Formula Regional European ChampionshipRising Stars

The Rising Star of Dino Beganovic – Sweden’s Next Formula 1 Superstar?

4 Mins read
Credit: Sebastiaan Rozendaal/Dutch Photo Agency via Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine

A Swedish driver took a superb victory on Sunday around one of the most legendary tracks in the world – but I’m not talking about Marcus Ericsson at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

No, I’m talking about a young driver in his second season racing in Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, Ferrari Driver Academy racer Dino Beganovic, who took the chequered flag first at an equally legendary track, the Circuit de Monaco.

The Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine series is extremely competitive – more than thirty-five drivers racing for ten teams across ten circuits in Europe, all at FIA Formula 1 World Championship standard. 

Even within his own Prema Racing team, Beganovic has intense competition from Mercedes-Benz protégé Paul Aron as well as rookies Sebastián Montoya (the son of Juan-Pablo Montoya) and Hamda Al Qubaisi. Add into the mix drivers within the Alpine Academy and Alpine Affiliate driver programmes, Red Bull Junior Team and other Ferrari Driver Academy members and you have a hugely talented bunch of drivers all with the target of reaching the pinnacle of the sport.

It’s easy to forget how young some of the drivers coming through the junior formulae are – Beganovic only turned eighteen in January, but already he is in his third season of single seater racing. 

He made his track debut with Prema back in 2020, racing in the Italian Formula 4 championship as well as a select few races in the ADAC F4 championship.  He took his first single-seater victory at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on his way to third place in the final Italian F4 standings.  He also received the backing of the fabled Ferrari Driver Academy – not bad for a sixteen-year-old!

2021 was a much more difficult season, with a step up to Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, again with Prema.  He was often a contender for minor points, but it took until the penultimate round of the championship at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello to stand on the podium.

He finished a lowly thirteenth in the final Drivers’ standings, although that translated into the third best of the rookies behind Isack Hadjar and Gabriele Mini.

However, looking at the start of the 2022 season, it is clear Beganovic has put what he learned in his rookie campaign in 2021 to good use, with the opening six races giving him three victories and three runner-up places – he currently leads the championship by fifty-five points after just three of the ten rounds!

Dino Beganovic took his first win of 2022 in the wet at Monza – Credit: Diederik van der Laan/Dutch Photo Agency via Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine

Turning the attention to 2022, Beganovic’s opening six races have shown just why Ferrari have invested in him and provided him a place within their young driver programme. He has shown a great turn of speed and a lot of consistency, and has proven himself on different styles of track and in different climatic conditions.

Beganovic started the year with a victory in the rain and a second place at Monza and followed that up with similar results at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.  However, at Monaco, one of the trickiest tracks on the calendar, he was simply sublime.

He was quickest in Qualifying, which gave him pole position for Sunday’s race, but the quirkiness of the Monaco weekend meant it only gave him second place for Saturday’s opener. However, he pressurised polesitter Hadrien David, himself a member of the Alpine Affiliate programme, and looked for much of the race the faster driver of the pair.  But Monaco being Monaco, with overtaking almost impossible unless the other driver makes a mistake, he was forced to settle for second.

But on Sunday, he was unstoppable, pulling out more than a five second advantage on the chasing pack before settling down and bringing his car home to the flag.  Three wins in six races, the other three races finishing second, it’s a formidable start to any campaign, let alone one with thirty-seven full-time entrants!

Speaking after the Monaco weekend, Beganovic was delighted with his ‘super good’ results in the principality, and he praised his team for giving him a car that can fight week-in, week-out at the very front of the field. He also hopes this form can continue into the rest of the season.

“Overall it has been a super good weekend,” said Beganovic.  “I’m very proud and happy for all the team and for how our work came together.

“It’s fantastic and magical to win in such a place like Monaco. Not only we achieved a win and a second place, but we also took the pole position. I want to thank the team a lot because we have done an amazing job together.

“To keep this up will be difficult, but we will try.”

Ericsson, the winner of the 106th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, was the last Swedish driver to race in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2018 – there have only been ten Swedish drivers who have started races. 

Formula 1’s most successful Swedish driver was Ronnie Peterson, and he took ten of the twelve victories that the countries drivers have achieved.  His final win, the 1978 Austrian Grand Prix, was the last time the Swedish national anthem has played in Formula 1.

However, I know its early days but there is potential that the next Swede in line to race in the sport is coming through – it’s now up to Dino Beganovic to fulfil the potential he so obviously has.

Surely Ferrari have an eye on promoting him to at least the FIA Formula 3 Championship, or even a direct jump into the FIA Formula 2 Championship, in 2023, but only time will tell just where the talented Beganovic ends up. His pace and consistency are there, let’s hope he has the luck and backing to get him up the racing ladder.

Dino Beganovic was brilliant in Monaco – Credit: Prema Racing
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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