"My Goal Is the Championship."
The championship premiere in Formula V ended with a surprise: 21-year-old Felix Hirsiger from Erlenbach on Lake Zurich surprised all the competitors and was took the winning cheque of 5,000 Swiss Francs.
The 30-minute final race took place without two favourites. None of Shaun Vogel's qualification rounds could be validated by the electronic monitoring system, while the Hungarian Benjamin Badér overshot in a corner in the semi-final and could not catch up with the time penalties. Badér secured at least 10 points by winning the small final.
The winner of the first race is a driver with real racing experience: up to Formula 4, he has always been one of the strongest Swiss drivers. He then had to put his ambitions on the back burner for financial reasons. And because he had recently decided to work as a real estate agent and pushed his career as an amateur cyclist, the man from Erlenbach lost sight of his racing ambitions.
The sceptical gaze is deceiving: Felix Hilsiger’s race was close to perfect.
Thanks to his strong performance in Cham, however, he now hopes to relaunch his career: "This success is a big thing - perhaps a little door will open again somewhere thanks to Formula V". The fact that he started as an outsider is only partly true: "I knew what I could do. But hardly anyone talked about me before the start ». Now he goes all out: "My goal is the Swiss championship title".
"There's no more
fairness in racing
Hirsiger is extremely grateful for the opportunity offered to him by Formula V: "Finally I get the chance to show my skills without any great financial outlay. The principle of equal opportunities is also very important to him: "In the simulator, everyone starts with the same requirements. There is no fairer form of racing".
Formula V initiator Francisco Fernandez likes to hear this. The founder of Formula V from Lucerne was highly satisfied with the first championship event: "Look how much fun people have». If it goes according to his ideas, this fun will be experienced around the globe sooner rather than later. For the time being, the drivers will be driving in Cham and opposite to the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello. In Zurich, the second Swiss branch opens in August, followed by the Madrid lounge in autumn. There is great interest in several cities in Switzerland and abroad.
For Fernandez, a native of Spain, the project is a matter close to his heart. He does not think that virtual racing could only be a short-term trend. A potential franchisee from Germany has already made an offer to open 600 lounges. For Fernandez a clear sign: "Imagine what only becomes possible when countries like China, India, South Korea or the USA jump on the bandwagon!»
Fernandez sees no limits in the digital world: "We have the possibility of interconnecting simulators from different countries and thus holding international races. Then simulators in Maranello will drive against simulators in Madrid.“
But back to Cham. There, Danica Brönimann from the Bernese Oberland held her own against the otherwise purely male field of drivers. The 27-year-old surgical assistant from the Inselspital in Bern finished the race in a respectable 24th place. She is happy about the new opportunity offered to her: "I've driven a Formula Renault car on a real race track before. This is very close to reality. That's a very strong feeling". After the race Danica booked an annual subscription.
The first Formula V payday - Felix Hilsiger's start to his second career?
But Felix Hirsiger could experience the strongest feeling at the end of a nerve-racking and high-class competition. From the hands of Francisco Fernandez he received a trophy and the winner's check of 5000 Swiss Francs. At the award ceremony you could almost imagine yourself at a real Formula 1 race. Only the champagne shower remained virtual. The cleaning team knew how to thank it.
Thomas Renggli, Cham
(*Best times of the non-qualified from the quarterfinals)