Mumbai Falcons have big ambitions for 2022. The Indian team were supported by Prema for the Formula Regional Asian Championship (FRAC) and dominated the field, winning the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championship comfortably with drivers such as Arthur Leclerc, Dino Beganovic, Sebastián Montoya and Ollie Bearman. This is however only the start.
By Tyler Foster
After speaking to them prior to FRAC, we recently caught back up with their CEO, Moid Tungekar, and Team Principal, Armaan Ebrahim, to discuss the next stage of their big plans for Indian motorsport in 2022.
FRIC and Indian F4
Mumbai Falcons have been an integral part in the creation of the inaugural Formula Regional Indian Championship (FRIC) and F4 Indian Championship (F4 India), which start later this year in November. These will be the first FIA-sanctioned championships in India and open up one of the largest markets in the world to the circus of motorsport.
“We are really looking forward to hosting everybody for FRIC and F4 India and really show what we’ve got here”, Tungekar said. “Our organisation is building the infrastructure currently. We hope that India becomes the first step in driver development and the destination for motorsport.”
Towards the end of the year, we will see a very different landscape in the Indian ecosystem, with regards to motorsportMoid Tungekar (CEO of Mumbai Falcons)
“People have started viewing this [in India] as a serious sport that they would like to help and get behind. We’re seeing great support coming from our country. It’s nice to see that the tides are changing and I think that motorsport is going to be an integral part of India very soon. Towards the end of the year, we will see a very different landscape in the Indian ecosystem, with regards to motorsport.”
Team Principal, Armaan Ebrahim, who presided over the team’s FRAC success, spoke further about the new championships and the hope to develop young talent both domestically in India as well as from abroad.
“In terms of the younger generation of drivers, the buzz is great”, Ebrahim said. “Young kids see that there is a solid platform and a ladder that is being created in India. We are heading in the right direction to set up our platform to have the next generation of drivers coming through.”
Setting up national championships for young drivers is one thing, but spotting the talent to compete in them is another. They will be using “a karting hunt on a city-to-city basis” to increase participation amongst the domestic talent pool.
“We’ve been involved with the domestic scenario for quite some time now and running a lot of the national events in karts and cars for the Indian drivers coming up. Once the hardware arrives, we will get a testing plan in place, not only for Indian drivers but for international drivers as well. Our F4 UAE participation really showcased how we are trying to nurture young Indian talent.”
Our F4 UAE participation really showcased how we are trying to nurture young Indian talentArmaan Ebrahim (Mumbai Falcons Team Principal)
The Mumbai Falcons have been clear from the start that these new series are not exclusive, with Tungekar saying, “We are an international championship so it is not only for Indian drivers. We want a good amount of international participation to come and use this as a solid Winter Series that turns into a mainstream series over time.”
The Indian outfit will be amongst those at European events in the summer, scouting for talent for their championships. Ebrahim made a point of the availability of the Indian championships to drivers, saying, “we don’t clash with either Europe or the Middle East, so we fit in perfectly just before the winter break. It’s a good time for people to come and finish the year off.”
In an interview prior to the start of FRAC, Armaan Ebrahim said that “Our goal is obviously to win”, when discussing their ambitions in the Winter Series. They certainly achieved this, winning seven of the fifteen races. Their CEO, Moid Tungekar, described the team as being “elated” with their performance in FRAC.
“We are over the moon”, Tungekar said. “It’s something that was a dream. We had fantastic drivers, incredible personnel; both administration as well as technical operation wise, it went flawlessly. We bonded very well with the entire team. When you create more personal connections with people, that’s when everybody within the team gets behind you and they are all fighting for a common cause.”
We had fantastic drivers, incredible personnel; both administration as well as technical operation wise, it went flawlesslyMoid Tungekar
The highlight for the Falcons during the series was certainly the 1-2-3 they achieved in Round 3 at Dubai. Tungekar described it as “a little bit of a surprise to us as well” but that “it was a dream come true moment” for the team. With their driver line-up of Arthur Leclerc, Dino Beganovic, Sebastián Montoya and Ollie Bearman, they certainly got the most out of their abundant talent.
It’s no secret that the Mumbai Falcons have been working closely with Prema throughout their operations. After all, learning from the best in the feeder series business from Europe to develop their own success is not a bad business practice.
“Motorsport is like a pursuit of precision”, Tungekar said, “and Prema, just watching how precise they are essentially is what we are aiming to take back to India; that pursuit for precision.”
While Prema will be offering a “technical alliance for the Indian championships”, the Mumbai Falcons have expressed their interest in becoming more independent, with the hope of competing in more global championships relatively soon.
Preparation for FRIC and Indian F4
Tungekar said that while their excellent performance at FRAC was something to be celebrated, they remained grounded and “got stuck right back into it”.
“There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done for our championships. I think we’ve got a great interest now after FRAC in the FRIC and F4 India. Drivers now see that their expectations will be met with great technical service as well as great backing.”
With still well over half a year until the first rounds of the championships, Tungekar said that, “we’ve got a few more projects under our belt, which we are going to start construction on relatively soon.”
Mumbai Falcons are extremely proud of their association with the development of the new Indian championships and everything that comes with it, whether that is the nurturing of drivers and team members such as mechanics and engineers, or even the construction of new permanent circuits.
We are currently building our workshop which is going to be located in Pune, close to our baseMoid Tungekar
“We have something in place where there’s going to be a knowledge transfer and skill development for Indian mechanics and engineers, events managers, essentially the entire spectrum that is related to motorsport. We will start enacting that very quickly. We are currently building our workshop which is going to be located in Pune, close to our base.”
Multiple new circuits are currently being overseen in India, with the Mumbai Falcons responsible for a number of these, such as the FIA Grade-2 new Coimbatore circuit and a few CIK Grade 1 Karting facilities.
“We’ve exceeded the expectations of the designers. A few more of our circuits are going to be coming up soon. We’ve been fortunate enough since we’ve started to have a lot of people engage with us and try to develop something to support the sport.”
Talking FRAC with commentator Jake Sanson (article continues below)
International FRIC broadcasting
Lastly, the hope of CEO Moid Tungekar is that both new Indian series will be a global spectacle, with an international audience similar to how the FRAC series they competed in was. They have been negotiating deals to make this a reality, while also building their own commentary team including Jake Sanson who will return to the team after working with them for FRAC.
We have already spoken to him about covering the Indian Championships and he’s agreed, so Jake will be part of our teamMoid Tungekar
“Jake [Sanson], we met last year in 2021 and started working with him. He was doing a lot of the on-the-ground interviews. We continued this year with Jake. He’s a great commentator, he keeps the pulse light, funny as well as intriguing. We have already spoken to him about covering the Indian Championships and he’s agreed, so Jake will be part of our team. We do have a few other international commentators that we are speaking to, so we hope to include them within the team going forward.”
It may be a while until FRIC and F4 Indian get underway, however the hype and momentum for them as championships is something that Indian motorsport has never seen before. The most important thing is these next few months of preparation as the Mumbai Falcons continue their rise with the use of their current momentum from FRAC to propel Indian motorsport back into the limelight.
Header photo credit: Prema Racing
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