Promising F2 Debut for Jak Crawford in Bahrain

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Promising F2 Debut for Jak Crawford in Bahrain

SAKHIR, Bahrain (5 March 2023) – Jak Crawford had an impressive debut weekend in FIA Formula 2 competition, with the Red Bull Junior Team driver placing 14th and 12th at the Bahrain International Circuit with a pair of strong finishes.

The 17-year-old Texan entered the weekend without major expectations as he made his first-ever start in the penultimate step on the FIA’s major open wheel ladder.

“It was definitely tough, but it was a really positive weekend because I learned so much,” said the Hitech Grand Prix driver. “There is so much to take away from the opening race that we can use as a memory for the rest of the season.”

Friday’s qualifying went without incident. His best lap of 1.42.234-seconds was 19th-fastest in the competitive 22-car field, just over 1 second off the pole.

“Qualifying was so close, and every small thing mattered,” he said. “We just weren’t able to make the most of it, and struggled a bit as a team in qualifying, but the rest of the weekend went quite well.”

Crawford took a conservative start in Saturday’s 23-lap Sprint race, losing ground early but rebounding with a patient and calculated push forward, racing up to 10th in the order at the checkered flag. A post-race track limits penalty cost him five seconds as he was classified 14th  in the final results.

“We did a different strategy for the Sprint race,” he said. “We started on the hard tire compound, and everyone else went with the softer compound. It really paid off at the end, I was making up tons of positions, and really had a lot of pace at the end of the race. I didn’t end up taking any points, but it was a good race with our strategy.”

Sunday’s 32-lap Feature race saw Crawford make a more aggressive start as he moved from 19th in the order to 13th but then lost positions after being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a mid-race incident.

“I gained a bunch of positions at the start, but then I sort of got caught up in the incident ahead of me,” Crawford explained. “That really hurt me, because I think I would have had a totally different race if I hadn’t lost those three or four positions. I actually had a lot better start than it shows.”

The longer race saw Crawford’s first scheduled pit stop in major open wheel competition. He was one of the final drivers to pit, and was running third when he stopped with 15 laps remaining for the mandatory tire change. He rejoined the race in 15th, and began regaining positions down the stretch.

“It was all good for the team today, and it was good from my side as well,” said Crawford. “I’m quite happy with the pit stops. I think it adds another dynamic, which is good.”

Again, Crawford had a very strong finish, gaining a position on the final lap while in the hunt for a top-10 points-paying position.

“We almost reached the points, and I think with a different strategy we might have been in a different place. But that’s how the race goes, and we’ll learn from it. I was close to the points, and that’s something to be positive about.”

Crawford’s learning season takes another big step in two weeks, when he competes on the fastest street circuit in the world in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve never been to Jeddah before, and I’ve never driven a street track before, so it will be all new,” he said. “I’ll make sure I do a lot of preparation, and I’m really looking forward to it. Jeddah will be a fun track, and I definitely think I will do better than this weekend.”