Thursday January 24, 2013
Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar to bide his time for F1 drive
By LIM TEIK HUAT
KUALA LUMPUR: Jazeman Jaafar is giving himself three to four years to break into Formula One.
Jazeman is taking a big step by moving to the more challenging Formula Renault 3.5 World Series with Carlin Motorsports this year.
He heads an eight-man line-up in the 2013 Talent Development Programme announced by Petronas Motorsports yesterday.
Jazeman marked his third year in the British F3 International Series last season with an overall second-place finish. And he is determined to make the best of the opportunities that come his way as he continues to enjoy Petronas’ backing.
“I am knocking on the door of F1. The Formula Renault 3.5 World Series is just one step away and I think the F1 teams are watching what we are doing.
“It is going to be an important year for me and it will decide my future.
“My focus is on getting the results. It will be a learning curve and I should be doing another season.
“If I do well, there is every chance of getting an offer to drive on the Friday sessions at the F1 Grand Prix weekends.
“I do not want to push myself too hard as I am just 20. I feel I am still on track as Lewis Hamilton only got to drive in F1 when he was 22.
“I do not just want to drive in F1 but to drive well when I am there,” said Jazeman when contacted at his London base yesterday.
Jazeman, who gave up a chance to pursue graphic design studies to focus on building up his racing career, is the first and only Malaysian winner of the prestigious single-seater Formula BMW Pacific racing series in Asia. The series is now known as the JK Racing Asia.
Under the Talent Development Programme, young Malaysian racing talents will be groomed to race in selected championships locally and abroad in both two wheels and four wheels events.
In the single-seater discipline, Petronas will be sending Afiq Ikhwan to compete in the Formula Masters China while Nabil Jeffri will race in the German F3 Series.
Nabil and Afiq took second and third overall placings in the just-concluded JK Racing Asia Series.
The Petronas Syntium Team of Fariqe Hairuman, Dominic Ang and Melvin Moh will continue with their race-winning charge in the Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Series.
In the two wheels category, Hafizh Syahrin, who caught the world’s attention with his fourth-place finish in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix last year, will continue to polish his race craft for another season in the CEV Buckler Spanish Championships.
As for 17-year-old Ramdan Rosli, he will compete in the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship with his senior team-mates. They will also continue to race in the Petronas AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship.