Bengaluru boy Yash Aradhya is on a high. The 17-year-old, who recently got the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2020, is aiming to be India’s next Formula-1 racer. In a chat with TNM, he speaks about how he got interested in motor sports and his dreams for the future.
“I liked playing tennis, cycling and racing right from childhood. But being a part of Formula-1 has always been the dream,” says Yash.
Speaking about getting the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar this year, he says, “The nomination came as a surprise, because I believe I still have a long way to go. I was nominated by our Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya. The entire experience of visiting the Rashtrapathi Bhavan was memorable in itself, but the fact that the event was held on Republic Day made it nothing short of a dream come true.”
Yash’s innate passion for racing was first observed by his father Sujith Aradhya post a go-karting stint. The latter decided to tap into his then nine-year-old son’s talent and enrolled him in professional racing training.
Currently mentored under Akbar Ebrahim, the racing trainer, Yash has his sights set on a bigger innings, and is grateful for all the support he has received from his school. He passed the ICSE Boards from Bishop Cotton Boys School, Bengaluru, and hopes to go the extra mile while pursuing his ambitions, without letting other areas of life take a backseat.
Taking us through a regular day, Yash says, “While it’s honestly all about striking that balance, I’m really grateful to all my teachers and principal who’ve been extremely supportive of my extra-curricular pursuits. I’ve been exempted from classes during international gigs, and was given ample chances to attend special classes to make up for it. I don’t think it would’ve been possible without the support of my teachers and the management at school. Everyone around me was just focused on helping me achieve my dream—they somehow just knew that I could make them proud. I’m usually up by 5.30 am and go to bed by 9.30-10 pm post practice.”
Like most sportspersons, Yash follows a prescribed diet. “I follow a balanced diet under the guidance of nutritionist Ryan Fernando. He monitors my health regularly and suggests superfoods to help me perform at my peak during races, this diet helps me build strength and stamina during training.”
Yash was also nominated by the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India (FMSCI) and represented India in the CIK FIA Academy Trophy, a Global Karting event held in Spain, Belgium and France. What’s more, Yash went on to compete at the Rotax Max Asia Series, where he finished fourth in the championship.
Unlike most people his age, Yash has made a conscious choice to not be hooked to social media. “I’m on social media, but I’m not very regular. I’m not someone who fears missing out on what’s trending online. So that, in a way, keeps me aloof from trolls or the stuff people just say for the sake of it,” he says.
His tryst with Formula 4 cars began in the JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship with the Formula 4 BMW car in the year 2018, and MRF MMSC FMSCI National Racing Championship with the Formula 4 1600 car. He ended in the top five finish in the championship and got six podiums for that year.
Armed with eight years of training and counting, Yash has bagged quite a few biggies —13 championship wins and 65 podium finishes in his journey so far. He won the title of ‘The Karter of The Year’ at age 11, and followed it up by making his debut as a Formula-4 racer in the South East Asia Championship. Not too long ago, Yash was selected by Narain Karthikeyan, to compete in SuperSpeed Chennai team.
The ardent tennis buff, who’s also a huge fan of Roger Federer, believes that training in Europe has strengthened his skills set. The focus continues to be on making India dominate the Formula 4 series.
At 17, Yash who seems to be grounded and wise beyond his years, has a tip for millennials: “I think, the most important thing is to know what you really like and do everything in your capacity to be the best at it. Follow your heart—it’s really that simple.”
The promising sportsperson has his sights set on bigger goals in the near future. “The plans are yet to be announced with regard to where I’ll be racing this year. I will probably have to sit down with my mentors and decide on my next move. But, yes, I have my sights set on bigger things,” he signs off.