Axed Red Bull prodigy hits out at ‘unfair’ Helmut Marko ahead of switch to F1 rivals | F1 | Sport

Jak Crawford is set to join the Aston Martin driver academy for the upcoming 2024 season after departing the Red Bull setup at the end of 2023. The American prodigy has complained of ‘unfair’ and ‘brutal’ treatment from advisor Helmut Marko during his time in their junior ranks.

The 18-year-old went into his rookie Formula Two campaign with plenty of hype following a seventh-place finish in the 2022 Formula Three standings. However, inconsistent performances outnumbered some impressive drives as Crawford ended the year 13th in the standings.

Despite an underwhelming finishing position, there were plenty of positives to take and Crawford secured five trips to the podium, and even a sprint race victory. This wasn’t, however, enough to keep him involved with the Red Bull junior programme for another season, and he was dropped over the winter. 

Speaking about his experience with Marko during his time in the Red Bull setup, Crawford told Racer: “His conversations are very short, very straight to the point. Sometimes he’s brutally honest. That’s the right way to say it. Sometimes it can be too brutally honest, where it can be unfair at times, if you want to say, but it’s not so bad. To me it was very, very short, and very to the point.”

Racer have reported that Crawford is now set to join the Aston Martin academy for the upcoming season, while also competing in his sophomore F2 campaign with DAMS. Explaining his feelings heading into the 2024 season, he said: “I’m really, really excited. I’ve never been more excited for a year of racing, that’s for sure. 

“It’s definitely going to be busy as well. With DAMS, doing lots of prep, traveling to France, a lot to do work with them. And as well with the F1 team doing lots of sim work for them as well, which will be good experience. I’m hopefully getting into an F1 car at some point, which will also be very good experience.

“I can say I’m very much looking forward to the year. My priority is of course F2. It’s a very important year for myself and in my second year. With the new car, I feel like the team and I have a very good opportunity to perform well. And I’m super excited for this year.

“I think it’s definitely possible to fight for the championship this year. That is my goal. And it’s also one that the F1 team has set out for me. It’s not like I’m under a lot of pressure from them to do that, it’s obviously just a goal, but it’s a goal for myself as well. So we’re on the same page.”

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