“I’ve learnt the formula to success is sheer faith– all you need to do is believe that impossible is possible.”
“Growing up, Dad, my sister and I used to go to this club to Go Kart. I’d sit next to dad and cheer as he drove us around. When I was 6, Dad put two cushions on the seat so I could reach the steering wheel and let me drive under his watch; I’ll never forget that day! Then on, every weekend, while the whole world would be watching cricket, my family and I would be glued to Formula One. I was too young to think of it as a career, but when Dad came across a Go Karting championship ad for young drivers, everything changed.
We were so excited, but Mum was against it and said, ‘How will he juggle school and a sport?’ But I put my foot down and said, ‘Mum, this is a question of my career!’ She just looked at me and burst out laughing–I was all of 10 at that time.
At the event, a coach told Dad, ‘He has potential, he should start training immediately.’ But back then, the only racing track in India was in Kolhapur. So every weekend, Grandad and I would travel to Kolhapur to train. Grandad would tell me, ‘Your only goal is to win, so keep going,’ and I stuck to it blindly.
In 2009, I started participating in competitions in India, and a year later, I won the karting Nationals. But the turning point came in 2012– during the One in a Billion talent hunt to find the fastest under-14 driver, I became the only 11-year-old to qualify because of a wild card entry!
I wanted to work towards my dream of becoming a Formula One driver. So after class 9, I wanted to quit school. But Mum wanted me to continue my schooling. At the time, I wasn’t sure whether I'd make it as a racing driver, so I agreed. With Mum-Dad’s support, I moved to a boarding school in London, and began training. I’d participate in 30 race weekends a year; it wasn’t always easy– I was just 15 and missed my parents a lot. But I’d keep telling myself, ‘This is the life you chose, don’t forget to enjoy it!’
But after 10th, I couldn’t juggle school and training. I wanted to quit school, but Mum and Dad wouldn’t have it! So I decided to complete my degree through distance learning. Honestly, I felt this was the only way to do what I’m meant to do.
For the next two years, I participated in several races across Europe–in 2014, I stood 3rd in the World Go Karting championship! Every time I win a race, the Indian flag is hoisted– nothing makes me more happy! I’m currently representing India in Formula 2 and if I succeed, the next step will be Formula One!
Honestly, the 6-year-old boy driving a go-kart with two cushions would’ve never thought that he’d reach this far. But now, I’ve learnt that the formula to success is sheer faith– all you need to do is believe that the impossible is possible.”