Hauger joined the Red Bull junior scheme for his first year of car racing back in 2018, and went on to win the FIA Formula 3 title in 2021 with the energy drink giant’s support.
However, the Norwegian’s two seasons in F2 since then have fallen short of expectations, as he could only manage 10th overall last year driving for Prema and sits eighth this season ahead of this weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi after moving to MP Motorsport.
Despite losing Red Bull’s support, Hauger will remain in F2 next season with MP.
Speaking to Motorsport.com at last weekend’s Macau Grand Prix, Hauger revealed that he was informed by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko as early as July’s Spa round that he would not be retained for 2024, but said he accepts the “brutal” nature of such decisions.
“I got the message to meet him [Marko] in Spa just before qualifying, and then we talked for 20 minutes,” said Hauger. “Obviously I hoped for a lot more this season as well.
“We could have been up there if things had gone our way at certain points, but in the end we have to just put that behind us and do everything we can for next season, because it will be my last in F2 and an important one to try and make that last step [to F1].”
Asked if he felt Red Bull should have given him more time, he replied: “Helmut is Helmut, he can be brutal! We can agree or disagree about it, but I want to thank them for the years we had together.
“It could open more doors next year if I do well. Maybe they will need me back! I have no contract [with an F1 team], so I am open to any chance.”
Second the ‘maximum’ for Hauger at Macau
Hauger was a last-minute addition to the Macau grid for the revival of the FIA F3 World Cup, as he replaced an injured Franco Colapinto at MP.
Starting the final race fifth on the grid, Hauger took advantage of early crashes for Alex Dunne and Dino Beganovic before passing Paul Aron to move up into third place.
After Aron’s fiery crash at the red flag period that followed, Hauger was able to get ahead of Gabriele Mini on the restart and challenge eventual winner Luke Browining into Lisboa, but couldn’t make the move stick, ending up second.
Reflecting on his near miss, Hauger said that starting the qualifying race eighth compromised his chances and that he was glad to be able to take the fight to the frontrunning teams.
“For sure Hitech and Prema have been really quick this weekend, so I feel like we maximised the potential we had,” said Hauger. “I was just on the back foot the whole weekend, starting P8 [for the qualifying race] and P5 [for the final].
“But we’ve been going step-by-step, getting better every session, and in the end we were quicker than the Prema guys, just behind Luke and able to challenge him.
“I tried to squeeze him a bit to the inside and I braked as late as I could, I was hoping he might get nervous on the braking and back out, but he didn’t give up.
“I gave 120 percent, it was all or nothing. We’ve done a good job, but it was the maximum we could do.”