Dennis Hauger is confident in his chances of winning the Formula 2 Championship in 2024, calling it a “realistic” goal after what has been a very positive start to the season from him and MP Motorsport.

With 41 points, Hauger currently sits third in the Drivers’ Standings thanks to his victory in the Jeddah Sprint Race, his two other podiums finishes as well as a pole position in Melbourne.

The Norwegian ace is quick to acknowledge that his points tally at the Championship table could have looked different if not for his crash in the Albert Park Feature Race. However, despite that, he is still happy with how the first three rounds have gone.

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“I would say the season so far has been really positive,” started Hauger. “I think in terms of points there have been times where we could have done a better job, obviously the first round in Bahrain, we weren't fully where we wanted to be, but I think we sort of turned things around quickly and made a good step in Jeddah to get our first win.

“We got some good points there and then obviously Australia was a really positive weekend I would say. Obviously, the Feature Race was not what I wanted, 25 points gone down the drain in the Championship and we could have been leading now.

“So that is a bit of a disappointing thing from my side, but you are pushing the limits, and these things can always happen, mistakes can happen, and I am sure someone else will do it throughout the season as well.

Hauger qualified on pole for the first time in F2 back in Melbourne
Hauger qualified on pole for the first time in F2 back in Melbourne

“Obviously just looking back at the weekend overall, we got a pole position as a team and the pace in general has been really strong so it's just about keeping up the work and keeping up the mentality as the team to keep the momentum going.”

This is Hauger’s best start to a Formula 2 season. After three rounds in 2022, he was 12th in the Standings on 14 points, while in 2023 he was seventh with 30.

When asked what he believes has changed for him this year, the 21-year-old explained: “I guess there is a new car, so everything is a bit different. For some reason I struggled quite a bit with the old car, to adapt to it and to get into a good momentum with it.

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“I think it is quite a unique car in terms of a driving style point of view, it's a bit different this year and it has been more in my style. But the whole F2 car is something different to drive compared to F3 so I struggled to adapt to that.

“Obviously going into a new car this year, sort of starting from ground zero you get to build it up with the team a bit more and I think I have found something that just fits me a bit more and works well with my style so I think that has been a good point to see both me and the team build on that together.

“It's not been easy for me to be honest but as you get more experience you learn more, about the tyres, about everything. But if you don't feel at 100% with the car and how to get the maximum out of it, it's never going to be easy.

Hauger is feeling more comfortable with the new F2 car compared to the previous machinery
Hauger is feeling more comfortable with the new F2 car compared to the previous machinery

“It's been a frustrating few years, we've had speed at some points, but it's not been the full package and that is something I think we are on the way of getting this year and it's just about keeping the work going.”

That hard work has paid off so far with the new F2 car, as after two P8 results in Sakhir, Hauger and MP improved their performance in Jeddah and Melbourne, leading to him scoring three consecutive podiums before his crash in Australia.

“There are some things that as we get on with each round, I think all the teams figure out stuff about the new car,” Hauger continued. “It's all about learning the new car and understanding when we go to a new race weekend it can be completely different because the track is different.

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“So, all the teams are sort of finding things and it is just about figuring it out the quickest and sort of finding these small tweaks to make it better.

“In the end I think we've just found some stuff that work on certain tracks, it doesn't mean it will work on every track but it's about trying to find those things before we get to Imola and Monaco for example.”

That hard work will continue in Barcelona from April 23-25 for the in-season testing and Hauger believes those three days will be crucial as MP look to build on their strong pace heading into the European leg of the calendar.

Hauger is confident that he and MP can compete for the title this year
Hauger is confident that he and MP can compete for the title this year

This could be critical in his chances of winning the title, something which Hauger is “confident” he can achieve.

“I'm feeling confident to be honest,” said Hauger. “Looking back in Australia obviously not optimal, not what I was looking for. Coming out of that weekend leading the Championship would have been awesome but it’s not the case anymore.

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“So, I think we have to look at the positive things we have done. We got pole, we definitely have one of the stronger cars on the grid this year, so I am confident that it's not a setback for us, what happened there.

“It's just the confidence boost to keep working now and look at what good things have been done and keep that momentum going. I think we have a good package, obviously the Championship is the goal and I think the goal is realistic, so I am looking forward to seeing how we do when we go to Europe.”