Danish F4 leader Julius Dinesen on managing high expectations: ‘I had to finish on top’

Danish F4 has seen an influx of exciting young rookies in 2022, among them championship leader Julius Dinesen. F1 Feeder Series spoke to him about his passion for racing, the step up to car racing, and his goals for the future.

By Oorjit Mishra

Dinesen, who hails from the coastal Danish town of Solrød Strand, recounted his first exposure to motorsport fondly. “I started to watch Formula 1 with my dad when I was four years old and then I wanted to become a Formula 1 driver, so I spoke to him about, where can I try this? Then he said that we could go to a small karting track close to my hometown, and we went there on a rainy day. And that’s where it began.”

After that first visit to the Vordingborg karting circuit, Dinesen soon made the step up to competition karting, racing in the Danish Championship in the cadet class in 2015. The experience of racing karts kindled his interest in the sport, and he soon made the step up to European competition.

“The more races I did in the small categories, the more interesting karting got for me. So I began to win some races, and then we moved to [karting in] Italy.”

The more races I did in the small categories, the more interesting karting got for me

Julius Dinesen

Dinesen could be forgiven for being intimidated by the ultra-competitive Italian karting scene when he started competing there in 2017, but he recounted how relaxed he really was.

“I just went there because I thought, ‘I want to try it’. So I didn’t really think that much about it. I just thought it’s a normal karting race like I was also doing in Denmark. It was when I grew a bit older [that] I began to think this is actually much harder than the stuff I did in Denmark.”

Julius Dinesen | Credit: Danish F4

A shift in mindset

After competing in both European and world karting championships until he was 14, Dinesen opted to make the jump up to F4 in 2022. As he outlined his preparation for the season to F1 Feeder Series, he recalled being aware of the challenges of the step into Danish F4.

 “I did a lot of physical training and some mental training also, and then I did a lot of simulator training in Formula 3, and then I did I think two or three tests before the first race of the season.”

That mental training helped Dinesen switch from the emotion-driven, all-or-nothing mindset of his karting days to the calmer and more focused approach he’s demonstrated in F4.

Now that I did mental training, I keep on pushing and I stay cold

Julius Dinesen

“[In karting] there’s a pretty big chance that maybe you will hit somebody in the start or you’ll do a bad start. So if, say, I do a bad start, then I think in karting, I [would] get very mad and my whole race will just be completely over. But now that I did mental training, I keep on pushing and I stay cold. And then I just focus, I cannot change that. So I have to just give it my all and then we’ll see what happens.”

Surpassing expectations

Dinesen’s answer to F1 Feeder Series about the target for his first races demonstrated his ultra-competitive mentality. “I thought if I don’t finish on the podium in all three races then I will be very disappointed. So I think my [mindset] was already that I had to finish on top.”

Racing for STEP Motorsport, Dinesen met his own high standards at the opening round at Padborg Park, where he finished all three races of the podium. Since then, Dinesen has taken control of the championship, with three wins and eight podiums so far in 2022. When asked about his lead in the standings, Dinesen reflected on how he’s adjusted his own expectations for the season.

“I think when we went into the championship, we thought I have to learn how to race and perform in the car and maybe finish top five. That would [have been] really, really good, maybe top three, but now that we’re leading the championship and we know that I have the speed and the composure to finish at the top step, the main target is to just stay consistent and finish on top.”

Julius Dinesen in his first weekend at Padborg Park | Credit: Danish F4

On the subject of learning, Dinesen explained how he’s worked to overcome the big differences between karting and F4 – standing starts and race management.

“Compared to karting, I think that in Formula 4, it’s much more about not pushing so much in the very start,” he said. “You have to think longer because the races are longer than karting. For me, the hardest point was probably the start because I had to learn how to make standing starts and in the very beginning of the season, I didn’t really manage the tires very good.

We still have a lot to learn, but I think we came very far from what we wanted to do

Julius Dinesen

“But I began to learn and learn even more, and then I think now we came to a point that it is very good now. We still have a lot to learn, but I think we came very far from what we wanted to do.”

An eye towards Spanish F4

The 2022 Danish F4 season has seen a close contest between the front-runners, with four drivers within 50 points of each other. Dinesen, who has a 35-point cushion at the top of this battle, declared it the “best championship ever” in the series’ history.

“I think with all these good drivers, it just pushes you to do a bit more and it pushes you to be a better driver also.”

Julius Dinesen leads the Danish F4 field at Round 3 at Jyllandsringen | Credit: Danish F4

After such a strong first half of his 2022 campaign, Dinesen was open about his plans for 2023 and was characteristically bold in his goals.

“We are focusing on the Spanish [F4] Championship,” he said. “I think our main target is to be in the top five every race. I think it’s also very possible to win the rookie championship.”

Dinesen will resume his quest for the 2022 Danish F4 Championship title at Ring Djursland this weekend, where he’ll be hoping to carry on his form from before the summer break.

Header photo credit: Julius Dinesen


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