SEPANG – Jaden Conwright completed his first season in Formula 3 with a final 3rd place in the championship standings, behind only GP3 race winners Raoul Hyman and Jake Hughes. At the last round in Sepang, the American scored his fifth podium finish of the season, after a dramatic start to the weekend caused by a fuel leak a few minutes before the start of Race 1.
With 7 points to defend against Charles Leong, the objective for the WH Sports Group protégé was to finish in front of the Hitech Macanese driver and keep an eye on the standings throughout the weekend. With a number of newcomers on the grid for a total of 18 entrants, Jaden and his Absolute teammates showed consistent pace in the wet practice on Thursday and in particular the last free practice session on Friday, in which Jaden scored the second fastest laptime.
However, the results of the two qualifying sessions brought a lot of unpredictability to the race, with runner up drivers qualifying at the back and several surprises in the top positions. Jaden still managed to qualify P5 in Q1 and P4 in Q2, securing at least a nice spot on the grid, ahead of the Hitech GPs and his rivals for 3rd place in the championship.
The first race of the weekend was scheduled on Friday evening, but neither Jaden nor the Absolute Racing team had time to enjoy the sundown. A fuel leak occurred a few minutes before the start, making things very complicated for Race 1 and definitively influencing the outcome of Race 2, as the American had to run with additional fuel in order to play safe in case of further issues with the fuel tank during the race.
To say the least, starting from the grid turned out to be crucial for the American, as Jaden’s rival Charles Leong was forced to start from the pit lane. Driving safely to a sixth place finish in Race 1 allowed Jaden to increase his advantage to 15 points heading into Race 2, in which the American was taken out after few kilometers by early contact at the start of the race.
The opportunity to finally jump on the podium came in Race 3 and, as had previously happened at Ningbo a few weeks before, the rain heated up the championship duels at Sepang. Jaden, starting in P4, defended his position at the start and cruised to a P3 finish, taking advantage of a braking mistake by a driver in front.
Taking 3rd place in the Driver Championship standings awarded the Absolute Racing driver 10 FIA Super License points. Jaden was the only F3 Asia driver, other than Jake Hughes and Liam Lawson, to score pole positions during the season, and one of the few drivers to finish on the podium at every racetrack visited by F3 Asia.
Jaden Conwright: “The third race was quite good. I had a good start and went from P4 to P3 by turn one but Yifei got me back. The conditions definitely made it tricky. Just staying in focus was a bit difficult because it was always green and then the safety car, and then we had a red flag, so it was just managing the conditions, managing your mindset. In the end it was a good race and we were finally able to show the pace that we had all weekend.”