Asian Motorsport sits down with Indian-Hong Kong racing driver Kai Daryanani for an exclusive interview ahead of his final race weekend in the 2024 F4 UAE season.

By Mila Kirsten, with additional reporting by Mo Abbas

Origins

AM: You race under a British license with the Indian flag and the Hong Kong flag on your car. Where is home for you?

KD: “For me, home is Hong Kong because I was born and raised there. And I’ve lived there my whole life. But obviously, India is there because both my parents are from there. I’ve got family there. So that’s kind of, I guess, where my roots are. And I’ve visited India numerous times. So that’s why we have also both flags on the car.”

AM: What has it been like growing up in Hong Kong?

KD: “It’s been really good. I think, as a city, it’s really safe. There’s so much you can do. I mean, the food’s great. The people are really great. So, there’s not much you can go wrong with in Hong Kong. I mean, you can be in the city, you can be on the beach; it’s an amazing city.”

AM: How has growing up in Hong Kong affected your racing career?

KD: “It hasn’t made it any easier necessarily. Because Hong Kong doesn’t have any tracks and anywhere you can really race or practice. Obviously, I’ve got a simulator at home. So that helps. I had to go to China in the beginning to go karting, and then I had to fly to the UK, Europe, and of course, here in the UAE, in order to race.”

Life Outside of Racing

AM: What are your hobbies and interests outside of racing?

KD: “Before I started, I used to do a lot of sports. I would run, I would bike, I would swim, and I played tennis. Those are a lot of things I really enjoyed doing. I think as well, I was playing video games with my friends online. I would also sometimes cook at home or bake.”

AM: You spent most of last year racing, doing more miles than most junior drivers would do in a few years. How did this period of time affect your personal life and interests?

KD: “It affected my personal life for sure. The goal of last year was to try and catch up on the 10 years of experience that everyone else has over me. So, the mileage has been in order to catch up on that experience. And because of that, I don’t feel obviously I’ve had a lot of free time, but I’m not too fussed about that.”

AM: In this period of intense racing, did you ever find time for non-racing activities or interests?
KD: “Not really, it was mostly a full-time thing. There are some times on the side when I’d be able to hang out with my friends or my family, but it was quite limited.”

AM: Was that enjoyable for you?

KD: “It wasn’t too difficult in that sense. Because racing is my biggest passion, it’s my main interest, and I’m more than happy to dedicate every bit of time I’ve got to it.”

AM: Outside of race weekends, do you like to be alone or with others?

KD: “It depends. If we’ve got a long break, I’m happy to be around people and hang out and socialise, but I think when it’s kind of in the thick of it and a lot of things are happening, I feel like I’m better off to be sort of myself, getting through it and doing what I need to do.”

Inspirations & Achievements

AM: Who or what motivates you the most in your life?

KD: “My mum motivated me a lot in terms of not coming from a lot of experience compared to the rest of the grid. But she taught me that doesn’t mean anything, and it shouldn’t slow me down in any sense.”

AM: Who is your biggest inspiration?

KD: “My mum’s inspired me in a lot of ways, but I think some of the Formula One drivers are also big inspirations for me. My favourite driver is Daniel Ricardo because his racecraft is something I admire. Also, Carlos Sainz because of his work ethic and what he’s done to try and overcome any odds that have been against him.”

AM: Looking back on your life, what is one thing that you’ve done that you’re proud of the most?

KD: “I would probably say my Brands Hatch GP win in the GB4 because it was my first win. On that day, I proved to myself that I am capable of doing this. And so that kind of made me feel a bit better about what I was doing and then gave me some confidence.”

AM: Who do you think helped you reach that achievement?

KD: “I think for sure that the people around me were instrumental to my win. Especially my coach and manager, Dan Wells, who has led me throughout the whole process. His support has been crucial in my in my progress. Of course, both my parents, my mom for supporting me the whole way and my dad for funding it as well. He’s been really supportive.”

Looking ahead to the rest of 2024, Kai will be racing with FORTEC in the British F4.

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