Christian Lundgaard is the son of 2000 European Rally champion, Henrik Lundgaard, so he was brought up around racing. The Dane worked his way up through the karting ranks at an early age, winning the 2015 CIK-FIA Euro Karting FJ Championship with Ward Racing at the age of 14.
After another year in karts he was selected to become a member of the Renault Sport Academy and for 2017 he was placed with MP Motorsports contesting both the Spanish and SMP Formula 4 championships.
The young man from Hedensted, Denmark dominated both competitions:
SMP Formula 4 Champion: 21 races, 10 wins, 7 poles, 10 fastest laps
Spanish Formula 4 Champion: 20 races, 7 wins, 7 poles, 7 fastest laps
For the 2018 season he stayed with MP Motorsport but moved up to the very competitive Formula Renault 2.0 category, racing in both the Eurocup and NEC championships. He also made an appearance in GP3 at the two rounds held at Paul Ricard in June.
Although he took a pole, a fastest lap and two second places at the opening NEC round doubleheader at Pau, he skipped the next round at Monza and when he returned the rest of the season was disappointing. Lungaard finished in 11th position.
The Eurocup was a different story entirely with the Dane scoring 4 wins (plus 6 more podium finishes), 4 poles and 3 fastest laps to finish second in the championship and win Rookie of the Year.
At the end of the season it was announced that Lungaard will test with ART Grand Prix, presumably ahead of a 2019 drive in the newly revamped FIA Formula 3 Championship.
The fifth ABB FIA Formula E Championship season kicks off this weekend with the Ad Diriyah ePrix, around the streets of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There will be 12 more races between now and July 2019 when the season ends in New York City.
This season sees the introduction of the “Gen2” car, the Spark SRT05e, which ups the power output (25% more in qualifying and 10% more during the race) and finally allows the drivers to complete the race distance without the stupid car swaps during pit-stops. They also look WAY cooler!
Another change for this year is that all races will run for 45 minutes, plus one lap. This could make for some exciting finishes as teams will not know for sure how many laps will be run and drivers will need to be even more mindful of their remaining energy store.
As well as the popular “Fan Boost”, where fans vote to give their favorite driver some extra power, this year sees the introduction of “Attack Mode” which is full on Mario Kart! The driver goes off the racing line in a designated area and is rewarded with a temporary 25kW engine boost.
Ad Diriyah ePrix, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – December 15th 2018
Marrakesh ePrix, Moulay El Hassan, Morocco – January 12th 2019
Santiago ePrix, Higgins Park, Chile – January 26th 2019
Mexico City ePrix, Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico – February 16th 2019
Hong Kong ePrix, Hong Kong Harbourfront – March 10th 2019
Sanya ePrix, Sanya, China – March 23rd 2019
Rome ePrix, Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR, Italy – April 13th 2019
Paris ePrix, Circuit des Invalides, France – April 27th 2019
Monaco ePrix, Circuit de Monaco – May 11th 2019
Berlin ePrix, Tempelhof Airport, Germany – May 25th 2019
Bern ePrix, Bern, Switzerland – June 22nd 2019
New York City ePrix 1, Brooklyn, USA – July 13th 2019
New York City ePrix 2, Brooklyn, USA – July 14th 2019
Manufacturers are embracing Formula E with the number of teams increasing for the 2018-19 season, with HWA joining before becoming the Mercedes works team in season six. BMW now partners Andretti Motorsport and Nissan takes over the Renault entry. Porsche will also be joining, fielding a works team in the 2019-2020 season.
Reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne defends his title against a field of talented drivers. Notable names joining the driver ranks this season include former F1 pilots, Stoffel Vandoorne, Felipe Massa and Pascal Wehrlein, as well as 2018 DTM champion, Gary Paffett.
The first in a new series of articles profiling young drivers from around the world, as they progress through the ranks to a possible seat in a major series and future stardom.
Neil Verhagen was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut and like most young drivers cut his teeth in karting. After starting at an indoor track at the age of 7, it became a family operation as his parents took both he and his brother, Alex, to events all over the USA. As Neil got more successful his grandparents became part of the operation, too.
In 2011 the brothers attended the Indycar race at Baltimore and a meeting with Will Power (who incidentally took the win, pole and fastest lap at that race) convinced young Neil that he wanted to be a professional driver.
A couple more seasons of karting followed before Neil entered the 2014-2015 Skip Barber Winter Series, then competing in both F1600 and F2000 events. For 2016 the youngster, still only 15, signed on with the K-Hill Motorsports team and won the F1600 championship taking 9 wins, 15 podiums, 4 pole positions and 6 fastest laps in 21 races.
Enter Red Bull
This got the attention of the Red Bull Junior Team and he was invited to contest the final round of the Asian MRF Challenge series in Chennai, India alongside Dan Ticktum (who recently won the Macau GP for a second time). His performance there led to Red Bull Junior Team offering a spot in the program starting in 2017. This meant a huge transition as he moved to the Netherlands and drove for MP Motorsport in the highly competitive Euro Formula Renault 2.0 series, as well as contesting a couple of rounds in the F.Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, winning his first race at Assen. The 2017 Eurocup was more of a struggle but Verhagen scored a podium at the Hungaroring on his way to 11th in the standings.
The young American moved to the Italian Tech 1 Racing team for 2018, again competing in Formula Renault 2.0. As well as all the rounds of the Eurocup, he also contested 5 of the 6 Northern European Cup rounds, but the season was frustrating. After a promising start Verhagen had a run of 6 races without scoring points, though he did bounce back strongly at the final two rounds to again finish 11th in the standings.
His plans for 2018 have yet to be announced with a move to Formula 3 or another season of Formula Renault 2.0 being possibilities for the American. We’ll be following his progress here at MCZ F1.