A file photo of Shahaan Engineer. Photo credit: Chris Schotanus/Essay Produkties
There probably aren't many 17-year-olds around the world whose diet doesn't include any fried or oily foods. But then again, not many of them are embarking on a single seat racing career.
Mumbai-born Shahaan Engineer's efforts to establish himself as a potential F1 driver got a significant boost this weekend. He earned two pole positions and two second place finishes in the three-race round of the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.
Engineer is competing in his first full season of car racing after two years of karting in 2007 and 2008. Which serves to amplify his first career pole position and podiums since he is competing against drivers who have at least one year of racing under their belts. This includes his Fortec Motorsport teammates Jake Dennis and Josh Hill, son of 1996 F1 champion Damon Hill. Dennis and Hill have five years of competition between them.
Outqualifying Dennis (who leads the points standings) and Hill and finishing ahead of them in two races at the track that used to be a mainstay in F1 might not be enough to satisfy Engineer's ambitions.
"I want to get into F1 as early as possible," Engineer told HT. "I've given myself a window of the ages of 19 to 28 to do so."
The team he would ideally want to race for? McLaren, rather than Italian giants Ferrari who seem to be the team of choice for most young racers.
"My favourite racing driver of all time is Ayrton Senna," said Engineer. "Plus I can actually understand the stuff that McLaren post on their Twitter feed. Ferrari always posts stuff in Italian, which I can't understand!"