Jaafar’s expectations for the weekend are cautious as it is a track which he hasn’t visited before and, unlike many circuits, he hasn’t sampled it on the simulator. He explains, “Red Bull Ring only opened a few years ago, having been closed for seven years. Since then there has only been one DTM event and an F2 championship round held at the track, so there is little recent track data available to work from. Competing in F3 Euro Series is a chance for me to learn these different tracks and that is the real purpose of going there. Of course I’m a racer at heart so that doesn’t mean I won’t be going all out to win as well, but as this venue is so new to me, I’m not sure how competitive I’ll be. “
Jaafar, part of the PETRONAS Talent Programme, is keen to continue the momentum as he heads to Austria, saying, “Having won a race at the last round of the F3 Euro Series I’m feeling confident I can be mixing it at the front again this weekend. However I’m still learning about the car’s characteristics when it’s running on Hankook tyres as we will be doing for this event, as well as not having any experience of the track, so it will be quite a challenge.”
The 19-year-old driver has had little time to reflect on his recent win, with a British F3 test straight after the Brands Hatch F3 Euro Series event, then a quick trip to Monaco for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, with the added bonus of seeing Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One team take second place, with Nico Rosberg claiming his second podium finish this year.
Of his busy calendar Jaafar says, “I’m really enjoying having such a busy diary and going from one event to the next. It means I am able to maintain my focus on racing and giving me the level of track time I need to keep improving and, ultimately, bring home the results I need. Even when I was in Monaco I was balancing the fun of being at the race track with the need to keep fit, but it wasn’t such a hardship to be running on the streets of such a famous F1 venue. When I was at the track I was also learning as well, being fortunate enough to be invited to the engineering sessions with the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS drivers, which is always a privilege and a great insight into the technical aspects of F1.”
The F3 Euro Series event at Red Bull Ring starts on Friday 1st June with a pre-event test. Qualifying and two races take place on Saturday 2nd June with the final race of the weekend on Sunday 3rd June. Live timing and live streaming of all the races is available at www.f3euroseries.com