Former Red Bull junior driver Jak Crawford believes there has been a shift in how the team's development programme operates in recent seasons.
Crawford had been with the development programme for four years, making his way up through the junior ranks and into F2 and revealed that he felt Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko could be "too brutally honest".
But this season, the American will tackle his second year in the series with DAMS and without Red Bull's backing and speaking to RACER, Crawford explained: “It’s quite a weird feeling – I feel like I’ve been doing this a long time, but then you look at my age, compared to most of the guys, I’m probably one of the youngest still in F2.
“So it’s very weird to look at because I feel like I’ve had a long career in single-seaters so far and you look at some of the guys there in their lower 20s, and they have a lot more experience than me in single-seaters.
“I feel like I’m in a good position. It’s a bit weird saying I’ve been in Red Bull for four years, and I’ve been dropped and I’m only 18. It is a bit weird to say that, but I do think it’s a good opportunity for myself, relieved of pressure.”
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Change in the programme
But a spot in the Red Bull junior programme isn't all pressure and a number of drivers have catapulted themselves to the top of global motorsport with the help of the Austrian outfit.
Pointing out the positives, Crawford said: “There’s also a lot of good learning opportunities.
"Guillaume Roquelin, who’s now head of the junior team, he came in in the middle of 2022. Ever since then, I felt like there was a massive change in the program. It was more educational.
"I was learning more, I was getting more feedback about everything and having more preparation before the the event from Red Bull. So I really enjoyed that aspect to it as well.”