Jehan Daruvala will move up to Formula 2 with Carlin this season, the British team has confirmed, with the Indian also having joined Red Bull’s young driver programme.
The move puts Daruvala, who raced in the newly-established FIA Formula 3 Championship with Italian team Prema last season, just one rung below Formula 1 on the single seater ladder.
“I’m very happy to be back for my third season with Carlin, it’s great to be working with some of the same people again on the engineering side as I make the step up to F2,” the 21-year-old, back to full fitness after a training injury sustained over the winter, said.
“It’s a new challenge for me, but I think for everyone, including the teams there will be things to learn this year. I’m very proud to be going into the season as a Red Bull Junior which will of course be added pressure but I believe I have the platform to deliver, so it’s going to be up to me. I can’t wait to get going.”
The specifics of Daruvala’s Red Bull involvement haven’t been made public. But he will become an official full-fledged member of its young driver programme, which has churned out the likes of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon.
His car will run the energy drinks company’s branding, the same as his new team mate and fellow Red Bull junior Yuki Tsunoda, effectively turning Carlin into a Red Bull-branded team.
Daruvala is well-known to Carlin. He spent two seasons racing with the team in the European Formula 3 series, scoring two wins and six podiums.
Last year he enjoyed his strongest single-seater season yet, taking two wins and four podiums. Having briefly led the standings, he ended the season third in the overall standings behind Ferrari-backed Prema team mates Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong.
“We’re delighted to welcome Jehan back to the team for his third season with us. His performances last year in FIA F3 were extremely impressive and we really believe in him. There’s no reason why he can’t make it all the way to the top. ”
Carlin returned to Formula 2 in 2018, fielding Daruvala’s European F3 team mate and current McLaren Formula One driver Lando Norris. The squad won the teams’ title that year while taking the Briton to second in the drivers’ standings.
They finished fourth last season, scoring two wins with Japanese racer Nobuharu Matsushita.
The FIA Formula 2 Championship kicks off at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain, running from March 20-22, on the same weekend as the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix.