One half of Hitech Pulse-Eight's all rookie 2023 Formula 2 line-up, Jak Crawford believes that teaming up with Isack Hadjar could be the perfect recipe to kick their driving up a notch and battle it out at the front.

The pair represent two of this six Red Bull juniors on the grid this year and face fierce competition from the likes of fellow rookie Zane Maloney and the returning forces of Enzo Fittipaldi, Dennis Hauger and Ayumu Iwasa.

However, despite not having an experienced driver alongside him as his benchmark, Crawford isn’t worried and reckons that the dynamic between the youngest duo on the grid will push them both to extract the maximum out of each other and the team.

“For me, I don’t think there’s much added pressure. From my side, it’s just about doing what I have to do and not worrying about the others’ results. We’re all different types of drivers with some in their second year and some in their first year. I think the best person to compare to is my teammate, so I’ll be comparing to him mostly. Then everyone else is on different teams and whatnot, so it’s not a worry for me.

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He added: “I don’t think it’ll be too big of a challenge. I think we have some good reference data from the previous two years from the team and as well, Isack and I are quite experienced in single seaters. I think we can really learn a lot from each other and develop the car and our driving to another level. So even though we don’t have an experienced teammate, I think we’ll work well together.”

Psyched up and eager to get started, Crawford seems to have already fallen back into a rhythm at Hitech, having previously made his Formula 3 debut with them in 2021. Whilst seeing the transition between the two Championships as more straightforward than his experiences two years ago, the 17-year-old admits he’ll be at a disadvantage, particularly having to face three new circuits within the first four rounds.

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“I don’t want to say anything too early, but I think it’s a bit easier going from F3 to F2 than going from F4 to F3 for me at least. It’s the same sort of structure – same amount of tyres, Practices and Qualifying, but the races are a little bit longer obviously. I think everything in F2 is just more of everything in F3, but it will still be really difficult and for sure, the experienced guys will have the upper hand, especially at the beginning of the season.

“There’s a bunch of tracks I don’t know, basically all the street tracks I’ve never driven on, which I think most of the experienced guys have by now – except for Melbourne. I’m sure in Jeddah my first few laps will be a bit off the pace since I’ve never driven there, and it’ll be my first street track. They’ll be tough, but I’m doing a lot of work in the sim and preparing for those tracks.”

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Last year, Crawford finish seventh in the F3 Standings, behind teammates and fellow F2 rookies Oliver Bearman and Arthur Leclerc. Reflecting on a title challenge that ultimately failed to materialise, he noted that there was one area in particular that held him back and is determined to learn from it by limiting his mistakes this time around.

“The main things for me are staying consistent and trying to limit the mistakes. Of course, I think everyone will make mistakes at some point, but it’s all about limiting those and I think just trying to learn as much as possible quickly and build momentum throughout the season since the season is so long.

He added: “I really don’t have any goals to be honest, but I think the main point for me will be improving every round. I’m being realistic, I’m pretty sure I won’t be out front in Bahrain, being realistic with how competitive the field is and how many good second year drivers there are. The goal is to be improving each round and eventually getting to a point where I can fight at the front.”

READ MORE: Iwasa: Rookie speed and potential was always there, but need to put everything together in 2023

Pre-season testing in Sakhir next week will be the American’s second opportunity behind the wheel of the F3 car following post-season testing at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi last November. Acknowledging that his first time out didn’t quite go according to plan, Crawford now wants to make the most of his three days of running with an eye to getting him and Hitech in the best shape possible ahead of the first round of the season in less than a month’s time.

“I don’t think I adapted too well, but I definitely had a lot to take away from it and already in the simulator I’ve been practising and getting better, which is a good thing. I had a crash on the first day, which was quite big, so I missed a lot of running time at the end of the first day and the beginning of the second. I kind of limited myself there, but I think it’s going to be a really close season once everyone gets to their peak performance.

“The first session will be about getting used to the car again and everything, but after that I’ll just have to work on improving my driving and what I need from the test. Then by the second or third day, I’ll start preparing for the race weekend and getting the car to how I like it and all that. It’ll be quite busy in testing and it’s really crazy to think that we only have three days of running until the first race weekend.”