Jazeman Jaafar, the leading Malaysian international single-seater driver, will be back on the track this weekend for his first races of 2014. Returning to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, the headline championship of the World Series by Renault, Jazeman travels to Italy and the famed Monza circuit for his first of nine rounds of racing.
Jazeman has moved teams for this season, joining ISR, a championship winning FR 3.5 Series team. In preparation for this year’s race programme Jazeman has been testing with the team at Motorland Aragon and Jerez in the two official tests for the series. Jazeman quickly established a great rapport with the team and proved just how strong a partnership he has built when he was the quickest driver on track in the first day of testing in Jerez.
The PETRONAS Talent Programme driver now turns his attention to the race season ahead and the opening round at Monza, the fastest circuit on the calendar. Entering its tenth season, the FR 3.5 Series is one of the most competitive championships with some of the best young drivers in the world competing head to head for the Series title.
Looking ahead to the first two races of the year at Monza, Jazeman says, “It’s been a long winter and finally I’ll be back racing again this weekend. I’m feeling very pumped and looking forward to the challenge. I expect that there will be a group of the same five or six drivers fighting up front with me and expect it to be a tough battle in every race. For Monza, the weather could play a big part as it is notorious for being very changeable at this time of year – it might be pouring with rain for qualifying and dry for the race – which will add to the challenge as well. Another factor is the tyres, as these are a different compound than last year. It’s the same for everyone though, so it’ll be a level playing field and we’ve all been able to do plenty of testing with them, so hopefully they won’t be an issue.”
Of his expectations for the weekend Jazeman adds, “I’m going out to get a win or a podium, but I’m also very aware that it’s a long season and that every point is crucial. I need to be accruing plenty of points every race weekend.”
Jazeman is comfortable with his new team, having worked closely with them through the winter. “I’ve settled in well” comments the 21-year-old driver. “We’ve gelled together very quickly and we all have the same motivation and expectations. We had some good results in testing and now just need to keep this high level of performance into the race weekends. It will be our first race weekend at Monza but that doesn’t worry me as I feel so at home with the team.”
As a series returnee, Jazeman approaches the season with a different mind set, explaining, “We’ve had better preparation than last year as there were reliability issues then which hampered some running. My confidence level is better as well. Obviously I have a year’s worth of World Series experience, as well as the time to plan, a strong test programme and a clearer picture for this year.”
Jazeman travels to Italy tomorrow and will be on track from Friday, with two practice sessions ahead of qualifying on Saturday morning. The first race is 45 minutes, starting at 4.15pm local time on Saturday afternoon, 12 April. A second qualifying session on Sunday morning, 13 April, precedes the second race of the weekend, also 45 minutes long, starting at 12.30pm. Both races will be shown on Eurosport, with live timing available at www.worldseriesbyrenault.com. Eurosport Asia will show the first race live at 22.00 and the second race at 18.15 on Sunday 14 April on Eurosport 2.