Dennis Hauger heads into 2020 with ambitions to win the FIA Formula 3 Championship at the first time of asking, and the young Norwegian has even bigger aims for his career.
Never before in the history of Formula 1 has there been a driver representing Norway, and Hauger has every ambition to change that statistic, but the 2019 Italian Formula 4 Champion knows there is plenty of hard work ahead of him if he is to achieve this goal.
“[Formula 1] has been a goal since a young age, but nothing comes for free,” said Hauger to The Checkered Flag. “Got to keep working hard. Never been a Norwegian driver in F1 before so hopefully I can push it to there.”
Seventeen-year-old Hauger is a Red Bull Junior Team driver, and for 2020 he has been placed with Hitech Grand Prix for his maiden season in Formula 3. Despite a limited amount of testing available to him, he believes he can fight at the front of the field this year once the season gets underway.
“After the first official test of the year I have ambitions to be at the top,” said Hauger. “Obviously it’s my first year and it’s not easy with so limited amount of testing in a new series and completely different car but felt confident and think we have the pace to be up there fighting for the top step.
“Since the first test with them [Hitech] they felt professional and also really strong mentally as a team, so it felt right going to them also considering I’m a Red Bull junior driver.”
Hauger says being a part of the Red Bull Junior Team, which he joined in 2017, is a big opportunity for him, but his focus remains the same, which is to do as good a job as possible every time he takes the wheel of the car.
“[It’s a] big opportunity for me as a driver,” he says. “But I still have to do the same I always have and focus on what’s important.”
Hauger is not the only Red Bull junior at Hitech in 2020, with New Zealander Liam Lawson moving to the team for his sophomore season. Max Fewtrell is the third and final driver at the team, and he too comes with the backing of a Formula 1 team, being a part of the Renault Sport Academy.
“I think its good to have two experienced drivers as team-mates,” admits Hauger. “It means that I can learn from them and get up in good pace quicker, which I showed at the test.”
Multiple Wins and Championship Crown in Strong 2019 Season
Hauger had a superb season in Italian Formula 4 in 2019, winning twelve races on the way to the championship with Van Amersfoort Racing, while he also finished second in the ADAC Formula 4 championship with the same team, winning a further six times. He only missed out on taking a second title by seven points to Frenchman Théo Pourchaire.
He feels it was a strong season in what was only his second in single seater racing after a year in the F4 British Championship in 2018, and he learned a lot throughout the year that he can take into the next stage of his career.
“I had a great season and [had a] super connection with Van Amersfoort Racing,” said the Norwegian driver. “We had some ups and down as a team but overall a strong season I can take with me and learn from.”
One of Hauger’s highlights of 2019 was a triple victory at the Hockenheimring in ADAC Formula 4, a feat that has rarely been achieved in the championship since its inception.
“I think that would be the triple win at Hockenheimring,” said Hauger. “Such a good moment and not a lot of people have successfully made it, so that weekend was definitely a good one.”
Testing ‘Didn’t Really Show the True Pace”
The teenager believes that he nor his team could show their true pace during pre-season testing, which came just before the enforced downtime caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but a lot was learned that he can put to good use when the season does get going, potentially next month in Austria.
“I think it was good, [we] learned a lot and the end result didn’t really show the true pace,” he said. “But when we were pushing, I was at the top five, so think it’s something to learn from and bring into the season whenever it starts.”
The enforced break in racing has left many drivers missing the thrill of competition, and Hauger is no exception, and he cannot wait to get out on track when the season finally begins.
“[It’s] not easy to say what exactly, but [I miss] everything to be honest,” admits Hauger. “The competition and work for the small hundreds on lap time.”