Exclusive Interview With Atharva Desai – The Formula 3 Driver of Indian Origin Who Idolizes Niki Lauda and Dreams of a Formula 1 Seat

Published 02/08/2022, 1:43 PM EST

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“I’m just here to bring myself into Formula 1. If I have a way, I’ll find my way.” This is the ideology that F3 driver Atharva Desai is following as he dreams of making it to the pinnacle of motorsports.

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Atharva Desai, still a teenager, is an Indo-American racing driver currently with Arden International Motorsports who looks up to Niki Lauda and rules out “a magic formula” for success in the sport.

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


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“He knew exactly what’s happening with the car. I’m trying to follow in his footsteps as well”

Simply by looking at the kind of racecar driver Atharva Desai looks up to, one gets a pretty good idea of what his idea of a racecar driver is, how he envisions himself as in the future.

Speaking about Niki Lauda, he said, “I love Niki Lauda a lot. He was extremely good at racing. Not only that, he was also a racecar engineer himself.”


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“He knew how to set-up a car, he knew how to feel a car, he knew exactly what’s happening with the car. I’m trying to follow in his footsteps as well. Not only be a good racer but be a racecar engineer as well.”

via Getty

He describes that as the reason he moved to Oxford in the UK. “Racecar engineering is most common over there.” 

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

Along with being a mix of the right amount of dreamer and the right about doer, he is also self-aware. He knows that it’s simply not racing talent that pushes drivers up the ladder.

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

“From my experience, getting into Formula One, there’s two parts – One is you, you have a lot of money, like quite a lot of money, and you buy towards the top, but you still have to be good at racing,” he said.

“And the second way is by someone picking you up looking at your talent, looking at your craft, and looking how you do 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 forward to the table’.”

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

via Imago

However, the young driver has no complaints or qualms against those who make their way to the top with heavy pockets. “I don’t really think that because they were given a silver spoon full of money means I’m very dejected, disappointed, and I don’t have anything against them either,” he said.

“I have set my goal, Formula One,” Desai said. “I’m just going to keep my head up and keep going forward.”

“2022 is going to be quite eventful” 


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The Arden Motorsports driver described how, because of the COVID pandemic, “a lot of things” had to be pushed forward. But when he gets back to the UK in the coming days, Desai will firstly rack up some points on the simulator.

After that, he revealed he has an invitation for a test day at Arden Motorsports.

“In terms of championships, I’m planning to do somewhere like GP three, and do a few races over there, get very competitive with it. And on top of that, when I come back to the US, I’ll be doing Formula 3 regionals, Sohar championship, so that’s my schedule laid out for just a few next few months,” he said.


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



Written by:

Shaharyar Khan Chauhan


One take at a time

Shaharyar is an F1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for a better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.
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