A young man in a blue cap and an orange and cyan racing suit faces the camera and grins, holding a bottle of sparkling cider in his left hand and a trophy from the Euroformula Open championship in his right hand.

How 2022 EFO champion Oliver Goethe hit his stride: ‘Even when I was beaten, I kept my head up’

Oliver Goethe’s 2022 has been a dominant one. Driving for Motopark, Goethe won an astonishing 11 out of 26 races in this season’s Euroformula Open, including a clean sweep at Spa-Francorchamps, where he was untouchable. Goethe reflected on his season and spoke about his ambitions for the future in an interview with F1 Feeder Series.

By Oorjit Mishra

Despite such a dominant season, Goethe wasn’t a clear title favourite entering 2022.

“Coming into the season I wasn’t too sure where I would be, but right from the first test I really clicked with the car,” he said. “When I saw my times compared to my teammates’, I knew I had a good chance of fighting for the title this year.”

That confidence was well founded, as Goethe took pole for the season-opening round at Estoril and won the second race.

That victory came 21 months after his first – and only – prior win in car racing at Spanish F4’s 2020 Le Castellet round. A dreadful spell in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine brought just three points in 2021, and a winter campaign in the Formula Regional Asian Championship earlier in 2022 yielded just one point.

Staying confident

When asked what brought about that change in fortune, Goethe highlighted the importance of confidence in motorsport.

“It’s definitely down to the confidence I had with Euroformula car. I just enjoyed driving it a lot, and that helped massively in adapting to the new series. Racing at the front as well, it gives you a huge boost in motivation, and it’s much easier to motivate yourself when you’re battling for P1 versus P15.”

Goethe also described his own personal growth over 2022, particularly in his own approach to racing.

“The main thing for me is that last year, when things weren’t going my way, I let my head drop a bit, and that would cause me to fall even further behind. This year I made sure that even when I was beaten, I kept my head up, kept working hard, and that showed in the results.”

Last year, when things weren’t going my way, I let my head drop a bit.… This year I made sure that even when I was beaten, I kept my head up

Oliver Goethe

Performing on the world stage

Goethe wasn’t just strong in EFO, however, as he showed when he filled in for the injured Hunter Yeany at Campos Racing for FIA Formula 3’s rounds supporting the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix. Having got up to speed instantly with points on debut at the Hungaroring, Goethe then went onto fight for the victory at Spa-Francorchamps, eventually finishing fourth in the Feature Race.

“Being part of the F1 paddock is such an incredible experience,” Goethe surmised. “I personally didn’t think about the number of viewers or anything, but being out on track in front of all the F1 teams was something special. All young drivers want to be affiliated with an F1 team, so getting to show my skills in front of them was unforgettable.”

Oliver Goethe driving at Spa in FIA F3 | Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

Following his FIA F3 adventure, Goethe returned to the front of the Euroformula Open field, though he faced competition from his fellow Motopark drivers. Vladislav Lomko, who took five wins in the latter half of the season, posed a particularly strong challenge, but Goethe kept his head down. After failing to score a podium in all three races at Monza, Goethe bounced back in typical fashion at Barcelona, taking a win in the first weekend of the weekend to clinch the title.

“It feels amazing,” Goethe said about the moment he won the title. “I’ve worked so hard [and] the team has done a fantastic job this year and over the winter, so winning the championship was like validation of all the effort.”

Choosing a flexible academic programme

A month on from that moment, and Goethe happily shared that he’s looking to race in FIA F3 next year. When pressed for details, he replied, “You’ll know soon about which team I’ll be racing with.”

He was, however, freer to share the details of what he has planned for winter. “Over the winter I’ll be relaxing with my family, doing a lot of training, and I’ll be going to school.”

Goethe attends the International School of Monaco, where he is doing the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme over a more flexible three-year period. When asked how he manages school with a full racing schedule, Goethe said, “My school has been amazing. They’ve been super supportive and let me have a flexible timetable, and whenever I’ve missed classes or tests, they’ve been super helpful in letting me catch up on things.”

Oliver Goethe crosses the line to win both Race 1 at Barcelona and the 2022 Euroformula Open title | Credit: Euroformula Open

Header photo credit: Euroformula Open

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