Jazeman Jaafar will be out on track fighting in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series this weekend, with the fifth round of the championship behind held at Red Bull Ring. After scoring a fourth place finish in Budapest last time out, Jazeman is hungry to be back on the podium to ensure he stays in the title fight.
The young Malaysian driver is one of only two drivers who have raced at the circuit in this series, but Jazeman knows that this will only be a slight advantage over his rivals. He says, “Pietro Fantin and I are the only drivers with FR3.5 series experience on this track, but that really doesn’t make much difference.
We all learn the track within about five laps and I’m sure most of the drivers will have driven it on a simulator or perhaps in a junior formula, although Roberto Merhi was there recently in F1. But I’ll take any advantage I have and if that means I can be one step ahead of my opposition when the tyres meet the tarmac, then that can only be good for me.”
Red Bull Ring, originally known as Österrichring, was built in the late sixties, with Formula 1 first visiting the circuit in 1970. The venue was a regular fixture on the calendar for many years, but dropped off in 1987. It was redeveloped in the nineties and, renamed the A1-Ring, it brought Formula One racing back to Austria in 1997. F1 was once again an annual event until 2003 and after further development the circuit, now named Red Bull Ring, returned to the F1 calendar in 2014.
Jazeman says of the track, “I always enjoy racing on F1 tracks. It’s my goal to be on the F1 grid, so gaining experience of these circuits is an important part of my racing education. The track has a challenging character, with high-speed corners and a low grip asphalt. It’s quite a good track for overtaking as well, which is always welcome.”
Of his expectations for the weekend, the PETRONAS Talent Development Programme driver adds, “It’s really important for me to be on the pace straight out of the box and I’m really pumped up to get the best out of the car and myself as soon as we hit the track. I need to nail qualifying too. It’s an area which I’m strong at this year, so I just need to continue to feature in the top five as a minimum. And for the races, podiums are the goal, but of course, winning is the ultimate aim.”
The first practice session will be held on Friday at 17h10. The second will take place the next day at 9h20. The Saturdayprogramme will be completed with qualifying sessions at 13h50 and 17h25. On Sunday, race 1 begins at 10h25, while the start for race two is scheduled for 18h20. They will be aired live on Eurosport 2 International, Eurosport UK and Eurosport 2 France.