Arriving in FIA Formula 3 fresh from claiming the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine title, Dino Beganovic is raring to go with PREMA Racing. The Swede, part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, took his first single seater crown last year and expectations remain high heading into his rookie F3 campaign.
The combination of PREMA/Beganovic is a strong one going into the new season and the driver himself believes there’s no reason why they can’t be in the picture for a repeat in 2023.
“It feels great to continue with the team. I started with PREMA in Formula 4 and it feels great to continue that work, especially after our success from last year where we won the Formula Regional Championship – Teams’ and Drivers’.
“I'm very pleased with that and, as everybody knows, PREMA’s background in Formula 3 is a very one, and no team can really top that. Obviously, it's a new Championship, but after last season it's difficult to not have high expectations. The goal is to carry on the momentum and work with the team in the direction to put another title on the board.”
PREMA enters the 2023 campaign as reigning Teams’ Champions and with the same high standards. Casting his mind back to post-season testing in 2023 and what was his first opportunity to sample the PREMA car, Beganovic says it was a hugely positive experience.
Acclimatising to the increased downforce, power and braking capabilities in the F3 car, he says that the three days were a big success. He finished up with 229 laps by the end of the test and a great feeling of what the future might hold in 2023.
“Testing went pretty much as I expected. We had some good drafts obviously was a learning process for many new drivers there as well. But I'm quite satisfied with that. Obviously, there are some small things to work on but, with my engineer, we had some time about this winter to get going and get started with each other.
“On the first day, I can remember that I couldn't hide my smile because the car, it's just great to drive. It's quite a big difference from what I've driven before, Formula 4 and Formula Regional. There’s more power, more downforce and you can really feel the downforce which was the main difference for me - to get used to carrying that much more speed than you could ever expect.”
Preparations for 2023 are well underway and, as part of his gearing up for his rookie F3 campaign, Beganovic is competing in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship throughout January and February.
On the first weekend, Beganovic got a taste of what we could see play out this year. A hugely competitive scrap with familiar foe Gabriele Mini, signed to Hitech Grand Prix for this year’s F3 season, went right to the final lap in a no-holds-barred fight for victory.
It was an on track battle that the Ferrari Academy Driver ultimately won, claiming the first victory of the FRMEC campaign. The Swede says that the competitiveness of the Championship is a hugely valuable tool for every driver, sharpening their skills ahead of a new racing season.
“You're preparing yourself and getting back that feeling in a racing environment instead of just being testing in Europe with some old cars for example. So, it's nice to get started after the winter break and to make sure you are not rusty for the start of the season.
“As we know, there is not a lot of testing before the races in F3 which will be at key factor for me to get going quickly and be as prepared as possible when we come to the first race. So that's why we're doing the Championship, just to make sure we're exploiting all the possibilities I have on track to get up to speed. I want to fight for victories. I want to be at the top fighting for the top positions.”
Reflecting on the tag of being one of the favourites for the Championship, Beganovic doesn’t shy away from the level of expectations that are laid at his door. Instead, the Swede says that the learning experiences of fighting for wins and titles have helped him deal with the pressure, and he says he’s turned it into a positive force rather than negative energy lingering over him.
“It’s a good thing as motivation that people are believing in me and in my potential. Obviously, maybe if you asked me three or four years ago when I just started Formula racing, it would be a different answer. Maybe I would take it as more pressure, but over the years I think I've grown as a driver and as a person and taken that kind of pressure and turned it into a good thing. That people see that potential in me is only good and it doesn’t put me on the backfoot.”
Partnering Williams Racing Academy Driver Zak O’Sullivan and Mercedes junior Paul Aron, Beganovic is ready for a stern test from those closest to him. With Aron already experienced in fighting with Beganovic as teammates and O’Sullivan targeting a title bid with a year of experience under his belt, the 19-year-old is gearing up for what he expects to be a great season and battle.
“It's gonna be great. Paul and I have been teammates for two years now and this will be our third year together. Zak had a strong season last year and he's doing a second season so obviously he will be fighting for the best results. It's gonna be fun.”