BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 19: Race winner Isack Hadjar of France and Hitech Grand Prix (18) celebrates on the podium during the Round 1:Sakhir Sprint Race of the Formula 3 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on March 19, 2022 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F3 Driver Profile: Isack Hadjar
The Red Bull junior has impressed so far in his rookie F3 season.
Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar was Formula 3’s first race winner in 2022. Driving for Hitech Grand Prix at just 17 years old, the French driver is currently fifth in the standings.
Hitech’s team boss, Oliver Oakes, has expressed that Hadjar has impressed him greatly so far, but with only two rounds completed in the championship there’s still a long way to go.
Hadjar began karting in 2014 at age ten. His best results came in 2016 when he finished runner up in both the Coupe de France and the Challenge Rotax Max France.
In 2019 Hadjar made the switch to single-seaters, racing in the French F4 Championship. In his debut season he scored two podiums, one of those a race win. With 118 points to his name, he finished seventh in the standings.
Remaining in French F4 for 2020, Hadjar took a further three wins and twelve podiums. This moved him up to finish third in the standings, less than 100 points behind Champion and current Formula 2 rookie Ayumu Iwasa.
In 2021 Hadjar made the switch to the Formula Regional European Championship. Throughout his rookie season, he scored two wins and four pole positions. Although he only finished fifth in the overall standings, he placed 44 points clear of his closest rival for the rookie title.
In 2021 he also competed part-time in the Asian F3 Championship, where he finished sixth ahead of many full-time competitors. Notably at the Yas Marina Circuit Hadjar scored a podium in all three races in one round.
For 2022 Hadjar was announced at Hitech Grand Prix in Formula 3. Qualifying ninth at Bahrain for Round 1, he started the first Sprint Race of the season from fourth on the grid. During the race he battled his way up to second, and Oliver Bearman crossed the line ahead of him. But Bearman quickly received a penalty for exceeding track limits, and as a result Hadjar inherited his first Formula 3 race win.
Hadjar continued his good qualifying pace despite wet conditions at Imola and qualified seventh. He finished a satisfactory fifth in the Sprint Race, but excelled again in Sunday’s Feature Race. Amidst the chaos that is often seen in a Formula 3 race, Hadjar quietly slipped his way up to third position, taking his second podium of the season.
After two rounds, Hadjar sits fifth in the standings, just one point behind fellow Red Bull Junior Jak Crawford.
Oliver Oakes’ Comments
Hadjar’s impressive pace as a rookie has caught the attention of many, including his team boss, Oliver Oakes. RaceFans took the opportunity in a Virtual Media Roundtable to ask Oakes about Hadjar’s performance so far.
“I think what surprised us with Isack was that he sort of found his feet a lot quicker,” was Oakes’ response. “I think in our head, naturally you want them to be good from the beginning of the season, but actually we expected him to need a bit more time, more to develop his mindset and physically actually.”
Oakes also cited his previous work with Hadjar at the 2021 post-season test and his performance with the team in the 2022 Asian F3 Championship.
His development since [the post-season test] has been extraordinary. Obviously I had him as my shadow for five weeks out in the UAE, because he did Asian F3 with us. It was quite clear for me to see then just how hard a worker he is. I think that’s the bit that has more surprised me actually, rather than his results, is just how seriously he takes it, how much he studies with his engineer and his guys. That’s really nice to see at that age.”
Hadjar has doubtless been one of the most impressive drivers in Formula 3 this season. But with only two rounds done, there are seven more in which he’ll have to maintain his pace. As the more experienced drivers look to score more consistently than the rookies, the Red Bull junior has his work cut out for him.
Feature Image Credit: Getty Images
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