Top Malaysian prospect Jazeman Jaafar currently sits third in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship standings after the first four rounds of the season, with the Fortec Motorsports driver having finished on the podium three times so far, including his maiden victory at Monaco in May.
The series arrives at the Red Bull Ring in Austria this weekend for round five, with Jaafar one of only two drivers in the championship to have raced at this circuit in Formula Renault 3.5, but believes any advantage this will have will be nullified within half a dozen laps of practice.
“Pietro Fantin and I are the only drivers with FR3.5 series experience on this track, but that really doesn’t make much difference,” insisted Jaafar. “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.
“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.”
The PETRONAS Talent Development Programme driver understands the importance of starting the weekend on the front foot, with the Malaysian drive eager to have a good qualifying performance in order to have strong races on Sunday.
“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,” revealed Jaafar.
“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.”