Dennis Hauger: ‘Discipline and preparation’ key to winning F2 title

Entering 2023 with his new team MP Motorsport, Dennis Hauger has the responsibility of filling the seat of reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich. Feeder Series exclusively caught up with the 19-year-old Red Bull junior before the start of the upcoming season to hear his thoughts on his time with Prema and how he is feeling ahead of his second campaign in F2.

By Tyler Foster

After two years with Prema, Hauger will enter a new environment after making the decision to join Dutch squad MP Motorsport. This means that for the second consecutive season, he will compete for the defending drivers’ and teams’ champions. 

In the past, a move away from Prema would have been extremely unusual. Their historical competitiveness has earned them the label of the place to be within F2, but it is now MP who enter the fray with a target on their back. Even Hauger admits to the risky nature of the transfer.

Orange car on track driving towards camera
Hauger will switch from Prema to MP for 2023’s F2 season | Credit: Formula 2

“It is always a risk to change teams, but it also gives me more experience by working with new engineers. They all have their own way, and this way, I widen my technical knowledge.”

Nevertheless, he joins a team who have just enjoyed their best ever season in F2, winning their first title, and they are consequently full of confidence.

When following Felipe [Drugovich] last year, his car had the kind of handling I was looking for

Hauger on his decision to move to MP Motorsport for 2023

Hauger explains to Feeder Series the biggest reason he chose to switch to MP. “When following Felipe [Drugovich] last year, his car had the kind of handling I was looking for.” 

He describes the MP team as ‘humble’ and ‘a bunch of nice people in a very nice working atmosphere with a nice international mix of people’. This change of scenery could offer the difference Hauger needs to take that step closer to F1, especially considering the outcome of his rookie season in F2.

Rookie difficulty and inconsistency

Twelve months ago, the Norwegian made his debut in Formula 2, having graduated as the FIA Formula 3 drivers’ champion with Prema. During this campaign, he finished 26 points ahead of current F2 rival Jack Doohan. 

Staying with the Italian team for 2022, Hauger looked to follow in the footsteps of Mick Schumacher and Oscar Piastri and score a third consecutive drivers’ title for Prema. However, things didn’t transpire as expected for either Hauger or Prema.

When asked about the troubles he faced in his rookie campaign, Hauger opens up, explaining that there were “a few unlucky situations that spoiled a possible victory or podium.”

But, he surmises, “for many races, we struggled to find the right balance in the car.” 

For many races, we struggled to find the right balance in the car

Hauger on his 2022 F2 season with Prema

It was clear that Prema suffered their fair share of set-up issues, as both Hauger and Daruvala experienced inconsistencies in qualifying pace throughout the season. This led the team to finish a disappointing fourth in the constructors’ standings – while Hauger ended up in tenth. 

Despite the irregularity of Prema’s performances, Hauger was able to accomplish the greatest of their achievements last season. By his own admission, “it was nice to win in Monaco and Baku.” 

Hauger celebrating on the podium with man wearing orange spraying champagne down his back
Dennis Hauger won his first F2 feature race at Baku in 2022 | Credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

A maiden F2 victory on the streets of the principality saw him overtake his teammate in the process. He trumped this the following round, winning his first feature race in a chaotic encounter in the Azerbaijani capital. 

Unfortunately for Hauger, one podium from the remaining eight rounds left the Norwegian adrift of the best rookies.

Wanting the title

The next step for Hauger is a hugely important one for his entire career. A mixed rookie campaign has seen him lose ground on paper within the Red Bull stable. His task for this year gets no easier, as a further five Red Bull juniors will compete against the Norwegian in Formula 2. 

Other than doing “more F1 simulator work”, he remains just one of a chain of hopefuls who are part of the extensive Milton Keynes–based academy. On the topic of finding an F1 seat in 2024, Hauger denies that there is any focus on this from his side. 

“No, none whatsoever because that will always be outside my control. Even if you are champion in F2, it does not guarantee an F1 seat the following year. I am not spending any energy on that, just focusing on what I can do in F2 this year.”

Hauger will focus on one race at a time in an attempt to take the F2 title this year | Credit: Formula 2

This doesn’t mean that Hauger won’t be targeting the F2 title this season, though. “That is of course my goal, but I will go at it by focusing on one race at the time,” the MP Motorsport driver says.

After the opening rounds last year, he admitted that qualifying was the biggest focus for the remainder of 2022. Hauger states that ‘time will show’ whether he has improved enough in this area to be capable of fighting for the championship.

“Testing is only a very small part. In this sport you need to work on every smallest detail, all the time. You are never finished working on the hundreds of small details. 

“Look at the great champions of the sport. They relentlessly kept on working even after multiple world champion titles. I have given this topic a lot of thought the last five months and set myself many personal goals, sacrificing quite a lot. 

“But I have no problem with that. My priority is the sport, and my goal is to get to the top. Two important words are discipline and preparation.”

My priority is the sport, and my goal is to get to the top. Two important words are discipline and preparation

Hauger on what it takes to win a championship in motorsport

Same teammate, different team

In an ironic twist, both halves of Prema’s 2022 line-up made the switch to MP Motorsport for 2023, meaning that Hauger and Jehan Daruvala will remain teammates. 

“It was a surprise when I found out that Jehan was also switching to MP,” Hauger jokes. “A nice surprise though. We get on very well.”

Daruvala Hauger 2022
Jehan Daruvala and Dennis Hauger on the podium at Imola | Credit: Prema Racing

With Daruvala coming out on top between the pair last year – 11 points ahead – Hauger will want to repay the favour at their new squad. Importantly, Daruvala’s Formula E test and reserve role for Mahindra could play a factor this season, leaving Hauger with an opportunity to make the team his own with strong early performances. 

He is a straightforward guy and we share all our data

Hauger on his relationship with teammate Jehan Daruvala

Either way, their relationship hasn’t changed as a result of their move. “He is a straightforward guy and we share all our data. It will be a good season.”

Header image credit: MP Motorsport


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