Exclusive interview with Atharva Desai – The Indian-born Formula 3 driver who idolizes Niki Lauda and dreams of a Formula 1 seat

“I’m just here to get into Formula 1. If I have a way, I’ll find my way.This is the ideology that F3 driver Atharva Desai follows as he dreams of reaching the pinnacle of motorsport.


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Atharva Desai, still a teenager, is an Indian-American racing driver currently with Arden International Motorsports who admires Niki Lauda and rules out “a magic formula” to be successful in sports.

In an exclusive interview with EssentiallySports, Atharva spoke candidly about his idols, his goals, his future and what he thinks is the key to reaching the top.


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“He knew exactly what was going on with the car. I’m also trying to follow in his footsteps.”

Just looking at the kind of race car driver that Atharva Desai looks up to, you get a pretty good idea of ​​what his idea of ​​a race car driver is, how he sees himself in the future.

Speaking of Niki Lauda, ​​he said, “I really like Niki Lauda. He was extremely good at racing. Not only that, he was also an automotive engineer himself.

“He knew how to tune a car, he knew how to feel a car, he knew exactly what was going on with the car. I also try to follow in his footsteps. Not only to be a good racer, but also to be a race engineer.

Niki Lauda, ​​BRM P160D, Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco, June 03, 1973. (Photo by Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images)

He describes this as the reason he moved to Oxford in the UK. “Racing car engineering is most common there.”

“I set my goal; Formula 1. I’m just going to keep my head up and keep going” – Atharva Desai

Besides being a mixture of the right amount of dreaminess and right to act, he is also self-aware. He knows it’s just not pilot skill that pushes pilots up the ranks.

But he also believes it’s not factors like finances and sponsors that are key to locking down a seat in a race car.

“In my experience, getting into Formula 1 there are two parts – the first is you, you have a lot of money, like a lot of money, and you buy upwards, but you always have to be good at racing,” he said.

“And the second way is someone picking you up looking at your talent, looking at your craft and looking at how you’re doing on the outside. Depending on the team, what they’re looking for, you can say, “Okay, I want someone who’s not only good at racing, but can also bring something to the table.”

“You can be the fastest driver on the track and we’ll pick you up, it’s more synergy. I won’t put a special percentage on it. said Desai.

Atharva Desai

However, the young rider has no complaints or qualms against those who make their way to the top with deep pockets. “I don’t really think that because they were given a silver spoon full of money, I’m very discouraged, disappointed, and I have nothing against them either,” he said.

“I have set my goal, Formula 1” said Desai. “I’m just gonna keep my head up and keep going. »

“2022 is going to be quite eventful”


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The Arden Motorsports driver described how, due to the COVID pandemic, “many things” had to be pushed forward. But when she returns to the UK in the next few days, Desai will first rack up some points on the simulator.

After that he revealed he had an invite for a day of testing at Arden Motorsports.

“In terms of the championships, I plan to do something like GP three, and do some races there, get very competitive with that. And on top of that, when I come back to the States, I’ll be racing the regionals of Formula 3, in the Sohar championship, so that’s my program for the next few months. he said.


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Beyond that, the remaining months of this year after the F3 regionals will be “must be planned as you go” according to Atharva Desai.

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