Following a brace of successful seasons in British F3, Sebastian Hohenthal has taken the leap up to the new FIA Formula Two Championship in 2009 – and is already making clear that he is 'not in motorsport just because I don't have anything else to do at the weekends'.
The young Swedish star achieved two victories, eight rostrum finishes, two fastest laps and a lap record over the course of his time spent in British F3 with Fortec Motorsport in 2007 and 2008, but for all those highs, there were also, he acknowledges, the inevitable lows that conspired to torpedo a hoped-for title charge.
“I had some good races,” he reflected, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio
, “but I came late into the championship [in 2007] after signing a contract just days before we went out testing at Pembrey, and overall the two seasons I had in Formula 3 were tough.
“When we got everything alright we were able to win races in both wet and dry and were on the podium, and last year up until halfway through the season we were quite well up there and looking good. After that, though, the Carlin guys found something that we didn't and just went away.”
Indeed, seventh place – despite missing the final six races last year due to budgetary restrictions – was far from what the runaway 2006 Formula Renault UK Champion had anticipated of his time in F3, and he admits that his mixed fortunes over the past two seasons were what set him to musing that somewhere out there lay something better. And then Jonathan Palmer appeared on the horizon.
“I thought 'why stay here and use up more money to finish no better than maybe fifth or sixth?'” he continued. “That's why I thought it was better to stop then, gather together all my sponsors in Sweden and sit down with them and say 'look, we're going to find something that will take us even higher'.
“Then people started talking about the new Formula Two Championship, and I think this is the place to be. Early on I was in contact with Jonathan, he sent me an invitation to the Williams launch and after that I thought 'this is really going to be something we should look at doing'.
“For me it sounded surprisingly cheap, and I think the timing is even more perfect than they had believed at the beginning, because just after the launch we saw that the credit crisis arrived. Then I saw the car and understood how much Williams and Patrick Head are involved in designing it, so I knew that would be really good too.
“After that I saw the circuits which are really good, and finally I saw the prize that you will get if you are quick – and especially if you win the championship, which is the main thing. For me everything looked really good – not only the price. I think it is going to be something extraordinary.”