India’s Kush Maini on Tuesday joined the young driver development programme of the Alpine Formula 1 team.
Before Kush, Jehan Daruvala was another Indian who was on the driver programme of a Formula 1 team — Red Bull Racing in his case — but he could not graduate to the highest level after three mixed Formula 2 seasons under their wings.
Kush, 23, is competing in his rookie Formula 2 season.
The Bengaluru-based driver secured his first Formula 2 podium with a third-place finish in the Sprint Race in Australia and his best Qualifying result of second at Silverstone.
He currently sits just outside of the top 10 in the championship standings having secured 11 point-scoring finishes across the season. Kush’s brother Arjun was a development driver with the Haas Formula 1 team but he too could not reach the pinnacle of four-wheel racing.
Kush will join the growing Alpine Academy line-up which currently features drivers such as Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver Jack Doohan and 2022 FIA Formula 3 Champion Victor Martins, and has a host of successful graduates including current Formula 1 drivers Zhou Guanyu and Oscar Piastri, and Olli Caldwell who currently competes for Alpine Elf Endurance Team.
”It’s a dream come true to be associated with a team like BWT Alpine F1 Team, where I can learn and grow to hopefully one day be ready to take the step into Formula 1. A massive thank you to Alpine for believing in me and giving me this opportunity,” said Kush.
Julian Rouse, Alpine F1 Team Interim Sporting Director, added: ”He is a young talent who we believe has strong potential and will be a great asset to our driver development programme.
”The Alpine Academy will enter its ninth year in 2024 and currently features nine drivers of eight nationalities, spanning four different series from FIA Formula 2 through to European Karting.
”The continual expansion of the Academy’s talent pool runs in parallel to the expansion of our facilities at Enstone with the development of our new state-of-the-art training and testing facilities, the AHPC, underway.” Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok are the only two Indians who have made it to Formula 1.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)