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Regaining momentum and championship aspirations: Dennis Hauger on his incredible start to the 2024 F2 season

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Sean McKean

Image Credit: Dennis Hauger

Dennis Hauger enters his third and final year in Formula 2 looking to grab the championship with MP Motorsport. 

It hasn’t been the easiest of runs in the championship for the Norwegian. Hauger excelled in the feeder series ladder, winning the Italian F4 and the FIA Formula 3 championships as well as finishing runner up in ADAC F4. 

His F3 season particularly sparked interest when he finished on the podium 14 out of 21 times - Hauger’s consistency marking him a future talent. It landed him a seat in Prema’s F2 lineup for 2022.

However, after making the jump up, the Norwegian struggled to keep the momentum going in Formula 2, experiencing vast amounts of bad luck during race weekends, thus missing out on potential wins and podiums. 

Keeping positive

Image Credit: Dennis Hauger

Last season, he finished eighth overall in the standings, but that in no way reflected the performances he put in throughout the year, securing two podiums and two sprint wins. He was in contention for the championship early on, but after being involved in collisions and facing car issues he couldn’t control, he finished the season in eighth. 

Hauger spoke to DIVEBOMB about how he dealt with the unfortunate bad luck he encountered last season. The No.11 driver expressed his passion for the sport and goes on to say that the bad luck has been an experience for him to build on.

“I think I have learnt that with experience, there are going to be ups and downs all the time,” he said. “For me it’s just about keeping the work and keep remembering why I am doing what I am doing because I love it.  

“To get where you want to be, you have to keep working even if it's going really well, you have to keep working and especially if it's going really badly.

“There's bad points, like out in the last round in Australia,” Hauger said, referring to when he crashed from the net-race lead on lap 11. “But I mean looking at the positives [from Australia], the pace is really strong, we figured out the qualifying pace which we struggled with last year,” he added.

“There are so many positive aspects to it that we just focus on that, we take the bad stuff as an experience but I think it is about seeing the complete picture and why you’re doing what you’re doing.”

Adapting to the new F2 chassis

For 2024, F2 made the decision to change the vehicle regulations, introducing more downforce and speed to resonate more with an F1 car and lessen the gap when moving up. Hauger has openly admitted he struggled with the Dallara 2018 chassis. 

In the new spec, however, his pace has been stronger, having secured three consecutive podiums, before another third at Monaco, and a pole position in Australia, slotting him into fourth overall in the standings.

Continuing his conversation with DIVEBOMB, Hauger speaks about adapting to the new car and how it’s been a great experience to build the car up from scratch with the MP Motorsport team and find a balance which works well for himself.

“From the driver's perspective, it’s not been too different. The driving style is still similar. 

“It's more about the aerodynamics of the car: set up-wise it’s a bit different, which makes the work we have to put in with the team to try maximise the car [basically feels like] starting from scratch and to build up that set up. That’s been a cool and fun part of it. 

“I think with the experience [I have], it helped me know that's what I want from the car and the team. 

“I struggled with the old F2 car, it hadn't worked well with me, so to be able to build up something with the team which looks like it's working, it's a nice feeling.”

Image Credit: Dennis Hauger

A notable performance from Hauger was back in Saudi Arabia. He started in seventh and fought his way up on the last lap to a podium finish. 

The incredible move took place on the last lap when the MP Motorsport driver overtook two of his rivals at once and claimed the final position on the podium just mere centimetres from the finish line. Reminiscing on the moment, Hauger retells the race and that moment from his perspective.

“I didn’t expect to take them both on that last corner. In general I was a bit stuck behind the traffic, behind the [DRS] train. 

“I just passed Kimi Antonelli on the second to last lap. Going into the last lap, I knew I had the pace, and when I got loose from him I was already cutting time on Crawford for half the lap. Going into the last corner, I think Cordeel broke a bit too early, and Crawford stuck on the inside and I got on the outside.

“I got a good run for the exit, as Crawford had to go quite tight, I could open up the corner and get a good exit and when it got to the finish it got quite close, but it was a super cool and fun moment with a lot of adrenaline. I was so happy crossing the line and getting the P3, it was a happy time.”

A strong weekend in Australia

Image Credit: Dennis Hauger

The following round in Australia, Hauger took his first pole position in F2. After a caution-filled session, there was only time for drivers to clock in one more lap, meaning it was make-or-break for Hauger, who was running well in the session. He flew around the 3.3-mile (5.3-kilometre) long circuit, putting an incredible 1.28:694 on the board and securing pole in Melbourne. 

Looking back at the moment, Hauger speaks about crossing the line and finding out he took his first pole.

“First pole position in F2: I got some in F3 - but it’s been a while!

“It was a really good moment. One of our main struggles last year was to get the qualifying right, and have the set-up, car and confidence to push on that last lap. 

“There was a red flag with four minutes to go, so we only had one lap to do it. To be able to do it and max out the car and performance was a really good moment for me, personally. Obviously it was good to see we had the pace and the car. 

“The package is there for us now so it is just about keeping the momentum there.”

Starting from the reverse pole, Hauger looked to keep the momentum up, Friday’s chaotic antics played into the sprint, which marginally helped the Norwegian move up the pecking order. Hauger remarked this weekend as strong one for himself and the team who excelled around the circuit:

“I think that weekend, we had a really strong pace and in general the race pace this season has been really good. 

“I think I got a bit lucky with the crash of three other guys, but to stay out of chaos and have a strong pace [was an important factor to the sprint]. 

“It was a bit of a [DRS] train in the last few laps. If I got past Kush Maini I could have got another position. I think on that last lap, it was about staying calm and out of trouble and taking positions one by one. 

“For us now, it is now keeping the pace up for the next few rounds,” Hauger added.

Looking ahead to the future

Image Credit: Dennis Hauger

It was later confirmed that Hauger would be one of six F2 drivers taking part in the Formula E test in Berlin. The Norwegian tested the highly-acclaimed Porsche electric car, the powertrain at the heart of 2023 champion Jake Dennis’ triumph. It was also the first time Hauger drove a Formula E car.

“I mean it is a very good role for drivers, who come from formula cars or in general. It has a great amount of high level drivers and professional teams so it'll be interesting to see what it is like.”

Ahead of his 2024 campaign, Hauger announced that this season would be his final in F2. He mentioned to Feeder Series how spending more seasons in the championship wouldn’t be beneficial, meaning this season is hugely important to his future. When asked about what his future could be looking like, Hauger mentioned how he is fully focusing on his F2 season.

“At the moment in my career my main focus is F2, try to get the championship which is my only focus and then we will see where it takes me after the season.”

The fourth round of the F2 season took place in Imola on the 17th of May. The championship returned to the circuit after having to cancel 2023’s running of the race due to weather. 

Hauger looked ahead to the race, stating that with the new F2 spec, there will be some “unknowns” but is looking forward to driving around the circuit again, aiming to maximise everything during the weekend:

“There are a few unknown factors. No one has been there with that car, it will be just about preparing as best as I can. In general I like the track, it is a very technical track which I enjoy so I am looking forward to driving it. But the most important thing will be to work with the team to maximise everything with the car and ourselves and to do the best job we can.”

Time is now ticking down until the next round of the F2 season kicks off. Hauger sits fourth in the standings – 24 points behind the championship leader Paul Aron. It’s shaping up to be an exciting and close battle in F2.


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