Can you name a Norwegian F1 driver from the past? You can’t can you? That’s because there has never been one. Which is strange considering we’ve had 16 Scandinavians in the form of Danes and Swedes. Now we have Dennis Hauger and he’s laser-focused on writing history as the first Norwegian F1 driver. With Red Bull’s backing, he might just do it.
Dennis Hauger: Early Career
Dennis Hauger was born in March 2003 making him just 18 at the start of the 2021 season. He began karting at the age of 5, taking his first win at the age of 8. From 2014 to 2017 he won an absolute sackful of karting championships including multiple international titles. Following his DKM title in 2017, where he was at the time the youngest driver to become the champion, Hauger signed to the Red Bull Junior Team.
Along with fellow RBJT member, Jack Doohan, the TRS Arden team signed Hauger to compete in British F4 for 2018. Christian Horner and his brother formed the Arden team and it retains strong ties to the Red Bull F1 team. Hauger took four wins on his way to 4th in the championship. But it was Doohan who took the Junior championship.
Hauger moved to the Van Amersfoort Racing team for 2019. This time, though, he would be competing in the ADAC and Italian F4 championships. It was a stunning season as Hauger picked up 6 wins in the ADAC series, finishing second to Theo Pourchaire. Meanwhile, in the Italian championship, Hauger dominated the championship. By the time the season ended he had clocked up 12 race victories. Hauger captured the title with a round to spare before a trip to Monza to win a grand slam of victories in the final round.
Hauger heads to F3
Dennis Hauger was given a Euroformula Open outing with Motopark at Silverstone in preparation to move up to F3 for 2020. Standing in for regular drivers Lawson and Tsunoda, Hauger managed respectable 6th and 5th place finishes.
The same success didn’t follow into his rookie F3 season, however. Racing for Hitech Grand Prix alongside Max Fewtrell and Liam Lawson, it was a disappointing year. While Lawson managed 3 wins, Hauger only managed a single podium all season and finished 17th overall.
Hauger drove in the post-season tests at Catalunya and Jerez for Prema Racing and was duly announced as one of their drivers in December 2020.
Dennis Hauger GP Grandstand Prediction:
We’ve said many times on this site that 2021 could be a crucial one for many drivers. Dennis Hauger is no exception. In a similar way to Mick Schumacher, Hauger appears to be a two seasons per category kind of driver. He finds his feet in his rookie year and delivers his true potential in his sophomore effort.
Driving for Prema merely ratchets up the expectations on Hauger this year. FDA drivers Arthur Leclerc and Olli Caldwell in the sister cars will be both performance benchmarks and title rivals. Matching them and finishing in the Top 5 for the year has to be the minimum for Hauger.
Assuming Hauger delivers that level of performance this season, then F2 in 2022 will be the only logical step. And again, we should expect his best F2 work in 2023.
So is Hauger a potential 2024 or 2025 F1 driver? Maybe. He’ll be 22 or 23, depending on which year he’s “ready”. That is almost too late for an F1 driver at the moment. The aftermath of Vettel, Verstappen, and Norris’s young debuts is still being felt across the single-seater ladder.
I mentioned that driving for Prema increases the pressure on Hauger this year. But let’s not forget that he wears the blue, red, and yellow of Red Bull as well. The Eye of Sauron, sorry, Helmut Marko, will be firmly on the young Norwegian. Red Bull has the best academy for getting their drivers to F1, but those AlphaTauri seats are earned. If Hauger wants that historic first Norwegian F1 driver mantle, he knows what he needs to do.