IMOLA, Italy (25 July 2021) – Young Jak Crawford demonstrated why he is considered America’s top hopeful for Formula 1, dominating a Euroformula Open weekend at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. The 16-year-old Texan racer won two of the three weekend races on the fast circuit, in addition to a close second, the pole position and recording the fastest race lap in all three events.
“It was a very good weekend, for sure,” said the Red Bull Junior Team driver of Team Motopark’s No. 52 Dallara F320-Spiess VW. “I feel good; I feel confident. I’m feeling very good with the car, and I’m feeling good with my driving, as well.”
Crawford also had two firsts and a second at Paul Ricard, giving him four victories and two seconds this season. He placed fourth and was top rookie in the most recent event at Hungaroring in Budapest, and placed seventh in his first race at Portimao, Portugal, on his 16th birthday. Sunday’s weekend moves Crawford into third in the standings despite missing five races.
“I’m still hoping to make a run for the championship, and the goal is to keep gaining every race,” he said. “We outscored the championship leader by a lot this weekend.”
Crawford quickly took to the 3.05-mile circuit, where he won a Formula 4 event last November. Fifth in opening practice, he improved by 1.5-seconds to run second in the second session. He then went nearly two seconds faster in qualifying, capturing the pole with a lap of 1:34.886-seconds in a red-flag shortened session, putting 0.523-seconds on the second-place qualifier.
“We never put on new tires for the practice, so we were at a disadvantage at not knowing what it would be like going into the qualifying,” he said. “We did a race run in the second practice on very old tires, and we were still quite quick. We knew we had the pace, but we were waiting until qualifying to show everything.”
The Red Bull Junior driver quickly demonstrated that advantage in the opening race at sunset on Saturday. Pulling away at the start, he built up a nine-second lead, only to have a safety car erase that advantage. Undeterred, he pulled away at the restart and went on to win by nine seconds.
“My personal highlight of the weekend was probably race one,” Crawford said. “I was really quick and put out a nine-second gap. Then after the safety car, I put out another nine-second gap. Race one and qualifying were my standout sessions, way ahead of the field for sure.”
With the top six finishers from that race inverted for Sunday morning’s second race, Crawford got out in sixth at lights-out. He passed point leader Cameron Das on lap two, got around Louis Foster for fourth on lap three, and then put two wheels in the grass at the beginning of the following lap to take third.
Crawford then needed two laps to capture second, and he quickly caught up to the race leader. Crawford followed his F3 teammate Roman Stanek the remainder of the 19-lap event, making several attempts on the final circuit before coming up 0.125-seconds short.
“It was a good battle, for sure, but it was very difficult to overtake, which is why I ended up not passing him,” he said. “Roman drove a very good race. He was a little bit better off the last corner, as I was struggling with the dirty air, so he was able to keep the gap. We definitely had the pace and almost got the win, but I just wanted to keep it safe on the last lap to avoid any incidents.”
Running the fastest lap of the race put Crawford on the pole for Sunday afternoon’s final race. He took the lead at the start, closely followed by Stanek. A multi-car incident brought out a safety car on lap 3. Stanek regained the lead prior to crossing start/finish at the restart. With Stanek forced to return the position, Crawford then led the rest of the way, winning by 4.222-seconds.
“It was quite a difficult race,” Crawford admitted. “I took the lead but then there was a safety car. There was some oil dropped down in the last two corners, and when I went for the restart I slipped on the oil in the corner. That allowed Roman to get past me, but he overtook me before the finish line so he had to give the position back to avoid getting a penalty.
“After that, once I got back out in front, I pulled away and showed strong pace. I didn’t get to show my full pace in the second race.”
The next Euroformula Open event is at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on Sept. 10-12. This weekend, Crawford returns to Budapest for an FIA F3 race at Hungaroring, three weeks after competing there in Euroformula
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