Jak Crawford ended the final day of pre-season testing in second position but that didn’t leave him downbeat in the desert. Across all three days of testing in Sakhir, the DAMS Lucas Oil driver was a consistent presence at or near the top of the timing screens.

While the familiar sentiment of it only being testing still applies, Crawford says that the French squad had made strides over the test and the feeling within DAMS was enthusiastic after the final chequered flag of the event.

“It was a very good test. We were always in the top five on day one and then we ended yesterday second behind Zane as well as today,” he said. “We did really well as a team figuring out this new car which was quite tricky to set up and we were trying a lot of different things.

“We were always quick, so that was a good thing and in terms of our race pace, we were also quick this morning, so it was a very, very solid test.”

It was the first time all of the new 2024 cars were on track together as teams got to grips with their machinery. At DAMS, the American says that the process of learning was smooth, and he felt they had achieved a great deal ahead of the opening race of the season.

Crawford made the move to the French team over the winter break and is learning quickly in his new surroundings. The 18-year-old feels as though they have begun to understand the new car very quickly, able to work around any issues with relatively little difficulty, a very positive sign he says ahead of the opening race.

“I mean, at the end of the day, it doesn't feel too dissimilar. You carry a lot of things over, especially with the tyres. Driving style-wise, there's little differences to get used to here and there but otherwise the feeling is generally the same even though we're quite a bit quicker than we were last year.

Crawford was inside the top five across multiple sessions and feels he has a good car underneath him
Crawford was inside the top five across multiple sessions and feels he has a good car underneath him

“So within the team, we’re gelling really well. I really enjoy working with them and the direction we're going is a good one.”

Still, with the first day of running hampered by torrential rain, not all of the objectives teams arrived with were achieved, and at DAMS it was no different.

Crawford admitted that despite his strong showing, there would still be unknowns heading into round one up and down the pitlane, but that he felt more than prepared for the return to Bahrain in a fortnight’s time.

“We haven't caught up. I think yesterday we had so many sets of tyres. Everyone was just going on new tyres, new tyres, new tyres. That never happens in Formula 2. It always feels like you're wanting more tyres. So we definitely missed out on some race running, race simulation stuff. “Things like qualifying trim stuff we got nailed down. But, we were only able to do a couple of race runs. So, in the end, we wanted to do more, but we were limited by that rain.

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“I’m very much looking forward to the race. We have a quick car and what's good is that we were always there. So, on the race weekend, we can help to put that together and hopefully go one step higher than we've been so far.”

During the event, Crawford was announced as the latest recruit at the Aston Martin Formula 1 team, joining the British outfit’s Driver Development Programme.

Crawford says that it has already been a useful experience so far, and that he was very much looking forward to working more closely with them having already conducted some simulator work in green.

“It's been a great experience so far. I've been working with them for about a month now doing some work behind the scenes, but it's going very well. I'm already gaining so much experience from the simulator work and just talking with the engineers there so it's already helping me out here.”