A single 8th place finish, that’s all Jak Crawford got out of the third round at the Red Bull Ring. For the young American Austria was a case of what could have been as he was on course for maybe even a pole and a win.
Jak Crawford is the youngest driver in the FIA Formula 3 field and also one of the few drivers who, before this season, had no racing experience higher than Formula 4. The 16-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance in the first two rounds and he finished twice in the points, but Spielberg turned out to be a breakthrough performance for the Hitech driver. In speed that is, because the American Red Bull Junior left the country with a single points finish. Here is Crawford in his own words on what could have been.
“A weekend that could have been,” explained the 16-year-old American. “In Free Practice I was right there, just 4/1000s off the top and right from there we had really good speed and a really good car.
“In the Qualifying it was really unfortunate. After Run 1, we were 2nd, for Run 2 I was 5th overall, I encountered traffic at the end when I was improving, 1 and half tenths on the quickest lap so Pole was definitely potentially there for sure.
“A bit unfortunate but at least we were still up there. Better than the other rounds, I was able to get it together and get in the top 5 for Qualifying.
“Race 1 was quite difficult and fun. I would say it is quite difficult to race at this track because of all the DRS zones. I got off to a slowish start but after that the pace was really good. I started to gain on the others and in the end I was 5th. But then unfortunately I got a penalty for an incident, not really my fault, I was forced off track, I kept my position but was said to have gained and advantage by going off track. That was super unfortunate because there were a lot of track limit penalties and otherwise I would have ended up P2.
“So I started 5th for Race 2. I got up to 2nd after the Safety Car restart. Then the unluckiest thing happened, I was chasing down the leader, was about to get in the DRS and then I lost all compression in the engine and it basically died. Nothing I or the team could do. Really a shame, we were in the fight to win that one.”
“Race 3 starting 5th again, I had a decent start and was up into 4th. Others were on new tyres and I just didn’t have the pace to hold that position. Also with the engine change we had to make overnight we don’t think the engine was that powerful so that didn’t help.”
“I was still picking up the pieces of incidents and I was in 5th with 6 laps to go. Then with the Safety Car restart I lost the DRS and with 2 or 3 laps to go I made an unfortunate contact, I don’t know my view at the moment, I’d say 50/50. I lost my wing.”
“Kind of a weekend to forget but the speed was always top 3, top 5… but in the end we only walked away with a few points which is very sad as I think it could have been a 30 point weekend. Quite sad, a bit unlucky but at least we know the pace is there.”