News 03 Mar 2023

Hitech GP stand ready for FIA Formula 2 curtain raiser

Hitech GP will kick off their FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign with a double header at the Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain this weekend [4-5 March].

It’s a new season, and with it plenty of change at Hitech, as the team kick off another 14-weekend trip around the world in the globally recognised feeder series to Formula 1 ®.

From a brand-new driver line-up to pre-season testing and where to catch all the action live this weekend, here’s everything you need to know to get up to speed ahead of the season opener!

A driver line-up with a unique twist…

There’s a unique quality to Hitech’s driver pairing for 2023, with Red Bull-backed duo Hadjar and Crawford forming the only all-Rookie line-up in the field.

Hadjar widely impressed with the Silverstone team in FIA Formula 3 last term. The French driver claimed fourth overall in a highly-competitive field, enjoying three wins – at Sakhir, Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring – as notable highlights along the way.

In doing so, the 18-year-old extended his enviable run of winning at every stage of his single seater career, after similar success on his remarkable four-year rise from FIA Formula 4 through to F2, the final step on the ‘Road to F1’.

On the other side of the garage, it’s a Hitech homecoming for Jak Crawford, the North Carolina native returning to the team with which he contested his first F3 campaign back in 2021.

After a stellar career in karting, Crawford made a similar splash on his single seater debut in 2018, finishing as vice-champion in F4 NACAM, before storming to the same accolade in the German equivalent the following year.

That prompted a full-time move to Europe for the 17-year-old, and he makes the step up to F2 after further front-running campaigns in Euroformula Open, then FIA Formula 3.

Starting 2023 on the front foot…

Pre-season testing in the sands of Bahrain proved fruitful for the team trackside, with Isack and Jak completing a combined 337 laps of the 5.4-kilometre Sakhir circuit.

With a new season comes a bedding-in period, for personnel trackside as much as the drivers, and the three-day official test last week gave the team the perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for a productive season ahead.

“Obviously, it is the first time out after the off season so there is such a variation of things you are working on and looking at. Whether that be one or two new people in the teams finding their feet, the drivers get back into the swing of it and bedding things in ready for the season,” explains Hitech GP Director, Oliver Oakes.

“They all got on really well – especially the working approach inside the team. What was really nice is all of them know us well as a team, which means we have been able to hit the ground running. Isack obviously stepping up from F3 with us last season and Jak was with us in his rookie year in F3 so it’s sort of a home coming.

“We have been really happy that all of them seem really well integrated inside the team, and we have a good strong relationship to start the season. This aspect is really important considering we only had these three days of testing before Round 1.”

There’s little to be read into the timesheets during testing, but all the signs point towards another positive year on-track for the team.

The view from inside the cockpit – Jak Crawford

“It [testing] was very, very positive for us and the team. We had good pace, and I don’t think the time sheets really showed what we have. I think we had really good speed and I improved a lot from the post-season test last year. It gives me a really good feeling going into the first round.

“The biggest thing I learnt was just through driving and getting more experience in the car. I think that’s all I really needed; I was immediately up to pace. After that, it gave me a good baseline to work from and I was able to work on my driving. We learnt a lot of things about the car and my driving as well, so there’s stuff to be improved.”

When are the cars on track, and where can I follow all the action?

Each event in FIA Formula 2 consists of a 45-minute practice session on Friday, followed by the all-important qualifying half-hour.

The top ten qualifiers are reversed to form the grid for the Sprint Race on Saturday, before the weekend concludes with the showpiece Feature Race in the build up on Grand Prix Sunday.

The timetable for this weekend in Sakhir is as follows:

Friday – Practice 09:05, Qualifying 16:30

Saturday – Sprint Race 13:15

Sunday – Feature Race 10:20

*all times GMT

Fans watching in the UK can watch the action unfold live on Sky Sports F1.

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