Podium and Points for Crawford Down Under

Ferrari 296 GT3 achieves podium in second SRO race
April 2, 2023
Helio Castroneves Earns Top-Ten Finish for Meyer Shank Racing in Texas
April 2, 2023
Show all

Podium and Points for Crawford Down Under

Experiences racing’s highs and lows in third F2 weekend

MELBOURNE, Australia (2 April 2023) – Running in only his third weekend of FIA Formula 2 Championship competition, American Formula 1 hopeful Jak Crawford had an impressive debut down under, recording his first F2 podium after scoring second in Saturday’s Sprint race at the Albert Park circuit prior to the Australia Grand Prix. The weekend also delivered disappointment, as Crawford’s effort to convert his debut podium into another points-paying result in Sunday’s Feature race was thwarted when he was taken out early in the race.

“It was really fun, and I’m happy to get my first points and my first podium,” the 17-year-old Red Bull Junior Team driver said of his first-ever weekend in Albert Park. “It’s been a tough start to the season, but we had good pace this weekend. It was a crazy weekend with mixed conditions.”

The 17-year-old Red Bull Junior Team driver from Texas ran with the contenders from the time Hitech Pulse-Eight Racing unloaded his car. He was fourth in the opening practice, running near the top throughout the session.

“We were quick in practice, which was a really good sign for the start of the weekend,” Crawford said. “We made a lot of changes since our last race at Saudi Arabia, and I’m glad those paid off.”

That momentum carried into qualifying, where he again ran in the top five for the first half, run in rain and treacherous conditions. He fell to ninth in the second half, before a late red flag negated his final lap that likely would have have moved him up.

“Qualifying was a bit unfortunate, because in the first half I was in the top three, top four every lap I did,” he said. “I then pitted early to put on a new set of tires, but I was never able to get in a lap in during the second half because I had a lot of traffic and was unlucky. But I was still happy with ninth at the end.”

Nevertheless, qualifying ninth put him on the outside of the front row for Saturday’s 22-lap Sprint race. He made several moves for the lead on the opening lap before settling into second, and held that position when a spin by a competitor resulted in a lengthy caution. When it began raining under the yellow, Crawford remained on slick tires. Rain let off when racing resumed with a two-lap charge to the finish, with Crawford finishing only 1.120-seconds behind the winner – earning eight points, his first F2 championship counters.

“The Sprint race was a crazy one,” he recalled. “It rained a lot just before the race – which was unexpected – before we committed to the dry tire. It was really tricky the first few laps, but as the race went on it got dry. I got a few attempts at the lead, but I wasn’t able to quite get the move done, I stayed with the leader in DRS for quite a few laps, but then I lost it. Then, near the end of the race, there was a safety car and it started to rain.

“That made it really interesting and very hectic for the teams and for myself. We had to commit to staying out, and at the end, it started to dry up. At the safety car restart, I was hoping I could get close again, but he had a good restart and I wasn’t able to. I wanted the win pretty bad. I was really close at the beginning. I had a bit more pace over the first couple of laps, but then he got away.”

Crawford started ninth for the Feature race, held in ideal conditions. He held ninth on the opening lap, coming out on top in a back-and-forth battle. Three laps later, his race was over when a competitor moved to his inside and then came across the track, forcing Crawford into a barrier.

“The Feature race was a different story, because it was completely dry,” he said. “We knew a lot of the guys ahead of me were going to start on the soft-compound tires, so we decided to start on the medium compound. I thought that was a good option. I made an overtake, but also was overtaken, but I was still in the top-10 after the first few laps. I was trying to make the tires last a long time. But in the end I got a bit unlucky and was taken out of the race. There wasn’t much I could do at that point. I really would have liked to seen how the race would have played out, because I think we could have gone on for a very good result, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. I’m still happy with the weekend.”

Next up is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 29-30, to be held at the Baku City Circuit.

“We’re looking good now, so I’m really looking forward to the next weekend,” he said. “Hopefully, we can have the same pace. This will be my first time going to Baku. It will be a new track, a new country for me. The track looks really fun, and Hitech as a team has had great success there in the past. I can’t wait to drive there, and I hope we have good speed.”