After a challenging 2021 season, Dino Beganovic has enjoyed his most successful year in single-seaters so far. The 18-year-old Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) racer is leading the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) thanks to his four wins and his 10 podiums in 14 races. ‘Dynamite Dino’ joined the F1 Feeder Series Podcast this week to talk about how he has coped with the pressure of being part of the most prestigious F1 team’s academy these last three years.
By Perceval Wolff
When he joined the FDA back in January 2020, the Swedish-Bosnian driver was only two days shy of his 16th birthday and had not yet done a race in a formula car. Despite strong results on the international karting scene in the years before, Beganovic revealed that he was having a hard time during his first months as an FDA driver. Competing with Prema Powerteam in Italian F4, he felt the pressure of delivering results straight away to show Ferrari they had made the right choice.
“I struggled quite a lot with pressure in 2020 when I’d just joined the FDA, I’d just joined Prema, I’d just joined Formula 4. Everything was new. It was like starting from zero, to be honest. Building up my karting career and then basically starting from zero … it wasn’t easy. Karting is a whole different world.”
Beganovic knows how lucky he is to have been signed by an F1 academy so early in his racing career. “Talking with F1 teams was not really an option in karting. There are not so many opportunities, and not a lot of junior teams want to make that step to have a junior driver in karting because it’s not really representative, maybe, for moving up to formula cars. Some people adapt better for karting, some people adapt better for formula cars.
“I struggled a bit with [the pressure] in F4, especially at the beginning. And then I wouldn’t say I got used to it, but I sort of knew how to control the pressure,” the Prema Racing driver explains.
Unconditional support from Ferrari
After finishing third in his Italian F4 campaign in 2020, Beganovic then stepped up to FRECA last year and finished 13th with one podium and one pole position in the two final rounds.
“Even last year, when it was being tough, I was using the pressure for good.”
After nearly three full seasons in the FDA, Beganovic now understands how the programme works. “In the end, they are there to support me. Having a Formula 1 team such as Ferrari, the most iconic team and one of the most iconic brands in the world not only in motorsport but in all the brands, it’s something special.”
It’s not random that they chose me to be a part of their academy. That’s what I keep thinking aboutDino Beganovic (Ferrari Driver Academy)
Being a part of this prestigious academy is also one Beganovic’s biggest motivations. “It’s not random that they chose me to be a part of their academy. That’s what I keep thinking about and [what’s] keeping me motivated. They are there to help me and not really anything else. They are not there to kick my arse or show that ‘yeah, okay, this you didn’t do well’,” he says about the programme and its emphasis on constructive criticism.
Formula 3 for 2023?
The natural step following FRECA is FIA F3, and it’s clearly the target for Beganovic next year. After one year in Italian F4 and then two seasons in FRECA with Prema, the 18-year-old Swede hopes to continue his journey with the Italian squad.
“It would be really good if we could do it with the team, with Prema. We’ve been there for three years now already, and it would be really nice to continue our partnership. We all know Prema has been a successful team in Formula 3. They have won so many years in a row, so that would be a very important step.”
Beganovic tells F1 Feeder Series that while much depends on his own performances, his manager – Swedish touring car ace Rickard Rydell – and the FDA have been working together to try to arrange a seat at Prema for the 2023 F3 season.
“That’s the goal,” he reveals. “They’re doing everything to make me have that opportunity for next year.”
Header photo credit: Sebastian Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency
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