 is the crucial and big step towards the glitzy and glamorous lights of Formula One. The recent jump of Max Verstappen, who raced for Maini’s team Van Amersfoort Racing in F3 last year, to Formula One to become the youngest driver ever in the championship only adds weight to the importance of the F3 circuit. But Maini would rather keep his head down and plug away rather than get carried away with the magical world that seems ever so close.
“There’s still a large part of the season to go before I look forward, I am focused on this year’s championship at the moment,” says the young driver. “What Max did last year doesn’t really affect me, it is extremely useful to have his data but at the same time his results do not affect the way I drive.” When asked about his season so far following his climb up the ladder from Formula 4, he stated: “The biggest difference between this year and my previous year in Formula 4 would be the fact that we have fewer test days and also the fact that this a championship conducted across Europe whereas the BRDC F4 championship is conducted within the UK,” he opined.
With Indians slowly making their presence felt as speed demons in a sport that is predominantly dominated by European countries, Maini believes the reputation of Indians in his circle of work is definitely on the rise. “The reputation of Indian drivers is definitely improving, Narain and Karun driving in Formula One has definitely changed a lot of things for Indians looking to make a career in motorsport,” he revealed. If his past is any sign for his future, there is little doubt that Maini, who considers his first win in the BRDC F4 car as his most amazing moment so far, is on an expressway to success....