Is Red Bull Academy’s Jak Crawford ready for F2?

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 17: Jak Crawford of United States and Prema Racing (5) looks on during previews ahead of Round 1:Sakhir of the Formula 3 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on March 17, 2022 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Following Red Bull Academy’s Jak Crawford’s entrance into the 2023 Formula 2 season, we evaluate whether Crawford is ready for the next step.

Seventeen-year-old Jak Crawford is expected to race in the F2 next year for Hitech Grand Prix. If he lands the seat that would put him alongside fellow Formula 3 competitor and Red Bull Academy driver Isack Hadjar. Crawford had one victory and five podiums during the 2022 F3 season. Finishing seventh in the championship, should he be focused on F2 or F3 next year?

America to Red Bull

The American began his racing career at the age of six competing in karting competitions until 2018. He then spent a year in the IndyCar junior category, USF2000. But it was 2020 that really saw his career take off. Crawford joined the Red Bull Junior team in 2020 to compete in the ADAC F4 Championship and Italian F4 Championship.

Formula 3

The following year, Crawford made his Formula 3 debut with Hitech Grand Prix. His season was filled with ups and downs finishing thirteenth in the championship and one podium. Instead, he found far more success in the Euroformula Open Championship, with eight wins, finishing third in the title race.

For 2022 he switched to PREMA alongside Arthur Leclerc and fellow rookie Ollie Bearman. While he secured victory in the Sprint Race at the Red Bull Ring, Crawford finishes the season behind both his teammates. Bearman was third, Leclerc sixth, and Crawford seventh. Despite his difficult second season in F2, he made a somewhat surprising announcement.

Ready for F2?

Crawford would be making the step up to Formula 2 in 2023 along with his teammates. The announcement came as a surprise to many considering he has yet to truly contend for the F3 championship. However, Red Bull boss Helmut Marko has allegedly expressed his disappointment with their current Formula 2 Red Bull Junior drivers i.e. Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger, and Jehan Deruvula, after they failed to feature in the title battle.

Crawford’s promotion could be due to the failure of others, hence why his Red Bull Academy colleague Hadjar has also made the jump so soon. Crawford is only seventeen-years-old, which would make him one of the youngest drivers on the Formula 2 grid. With Red Bull keeping a close eye on him, is there too much pressure on the shoulders of the young American? Would he have been better suited for a third year in F3 going for the Championship?

Featured Image Credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images