Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Rafael Câmara, Kas Haverkort or Tim Tramnitz were maybe expected to quickly grab the championship lead, but that was not Martinius Stenshorne’s opinion. Despite being a rookie, the 17-year-old boy from Norway enjoyed a dream weekend at Imola with a maiden win in single-seaters. Feeder Series talked to FRECA championship leader ahead of the second round of the season at Barcelona to learn more about him.
By Perceval Wolff
“The objective was just to be inside the points, it was the main point, and maybe catch a top 5 if there were incidents in front. It would already have been huge, but it went better than expected!”
An unexpected championship leader
Martinius Stenshorne has delighted the whole FRECA paddock by dominating the Imola weekend on his way to taking the championship lead. The Norwegian collected a pole position, one win and another podium the day later.
“It was much better than I expected, but I think it will not be easy to keep this momentum going because P1 and P2 was quite exceptional…so we will see. We need to be consistent and to be inside the points for the rest of the season, maybe a get few more podiums,” he said.
Despite this amazing start to his FRECA career, Stenshorne doesn’t want to think about the championship yet.
“It is still so early in the season. It is not an objective. We just have to continue and focus on one race at a time.”
Being the first R-ace GP driver to lead a championship in the last three years (the last one being Caio Collet at the start of 2020 in the Formula Renault Eurocup), Martinius Stenshorne has been signed by the French squad alongside two experienced drivers, those being Tim Tramnitz and Matias Zagazeta.
“When I need help, they are there for me. They are both very fast, they are very good teammates, [and] we push each other to the top. And I have to say they are really nice, it’s great to have a good relationship with them. It puts everyone in a good atmosphere to work.”
From go-karting in Norway to F4 podiums
Martinius Stenshorne comes from a country that is yet to have an F1 driver and where rallying is much more prominent.
“For sure, rallying is probably easier when you come from Norway, because you have all the roads…but my interest was always around open-wheel racing. I started karting at four years old when I received a go-kart as a present from my father for my birthday. I progressed to an international level, and I knew that to go higher I would have to go to F4.”
After clinching many successes in international races, the young Norwegian was discovered by one of the most influential managers in the sport: Nicolas Todt and his agency All Road Management.
“It was really nice, it was also a really good help, so I could focus solely on my performances, my results.”
Naturally, Martinius Stenshorne was promoted to Italian F4 for the 2022 season, with reigning champions Van Amersfoort Racing. However, the Dutch squad was unable to keep this momentum and spent the whole season behind teams like Prema.
“When I arrived in F4, the goal was to get the title. We went into the season with the hope of fighting for the championship. But unfortunately, we struggled quite a lot, and it wasn’t the year we hoped for, for sure.”
Despite this, Stenshorne still managed to score 80% of the total points of his team, finishing seventh in the standings with many points finishes and a couple of podiums.
“Consistency is nice, but I’d have preferred some wins I have to say. But the package improved quite a lot throughout the season, and at the end of the year, the speed was really not bad.”
“We looked at doing another year in F4, but we quickly chose to go with R-ace that is a top team in FRECA… and I have to say so far, it’s going pretty well, so it was not a decision that was too bad!”
A long way to go before F1
Unlike some of his rivals in FRECA, such as Antonelli or Câmara, Stenshorne has not yet been signed by an F1 Junior Team, but this is not a source of anxiety for the young Norwegian.
“It’s not something that I’m really stressed about. If I do good performances, I know it will come, but for the moment, there is no real stress. We will see maybe in a couple of years how it happens, but it’s not a big deal for the moment. I can’t lie, it would be nice in the future of course, but this is not the priority.”
On his way to F1, Stenshorne will potentially be able to use the advice and the help of his fellow countryman Dennis Hauger, a declared candidate for an AlphaTauri seat for 2024.
“I know him because we used to do karting together in Norway back in the day, but we don’t talk that much. We sometimes do some Team Norway camps together or things like this, but yeah, it’s nice to have a Norwegian driver a bit higher in the ladder.”
Martinius Stenshorne will be racing this weekend for the second round of the season at Barcelona and will be keen to keep his championship lead.
Header photo credit: Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency
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