Isack Hadjar hopes his rookie season in Formula 2 will also be his last, as he targets a swift step up to Formula 1 in 2024.
Being one of six Red Bull juniors on the Formula 2 grid this season, Hadjar will likely face tough competition for any potential seat in F1 – from fellow rookies Zane Maloney and Jak Crawford as well as F2 returnees Dennis Hauger, Enzo Fittipaldi and Ayumu Iwasa.
Nevertheless, Hadjar is confident about the season ahead with Hitech GP off the back of a successful rookie campaign with the team in FIA Formula 3, where he finished fourth in the championship.
“My goal is to just have a really strong season and step up to F1,” Hadjar told Formula 2. “It would be great to just spend one year in F2, that would be ideal and then go to F1. That’s the main goal, so we’ll give it everything.
“I’m really excited, even if I knew I was stepping up since last year already. I’m excited to start the season with the same team. I know the team very well, I’ve done Asian F3 and Formula 3 with them, so I’ve put hours of work in with the guys.
“Now stepping up to F2, it feels quite familiar. To work with the same team, it feels quite normal and I’m happy to not move anywhere else – it feels like I have an advantage with that, so that’s great.”
All Red Bull juniors will have their sights firmly set on a potential AlphaTauri seat available for 2024, with Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries out of contract.
Hadjar sounds optimistic about the challenge that will face him at the opening round in Bahrain next month.
“F2 is really tough, even really good drivers take a few rounds to get their head into it. I think it’s a tough car to understand and the pit stops that are being introduced, and also the strategies, whereas in F3 it was just about pushing from the start to the end.
“Now, I think tyre degradation is the main limiting factor. Obviously, I won’t be 100 per cent ready for the first round because there’s not enough testing, but I hope to understand everything quite quickly to be fighting for race wins.”
Hadjar, who has been a Red Bull junior since 2022, spent time in Formula 2 machinery as he tested with Hitech in Abu Dhabi last November, but he noted that his lack of experience at tracks such as Jeddah and Baku could be a weakness in comparison to several of the returning drivers.
“In testing, the first two days were quite tricky, I was a bit far off. Then on the third day for some reason I was quite competitive. I found the car in the end to be quite similar to the F3 car in some ways, so I was feeling quite comfortable and felt great in the F2 car, so I think we’ll be quite competitive straight away.
“I’m really excited to go to Melbourne, and I don’t have any disadvantage going there because no one knows the track yet, but going to Jeddah or Baku where you have drivers like Théo [Pourchaire], Jack [Doohan] or Ayumu who already know the track, I think they have a pretty big advantage.”
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