Dennis Hauger gikk helt til topps i årets FIA Formel 3-mesterskap, og sikret tittelen etter fredagens løp på Sochi Autodrom i Russland.
Dette har vært en fantastisk sesong av Dennis Hauger, som til slutt vant foran Jack Doohan fra Australia. Nå ligger alt an til at han kjører Formel 2 neste sesong.
Her er et intervju fra Red Bull Juniorteam:
An incredibly impressive FIA F3 championship winning season from Dennis Hauger naturally makes one think that this 18-year-old is on track to be Norway’s first driver in Formula 1.
His trajectory has been watched and guided by Dr. Helmut Marko who similarly saw Sebastian Vettel grow from talented youth to 4 times World Champion with Red Bull Racing and is charged with fostering their future stars.
Hauger lives in Aurskog, Norway and has been a member of the Red Bull Junior Team since 2018 when as a 15-year-old he raced in the British F4 championship finishing 4th.
“He has had a great 2021 F3 season,” states Dr Marko. “A mistake early on but otherwise he has been exceptional. He has shown great ability, he has the speed within him and he is very much going in the right direction.”
“He will drive for us in Formula 2 in 2022 and there is only one step to make after that. It does require him to continue to improve very much in the same way that he has this season. He is not there yet,” concluded the ever uncompromising Austrian.
Hauger demonstrated so much skill and class in this year’s FIA F3 championship that the 18-year-old Norwegian looked to many a certainty to take the title half way through the 21 race series.
From the moment he set pole for the first event of the 2021 season at the beginning of May in Barcelona he has been the man to beat.
Even setbacks, like not having the right car set-up for the atrociously wet conditions at Spa, which ate into his points lead did not upset Hauger. He simply rebounded a week later at Zandvoort, venue for the Dutch Grand Prix.
Hauger knew that the three days would be crucial for the championship and his career. He grabbed pole in the last moments of Qualifying and went for it emphasising his superiority with a lights to flag win in Race 3.
Hauger has proven his ability to bounce back from deeper disappointment before. His whole 2021 season in fact is proof of that.
2019 was a stellar year as Hauger smashed records, dominating Italian F4 and almost doing the same in Germany. The move to F3 for 2020 looked ideal to provide him with the chance to show his fabulous skills in the global series, run alongside F1.
By the standards that Hauger had attained the year before it was a disaster. A single points scoring weekend in Hungary and 17th in the championship table bore witness to a ‘character building’ season.
I was expecting to be at the top
“In 2020 I wanted and I was expecting to be at the top, after winning almost everything in F4. So as a driver it was something I was aiming for,” states Hauger who never got what he needed from the car.
It was the year that Covid 19 delayed the start of racing, limited travel and other freedoms.
“It was definitely a tough season, I had to live in the UK and with all those downs, weekend after weekend it made it tough mentally. I still think though that in some way it made me stronger, especially the mental game.”
His father Tom Eric Hauger recalls how it was for his son. “He was living in England and could not come home between races and reset, be grounded. You had to be in the bubble all the time. The biggest thing was not being able to understand what was going wrong.”
“This year is different, he is living at home but of course spends a lot of time with Prema in Vicenza (Italy). He was fully vaccinated already at the start of June but is still very strict with himself, doesn’t take any chances but he can have a bit of balance in his life this year.”
I was quick in any other car I drove
Dennis explains how things were turned around at the end of the disappointing 2020. “It wasn’t planned but at the end of the year I got to drive in the Porsche Cup and the Regional F3 and it was quite nice to be able to get in a completely different car, one that I had never driven before and in the first weekend, get poles and podiums. It was a bit of a shock after a season of downs to get into two cars I had never drive and do really well.”
“It was a confidence boost and made me wonder what happened in the main F3 season because I was quick in any other car I drove.”
“It still took some time when I got into Prema’s F3 car for testing before this season to get my confidence back fully and figure out that I never have to doubt my own abilities. I think we did well to have everything at 100% before the first race weekend of 2021 so we could get pole, it was really nice.”
“The first Qualifying I won by 6 thousandths so it was really close. I never really thought about how good the season was going, I just kept myself sharp with the team and worked from week to week, not thinking so far ahead.”
He was watching motorsport instead of Postman Pat
His father’s understanding of his son’s racing brain naturally comes from his very earliest years. “He was watching motorsport instead of Postman Pat when he was quite small. From when he was 2 or 3 we made a simulator, big screen, a small rally chair with steering wheel. At that age, if I beat him he would be crying, so very competitive right from the start.”
“He rode a small quad when he was 2 and then he went to motocross when he was 4 and then he started to do some karting when he was 5.”
Watching his father rallying and hill climbing at home in Norway was Dennis’s introduction to the smells and thrills of motorsport but now his sights are set very much on the world stage.
“F2 obviously is a significant step,” admits Dennis. “But normally I’ve been quite good at adapting to different cars. I feel like I can take it quite well. I think that especially after last season and going into this season I learnt to not doubt what I can do. I can be confident in myself so I think I can make the move with confidence if it happens.” (Cross out ‘if it happens’ if F2 is confirmed) It is a step that will be watched by a rapidly growing host of fans at home and abroad.
That’s been my dream and goal my whole life
“It’s a bit special because Norway is a very winter sports country, but recently, over the last two years, when the ‘Drive to Survive’ TV series came out, a lot of people found some interest.”
“The interest really grew a lot this year as things have been going well, so actually it has got crazy this season. It’s obviously really cool to see how many people are watching at home. It’s important for me of course.”
Naturally, many view his current success in terms of what it means in terms of a future opportunity in F1.
“Obviously that’s been my dream and goal my whole life. It means everything and that is why I work and give everything to achieve it.”