Stepping up to Formula 2 with PREMA Racing, Dennis Hauger says that any pressure people may be putting on him as the FIA Formula 3 Champion won’t have an impact, as it’s merely proof they believe he’s capable.
The Norwegian stormed to the F3 title last season with PREMA, totting up nine podiums and four wins from 20 races to earn himself promotion into the top tier of junior motorsport with the same team.
Replacing 2021 F2 champion and 2020 F3 champion Oscar Piastri at the Italian side, Hauger’s got big boots to fill, but the 18-year-old insists he’s not struggling with any expectation.
“There might be (pressure), but in the end, I have to focus on myself,” said Hauger. “It doesn’t really matter, and I think that it’s actually a positive thing because it means that people think that I’m capable of doing well, so I just have to keep working. I won’t be thinking about what is going on around me.
“I don't want to put any main targets on there, but I am obviously racing to win, and I am here to be at the top. That is what everyone wants, but for now, I just want to do the pre-season test and focus on getting the best package that we can. After the first weekend of the season, we’ll take it from there.”
The Red Bull-backed racer took a season to adjust to F3 machinery, scoring just 14 points and one podium in his rookie year with Hitech Grand Prix, before his sensational second season in 2021.
And although he won’t be setting himself any targets going into his maiden season of F2, he believes that stepping up with the same team will lessen the adaptation required.
“It’s great because we already know each other,” said Hauger. “We had a good relationship in 2021, so I am looking forward to carrying on our work in F2. It’s exciting.
“You always feel a bit more comfortable when you have worked with the team before, and we know that we worked well together last season. It’s good to be continuing with them and a good confidence boost for me going into the season.
“We had a good start at post-season testing, and I felt more and more comfortable in the car across the three days. It’s just about continuing that development in the new car before the season starts. We just have to work on some small things, and I think that, hopefully, we will be there.”
As one half of a new-look line-up at PREMA, Hauger will have the experience of third-year Jehan Daruvala to call upon in his first season.
“It’s a good way for me to get started because we will be able to work together, and I can learn from him and his experience from two seasons of Formula 2.
“From a progression point of view, to begin with, it’s good to have someone like Jehan alongside you with experience, but when the season starts, I want to be up there with him.”