Kush Maini is very happy with the performance shown by both himself and his Invicta Racing team so far, giving him confidence about what they can achieve for the rest of the year.

Maini looked to have made a fast start to 2024 when he qualified on pole at the season-opener in Sakhir before a technical infringement relegated him to the back of the grid.

At the next round in Jeddah, Maini was promoted up to pole position after Oliver Bearman withdrew from the race weekend, with the Indian driver then finishing second in the Feature Race.

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He also finished third in the Melbourne Sprint Race after qualifying in P4 and heads into Europe fifth in the Drivers’ Championship with 33 points – 29 points off leader Zane Maloney.

Reflecting on his start to the season, Maini said: “I think I am happy with the speed we've shown. To be able to fight for pole on all three weekends so far and to be one of the quickest in one lap pace is very positive for me and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.

“Obviously the disqualification in Bahrain put us on the backfoot, we lost a lot of points there, and the strategy not falling our way in the Australia Feature Race as well. So, we've had a few big points missed, so for me it's not representative of where we should be in the Championship.

Maini has been pleased with the pace shown by him and Invicta this season
Maini has been pleased with the pace shown by him and Invicta this season

“But in F2, there is a long way to go, anything can happen and stuff changes really fast. As long as you are there or there abouts your time will come, and you will get lucky and unlucky some weekends so let's see.”

This is Maini’s second campaign in Formula 2 having raced in Campos Racing colours last season. So, how has he found the transition to driving for Invicta Racing so far this year?

“From the get-go I've had a very good relationship with my engineer. The team and I are working very strong together,” revealed Maini. “In testing, we did a lot of our plan, we are always on the same page, and we trust each other a lot.

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“I would say that is key to having a strong season, having that trust in the team and the team having that trust in me and that way you push forwards together. I think our relationship is very strong and I am looking forward to the European season.”

The trust Invicta have in him could also come from the fact that Maini says he is a more “mature” driver this year than he was in 2023.

With the experience of last season, he explains how his “mental approach” has changed, and it allows him to keep his emotions in check no matter the result and makes him better at communicating with the team.

This was shown at the recent in-season test in Barcelona where he and Invicta went through plenty of different setup options across the three days. Maini explained that while their baseline pace is strong, they need to be prepared for every eventuality.

Maini says he focused on a lot on long runs during the Barcelona in-season test
Maini says he focused on a lot on long runs during the Barcelona in-season test

“Obviously you don’t get a lot of time to test,” he explained. “So, it's a great opportunity to get three days, to test a lot of plans, a lot of aero testing, a lot of seeing how different things react on the car.

“Honestly, my focus was a lot of race runs but also just trying new things even in the quali runs so we don’t have the same car. We know our baseline is quick, but it’s also trying different stuff for the future. If you struggle with something, you might have found what you needed to know in the test.”

But attentions now will be firmly placed on hitting the ground running in Imola for Round 4 on May 17-19. Maini is feeling “positive” about their chances in Europe, citing Invicta’s form at the back end of last year where they achieved three wins and two pole positions as a reason to be optimistic.

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However, while he may be feeling good about their chances the unknowns about where they stack up compared to their rivals leave plenty up in the air. Maini does believe that the European circuits will show the true performance levels of each team.

“I think obviously at the start of the season there are a lot of tracks that are different to the European season,” explained Maini. “So honestly, we won't really know right now where we stand, it's track to track.

“So as soon as the European season starts, and we get more normal tracks back-to-back I think we will have a better idea of where everyone is. I think even last year we had a very strong start to my season and that didn't reflect what happened at the end.

“So, there is a lot that changes, so that's what I mean where you can't get too happy or too downbeat right now, a lot is going to change and in F2 every weekend it changes. So, you just never know, and I am just waiting for the European season to start.”