Rookie Daruvala stunned by ‘mentally demanding’ races

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Formula E is renowned for being arguably the most difficult single-seater motorsport category for a rookie, due to the complexity of driving the all-electric cars. Being a rookie in Formula E is very much about survival, as several don’t return for a second season.

It’s a fight or flight situation, which Jake Hughes and Sacha Fenestraz managed superbly in Season 9 to remain on the grid this year. Unfortunately, for Daruvala, he’s the only rookie in the category this season, making it extremely difficult to judge his performances.

Typically, the rookies are compared to each other rather than the other drivers, as experience is everything in Formula E. In Daruvala’s case, there’s no other option but to compare him to the other 21 drivers, due to the fact he’s, as mentioned, the only rookie.

Perhaps this will result in some unfair criticism as the championship develops, but in actual fact, he’s settled in brilliantly. The former F2 race winner is doing very well at Maserati alongside Maximilian Günther, who is one of the fastest drivers on the grid.

Whilst Daruvala struggled in Mexico City and in the opening race of the Diriyah double-header, he showed a glimpse of his potential in the second E-Prix in the Middle East. On just his third appearance, the Indian driver progressed into the duels and qualified fifth.

Following his strong qualifying, he remained in the points for the majority of the race, before a cruel technical gremlin resulted in him retiring. It was a bitter blow for the 25-year-old, who has already learnt so much just in the opening rounds.

One thing which has caught him by surprise though, is how draining the races are mentally, given that so much has to be managed.

‘Unlike anything I’ve ever experienced’

“For the first part of Season 10, the season, I set myself the target of becoming more comfortable and more confident in the car, and on that side, my performance has been really good,” Daruvala told Maserati.

“Track position has been super important for the first three races, and I’ve been working hard to optimise my qualifying performances because starting well is a key part of scoring points in Formula E.

“I had a couple of difficult performances in qualifying to start the year, but in Diriyah, I made my first duel appearance, and I feel like the hard work I’ve been putting in is starting to pay off.

“I think push laps are where I feel most confident, but what has struck me so far with Formula E is just how mentally demanding the races are – there are so many different areas of performance to manage.

“In a 35-lap race, for example, I’m driving the car, meeting my energy-saving targets, managing my tyres, and I’m continually feeding back information to my engineers, all while racing wheel-to-wheel against 21 other drivers.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my career, but despite it being challenging, I’ve found it very rewarding so far.”

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