It made for a thrilling battle at the end. Indy Dontje had been leading the rookie ranking of the ATS Formula 3 Cup throughout the season. However, Sam MacLeod became stronger and stronger and could have posed a threat at the end. The season finale at Hockenheim last weekend went perfectly. Therefore, the Dutchman made history in the German Formula 3 becoming the best rookie. The 21-year old from Schoorl completed a successful season. He made it into the points consistently and scored additional points for clocking the fastest lap several times. Dontje had previously contested two successful Formel ADAC seasons with his Team Lotus before his debut in the ATS Formula 3 Cup. In the interview he talks about his next step in his career.
Indy, you have led the rookie ranking from the start and did not relinquish the lead in the ranking once. Would you have dared to dream that at the start of the season?Honestly, it was not clear to me. There are many good drivers out there. However, winning the rookie title was the goal of my Team Principal and me. It went pretty well.
How does winning the title feel?Oh, it feels fantastic. I have not won a title since 2008. The rookie title is the best of all.
Better than your place among the top three of the championship? Of course it is great to have both. However, it's all about the winner. Nobody talks about the second or third placed.
You had a very good season. What will you remember?The season started off really well. I scored three podium finishes right away. That was fantastic!
The ATS Formula 3 Cup is the general qualification for motorsports. What have you learned during your training here?The ATS Formula 3 Cup is really good. I was able to do a lot of test sessions. You contest three races at each event. Therefore I gathered a lot of experience. Also the level of the competition is very high. The German Formula 3 is a good training!
When you are not on the road with the ATS Formula 3 Cup we always see you on your kart track in the Netherlands where you and your brother support young talents. And you are the ambassador of “Against cancer”, an organisation that supports children who have cancer. How do you balance all that?That's right. I am on the road a lot but I don't like to just sit around. I prefer to be busy. I love that. This season, we invited kids to Nürburgring and Hockenheim so that they could enjoy a day at the racetrack. We want to collect as much money as possible in order to help the kids in their race against the disease.
The big question: Where will we see you next year?I have a few options but no decision has been made so far. The Indy Lights in the US is one of several possibilities. Perhaps I will contest the FIA Formula 3 European Championship or I do tests for the GP3 Series, but that is a tough class. Just look at Marvin Kirchhöfer who is a really good driver, but even for the 2013 ATS Formula 3 Cup champion it is really tough. I definitely want to take the next step in my career after contesting the German Formula 3.
Is Formula 1 a goal for you too?Not at all. For me it is about being a good race driver in a high-profile racing series. It doesn't have to be Formula 1; it could also be in a GT team.
What advice do you have for the rookies in the 2015 ATS Formula 3 Cup?The ATS Formula 3 Cup offers the best training. There is no other series where you can be on the podium as a rookie. And you should always focus on your goal. If you want to achieve something you should follow your own path, no matter what others might be thinking. You don't have a lot of time, you're still young. Go for it!
Thank you, Indy! Congratulations again on winning the rookie title. We wish you all the best for the future!