formula one

India’s Arjun Maini not ready to test F1 car this season, says Haas team boss

The 19-year-old has joined the Haas F1 team as a development driver earlier this year, but is yet to get his ‘big break’.

Indian teenager Arjun Maini has a long way to go before he gets a chance to test a Formula One car, confirmed the US-owned Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner, PTI reported.

The 19-year-old Maini has joined the Haas F1 team as a development driver, alongside 18-year-old American Santino Ferrucci, but he will not get his ‘big break’ this season.

“We looked at Arjun back then and we were convinced that he has the talent. Getting him into a F1 car would attract good publicity but it won’t help him at this stage of his career. He is still too young for it,” Steiner was quoted as saying.

Steiner said having Maini on board was a win-win for both his team and the youngster but he would have to wait to realise his F1 dream.

“Let him focus on GP3 and we will see where we reach at the end of the year. He was in the simulator for the first time this month, so we will take it step by step. Getting into a F1 car when he is doing GP3 doesn’t really help a lot. Both cars are very different to drive,” he said.

Maini is currently ninth in the GP3 standings with the highlight of his season so far being the win in the sprint race at Barcelona.

More time needed in F1 feeder series

Steiner feels the Indian needs more time in the F1 feeder series, be it GP3, F2 of F3.

“We can always put him in the car when he is ready to take the next step, F2 or something similar which gets him closer to F1. As I said, it will be good publicity if he drives a F1 car right now but it doesn’t develop him as a driver.

“So we are not thinking about the publicity but are more interested in finding the next Indian driver in F1,” he said.

Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok are the only two Indians who have reached the pinnacle of motor racing.

Chandhok now happens to be Maini’s manager and played a big role in facilitating the Haas deal.

For Haas, association with an Indian provides them with an opportunity to create a fan base in a huge market like India.

“India is more than a billion people, it is a huge market. The Grand Prix there went away for the reasons unknown. But F1 needs representation from countries like India and China. There could a big fan base for the sport and that is what we are trying to do,” said Steiner.

Haas are only into their second season in Formula 1 and are currently fighting a fierce battle in the midfield. Force India are the sole midfield squad, sitting comfortably in the fourth spot.

“We want to finish as high as possible but in the current scenario, we could finish fifth and we could also finish ninth. That is how competitive midfield is and every week is a new challenge,” the team boss added.

Haas are seventh on 35 points, one more than eighth- placed Renault. Williams are fifth on 55 and Toro Rosso sixth on 40.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.