Consistently in the mix through the weekend but bad luck and contact prevent points
MONZA, Italy (3 September 2023) – Despite showing strong pace in practice, qualifying and both races at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Jak Crawford’s Italian Grand Prix didn’t yield the results that the American Formula 1 hopeful had fought for in FIA Formula 2 competition. The visit to the hallowed Italian circuit came just one week after Crawford delivered a break-out weekend at Zandvoort, where he qualified on pole and brought home a Feature Race podium.
In Sunday’s Feature race, Crawford was once again right in the mix, making a dramatic three-wide pass to capture fifth place with 10 laps remaining. But a cut tire on the following lap saw him fall to 16th. He was able to race forward to up to 13th despite the ill-timed pit stop before wheel-to-wheel contact with two laps remaining resulted in damage that forced him out of the race. He was classified 16th.
“The Feature Race was very good,” Crawford said. “I made some good overtakes, and we fixed our car from Saturday, and I was quite happy with it up until that point. I think we would have ended up in third, because the car ahead still had to make a pit stop and I was a lot quicker than the driver right ahead of me.”
“I was just defending, and the driver behind me was closing and he decided to go for a move that wasn’t there and I got a puncture. Then, at the end, I got a broken left-rear, and that was that.”
On Saturday, Crawford started fourth but lost a position after contact at the start. He was sixth while involved in a spirited battle for position over the closing laps, but was penalized for going wide on the final lap.
“Saturday was a bit more of a struggle,” he said. “Attacking and defending is very different at this track than any other race. On the last lap, it was just a mistake on my part and I went off a little too much.”
For qualifying, Crawfords ability to set a quick time early once again paid dividends as he scored seventh-fastest overall despite not getting to run the final segment of the session.
Having set the sixth fastest lap early in the qualifying, Crawford encountered problems with an engine fire that prevented him from returning to the fray. Meanwhile, gamesmanship saw most of the other competitors run out of time as they stalled looking for spots in traffic for a fast final lap, with only one driver managing to post a quicker time. Last weekend at Zandvoort, Crawford’s early fast lap was good enough to stand up his first F2 pole as late red flags prevented the competition from gaining ground.
“Qualifying was weird again, getting our best lap on the first run,” Crawford said. “Then we had a fire in the fuel pump, so I was not able to go out again, because it would have been a safety risk. That was unfortunate for me, but luckily nobody else improved, and I only got jumped one spot. At the end of the day, we saved one set of tires.”
In contention all weekend, Crawford was seventh-fastest in Friday’s lone practice session for Hitech Pulse-Eight.
“We were quick straight away and practice was great,” he said. “I was feeling comfortable and I was happy with the setup from practice, even though we still had a bit of work to do.”
Crawford now gets a two-month break before the 2023 season comes to a close on Nov. 24-25 at Yas Marina Circuit in the United Arab Emirates.
“That’s where I did my first F2 test last year, and I’m looking forward to the end of the season,” Crawford said. “We’ll see what we can do to end it on a high. These past two weekends I thought we’ve done really well in the Feature Race, and I think we deserve another podium in the Feature Race, or even a win. I don’t have any plans for the upcoming weeks at the moment. Maybe I’ll go home for training and relaxing a bit, because the season’s basically over at this point. I’m still undecided on next year’s plans, but I’ll be back in F2.”