One-on-one with Danish F4 cult hero Mads Hoe: ‘I wasn’t faster, they were just slower’

He went up against Denmark’s biggest karting talents, a Japanese prodigy and the son of a Brazilian Formula 1 champion and came out on top in a Formula 5 car: we had a chat with 2021 Danish F4 champion Mads Hoe. For the first and last time probably, as the 24-year-old is quitting motorsport to focus on his career as a web developer.

By Tyler Foster & Floris Visman

How does it feel to be the Danish Formula 4 Champion after a very dominant and entertaining season? Have you appreciated this racing season more since COVID-19 and the resulting shorter season of 2020?

Well, it’s a little strange, seen from the perspective that I was competing in a Formula 5 car, which is ten years older than the Formula 4 car. But it was a fantastic feeling when I crossed the line in the final race securing both titles.

The shorter season in 2020 didn’t bother me at all, the only thing that I really hated, was that we couldn’t have any spectators for the races – we had the same problem in the first half of the 2021 season.

Where does your passion for motorsport and motor racing come from?

This can’t be explained with words man, haha. There are so many things that I love about it, not only the racing, but also seeing the young guns evolving into better racing drivers.

I’m in love with the adrenalin, the races, the weekends with the team, my mechanics and my dad, the winning feeling and so on, I can go on and on.

As both a driver and a team boss, what is your favourite part about racing for your own team?

This is a tough one. I have never tried anything else, it has always just been me and my dad. But I think that it’s my favourite part, because as a child, my dad wasn’t home much because of his job, so racing in the weekends was a way for me to spend a lot of time with him.

How much fun is it racing in the same category and the same team as your sister? Are you two competitive over everything? What is your relationship like with your sister? How much support do you give her on a race week?

It is a lot of fun. My sister (Mille Hoe, ed.) has been learning a lot this year. She hasn’t been racing as much as me because the focus always was on me when I started racing in karts.

I won’t say that we’re competitive over everything, doing the weekends I’ll help her just as much as the other drivers in the team – But when I’m driving at the same time, it can be hard to get the time for everyone.

How does the Formula 4 machinery you have driven in 2019 compare to the Formula 5 machinery that you used in 2021?

I moved back to the Formula 5 for two simple reasons: money and fun. The Formula 5 is so much cheaper to compete in, and the main problem for me was that we leased the Formula 4. So if I damaged anything in the races we just needed to repair, no matter how much it would cost. We own the Formula 5’s our self, so if the damages costs too much, we could simple wait repairing it.
So I wasn’t going all-in in the Formula 4 in the same way I’m in a Formula 5.

The other thing – the fun haha – I just love the Formula 5, I feel so much at home driving it. The H-patterns are so much more difficult than the supportive paddle shift, which won’t downshift before the car is ready and by itself cuts the gas in the upshifts. Even though the Formula 5 has been limited to 125hp from the former 160hp – we’re losing around one and a half second per lap because of the limiter – it’s still just so much more fun.

If you compare my lap times in the two cars, I’ve been around half a second faster in the Formula 4 on every track that I have ever been on with the Formula 5. So I haven’t been faster this year than the other years, the others were just slower.

The whole year they have all said it was because I had more experience – None of them realised, that they had been sitting behind the steering wheel of a race car for more kilometres than I have, because I never do test days – I only drive in the race weekends.

How enjoyable is it to be racing against young promising talents on the grid such as Emerson Fittipaldi Jr. and Juju Noda?

It has been stunning; not just racing against them, but also beating them. The first race weekend of the year, I had the perfect weekend with pole position and three heat wins. After the races Emmo (Emerson Jr., ed.) came into our tent with a Pirelli cap signed by his father: I was absolutely starstruck haha. He is going to achieve all the things that I only dream about, because I don’t have the budget for doing anything else.

But getting back to the question, I think you’re forgetting some of the Danish talents in Formula 4 – Noah (Stromsted, ed.), Frederik (Lund, ed.) and Sebastian (Gravlund, ed.) only did a few races in 2021, but they were absolutely killing it. These three will show a lot next year I believe.

From left to right: William Wulf, Mads Hoe, Emmo Fittipaldi Jr.

What do you make of the young Danish talents in Formula 2 and Formula 3: Christian Lundgaard and Frederik Vesti? Does the future of Danish motorsport look promising in your opinion?

Huge respect for both. I know them both personally and have been racing Christian’s older brother Daniel in the past, and Vesti himself. I now there isn’t a thing they wouldn’t do to achieve their dreams.

I think the future of Danish racing drivers is very promising. We also having Christian Rasmussen in the US doing an unbelievable job, I drove against Christian in 2016. But there is a lot of upcoming karting talent too, so I think the future is very promising for Denmark.

Are you aware of the ‘Hoes Mad’ meme that has been created about you? If so, is it nice to be recognised as a bit of ‘cult hero’ within the feeder series categories?

Haha, I didn’t know, but I would love to see some of them, so just send them to me.

Do you ever get recognised in day-to-day life by any motorsport fans? If so, what are those experiences like?

I have been a few times, but it hasn’t been in day-to-day situations. It has been when I was out as a karting mechanic for some of the Danish races, or when I was out spectating some races in Denmark too.

The experiences are a little weird, because I’m still the same person as I was years ago when I wasn’t winning. Everyone is welcome to come talk to me, I’m very open as a person. But I still think that it’s a lot of fun haha, some even looks starstruck when they see me, and I’m just like “Hi, what’s up?” Haha.

What are your plans for the future in motorsport? Will your focus remain on racing or will you try and support more young drivers to join your team?

Well, I said to myself that 2021 was going to be my last year racing. Partly because we can’t find the budget to keep doing it, but also because I’m getting older and need to focus on my education as a web developer and I’m beginning to work a lot more. But who knows if an offer slides into my DM, I might consider it haha.

No matter what, the team will continue. My sister will still be racing and we’ll try to get some other drivers to join Mads Hoe Motorsport.

I will still be present at the Danish races as a coach and mentor for our drivers, and who knows, maybe I’ll guest a race or two in a race car older than most of the boys in Formula 4 haha.

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