Over the past few years, India has begun making strides in motorsport. Can Kush Maini be the driver to put his country on the map?
Although motorsport in India was introduced in 1904, it didn’t register on the world’s stage until 2004, when Formula 1 announced the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. Since then there have only been two Indian drivers within the sport: Narain Karthikeyan (2005, 2011-12) and Karun Chandhok (2010-11). Could F3’s Kush Maini join their ranks and become the first Indian F1 driver in this new era of sport?
Over the past few years, India has begun producing younger drivers to represent the country in the feeder series, such as Red Bull Academy driver Jehan Deruvula. More recently, attention has turned to Formula 3 and Kush Maini. Maini was born and raised in Bangalore, India, and is the younger brother to Arjun Maini, a former F2/GP2 and GP3 contender.
Following in his brother’s footsteps, Maini joined MP Motorsport, alongside Alex Smolyer and Caio Collet, for his maiden 2022 Formula 3 season. He finished fourteenth in the standings with one podium during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
— Formula 3 (@FIAFormula3) July 30, 2022
Building Through the Ranks
Maini is sponsored by Mumbai Falcons, an Indian-based motorsport team that recently won the Team and Drivers Championships earlier this year in the Formula Regional Asian Championship (FRAC). That team was made up of Arthur Leclerc, Dino Beganovic, Ollie Bearman, and Sebastian Montoya – with Leclerc winning the Drivers’ Championship.
Although Maini struggled at times during his rookie F3 season, he showed signs that he can continue his past successes at this level. In 2020 he finished runner-up in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, losing to Kaylen Frederick by just fifty-one points. In the 2021 F3 Asian Championship he finished the year strong with a podium in Abu Dhabi and in the points for seven of the final nine rounds. With Maini likely staying in Formula 3 for the 2023 season, can he rise up into the top 5 or 6 in the Championship?