Indian teenager Mahaveer Raghunathan will be making his FIA European Formula 3 Championship debut at this weekend’s round at Silverstone, having moved up from the Italian Formula 4 Championship.
The sixteen-year-old has joined series debutants Team Motopark for the 2015 season, with Raghunathan joining Markus Pommer, Nabil Jeffri, Sergio Sette Camara and Sam MacLeod in the German-based team.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag ahead of his debut, Raghunathan admitted that he has big ambitions for his career, with the aim of following countrymen Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok into Formula 1.
“From my childhood I have always liked fast cars,” said Raghunathan. “I started karting in my city and then raced in the Indian National Karting Championship and the Asian Karting Championship in 2011 and 2012.
“Further to this, I am now pursuing my passion by racing the European Formula 3 series as a stepping stone to racing in Formula 1.”
Raghunathan revealed that testing with Motopark during 2014 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria showed that it was with the German team his future lie in 2015, immediately finding himself comfortable in his new surroundings.
“I had tested with Motopark at the Red Bull Ring in 2014 and liked the team very much due to their professionalism, and I am very much comfortable with them,” insisted Raghunathan. “So I signed up for the Formula 3 Series with Motopark.
“The team is very professional. The mechanics and the engineers are very hard working and bring my car to perfection for my driving. They have a lot of experience and I learn a lot from them.
“The Team Manager (Timo Rumpfkeil) is also very helpful in all aspects and I feel I can learn a lot from him due to his experience in lots of championships and dealing with so many good drivers.”
Raghunathan admitted he had looked back at past drivers who had competed in the series, and felt those who had performed well in F3 over the years had gone on to have successful careers in the higher formulae, with past champions Daniel Juncadella, Raffaele Marciello and Esteban Ocon all having past or current connections with Formula 1 teams.
“After a lot of research over the past year, I have found that all drivers who do well in European Formula 3 go on to do well and win titles in their motorsport careers in other championships,” said Raghunathan. “European F3 has a lot of track time and is a very gruelling series.
“I have moved into this series to perfect my driving and move ahead in my career. I have already done a lot of testing at various circuits and am now preparing myself physically and mentally to do well in the championship.
“Since European F3 has 33 races during the season, with races in all the major European circuits, I hope to learn a lot and do very well in the championship. The year 2015 is a very important year as this is the first year for me in an international championship, and this will lay a foundation for my career as a race driver.”