Oliver Goethe has made a spectacular return to form in 2022, dominating the start of the 2022 Euroformula Open Championship. F1 Feeder Series sat down with him right before he signed with Campos to replace the injured Hunter Yeany, to find out how he found his sudden form, his mental battles and goals for the future.
By Oorjit Mishra
Born in London and raised in Monaco, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that racing is in Goethe’s blood. “I got into racing when I was really young, actually. My dad drives as a gentleman driver in historic racing and some GT racing as well, so he took me karting quite a lot when I was younger, and I loved it. I wasn’t scared of going fast or whatever when I was really young, and I just loved it from a young age, and I just got more and more passionate about it throughout the years.”
To race alongside your dad is such a special momentOliver Goethe
Goethe started 2022 with a moment he’ll never forget – he shared a car with his dad, Roald, at the Dubai 24 Hours, which they would go on to win. He described the experience with infectious enthusiasm. “It was amazing! I mean, just to race alongside your dad is, like, such a special moment, such a great experience. On top of that, we won it, which makes it even better. There was also my coach there, Stuart Hall, who was in the same car, and we won it all together and yeah, it couldn’t have gone any better.”
Goethe described his journey through the karting ranks, and what he learnt from the challenges he faced on the way. “I did mainly karting in the south of France, just sort of regional stuff from eight years old to around 13. And then after that, I went straight from X30 junior to OK Senior Internationally, so it was a massive step and it was really, really tough at first, but I feel like that helped me grow a lot and made me realise how professional it really was. And it made me more serious about it. Even though it was very tough, I feel like it made me grow as a person.”
In lockdown I trained really hard physically and on the simOliver Goethe
In 2019 Goethe made the step up to cars, racing the last round of Spanish F4 with Drivex School. He moved to MP for 2020, and finished 5th in the standings with one win. He described the step up from karting and how he prepared for the challenge. “It was quite a step. Obviously, the step from karting to racing real cars is quite tough for everyone initially, but after some testing, there was the lockdown, and in lockdown I trained really hard physically, on the sim, and I feel like after lockdown, I made a big step and straight away in the first round, the results were pretty good in Navarro. So I feel like just through hard work and lockdown, I made quite a good step.”
The ups and downs of motorsport
After a positive start to his car racing career, things came crashing down for Goethe, as he had a difficult 2021 in FRECA, finishing 23rd in the standings with just two points finishes. When asked about what he thought led to this struggle, Goethe was candidly open about the mental challenge he faced.
“Yeah, I feel like it’s a combination of a lot of things. It was quite a struggle, obviously, with such a step up in level of drivers, and the amount of drivers compared to any F4 Championship is massive. It was my rookie year, so that didn’t help either. But yeah, I went through quite a lot of tough times, moments where I felt like I couldn’t do it, but then all of a sudden, sometimes it clicks and I’d get some top tens in practice or qualifying, which boosted my confidence and I knew I could do it, I just had to really work hard for it.
It was a tough year to say the least, but I feel like it helped me. It made me mentally strongerGoethe reflects on 2021
2022 has been a dominant year for Goethe winning 8 out of 12 races in the season so far and looks set to take the title with time to spare. When asked about his change in fortunes, he remained realistic.
“The grid is quite a lot smaller than FRECA, and there’s not as much depth in the level, of course, with only ten drivers. You can definitely say it’s not as difficult as FRECA or FIA F3, but so far I’ve been winning a lot of races.”
Even if I’m P1 I’ll still push hard no matter whatOliver Goethe
“I feel like I can’t yet see where I’ll be in Formula 3, for example, because there’s around ten to 15 drivers on the grid. But even if I’m P1, I’ll still push hard no matter what because I know that there are other competitions that’s tougher out there.”
Despite being relatively grounded for someone who’s blown his competition out of the water, Goethe was open about the self-belief he’s gained this year.
“It’s a massive confidence boost. Obviously, when you’re winning races, you believe you’re the best and that’s what you have to do to perform at your best. So doing this championship is a big confidence boost, for sure, and hopefully it makes me stronger for the next few years, knowing that I’m able to win races and giving me more experience being at the front in races definitely helps the nerves for when I am in future categories, but yeah, for sure, it’s been a good year”
Like all his Euroformula Open competitors, Goethe has sights set on an FIA F3 seat for 2023, though he couldn’t share any more news than that. He was, however, willing to talk about his ultimate goal in motorsport, where he once again remained remarkably grounded.
“[F1] Is definitely the goal for me. I mean, it would be a dream come true, to say the least. Like you said, I think the goal of any single seater driver is to make F1. Obviously In racing, just to become a professional paid driver, it’s a very tough and unlikely goal, but it has to be the goal for every driver. And so far, after this year, it looks more possible, for sure.”
Should Goethe win the title this year, he will become the 4th consecutive champion from the Motopark stable, after Cam Das, Ye Yifei and Marino Sato. He described the experience of working with the team, and what he’s learnt from them.
“Motopark are an amazing team. Straight from the moment I first tested with them, it surprised me how in depth and how well engineers can work. For me, they’re an amazing team, and for sure it’s made me realise how every detail that’s considered matters to go quicker. For me, I’ve never tested with the top team in F2, of course, and F3, but I can imagine them having the same level as all the top teams in all the single seater ladder.
Goethe will resume his quest for the 2022 Euroformula Open title after the summer break at Imola, on the 3rd and 4th of September.
Header photo credit: Euroformula Open
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