• Joel Eriksson becomes first 'half-time champion' in ADAC Formula 4 history • Most successful contestant with five wins from twelve races • Eriksson: "I want to make history by following up this half-time championship with the real title"
Joel, you've just become the first half-time champion in the history of ADAC Formula 4. What does that mean to you? I'm really happy. It's an incredible feeling to occupy the top spot in the championship at the end of the first half of the season. This is the first year of the ADAC Formula 4 series, and I'm really hoping to make history by following up this half-time championship with the real title. You already competed in the 2014 Formel ADAC which was the predecessor series to ADAC Formula 4. Where do you see your biggest improvements compared to last year? My lap times have become much more consistent. They don't very often swing dramatically one way or another; I just drive at a consistently good level. I also see clear progress in my overtaking manoeuvres. They have become more effective, but at the same time, I'm always careful not to take any excessive risks. In such a tightly contested series as ADAC Formula 4, it's important to keep racking up the championship points if you're aiming for the title. I have calmed down quite a bit, and I tend to hold back if I'm not confident of overtaking an opponent. So far this season, you've managed five wins. Is there one that means more to you than the others? My first win at the Red Bull Ring. I fought for pole position and then converted it perfectly into a win. The first victory in a new season is always an incredible experience; you've proved to yourself and to everyone else that you haven't forgotten anything and that you have a winning mentality. It was the same last year when the turning point of my season was the weekend at the Red Bull Ring. The advantage I had this time, though, was that it was the second event of the season and that I arrived there as championship leader. Were you expecting before the season that you would be one of the title contenders? I had expected to be consistently finishing in the Top Three. But with the field of contestants being so strong, I wouldn't have dared to dream of five wins in twelve races. As early as the winter testing, I could see from my lap times that I was fast and competitive. But there is a lot more to motor racing than that, so I'm happy that everything has gone as well as it has so far. One other key factor is having the right team. You were already with Motopark when you contested the 2014 Formel ADAC. How important is it to have a good atmosphere within the team? A good feeling within the team is really important, and that's exactly what I found at Motopark. I trust my team 110 percent. If I ask for changes to my car, they carry these out to my precise specification. I can always rely on them, and they can rely on me. Motopark is like a family for me. On the subject of family, your brother Jimmy also drove for Motopark some years ago. Do you ever talk about matters other than racing? Motorsport is a lifestyle choice, and at home we hardly talk about anything else. My brother's opinion is very important to me. We talk to each other on the phone after every race, regardless of whether it was him or me behind the wheel. He is very proud of my performance and vice versa. We've been supporting each other since our time in karting, and we have one big dream in particular: we'd like to be in the same racing series. I'm sure that we would never stop helping and supporting each other. Before you can defend your championship lead at the Nürburgring on the weekend of 14th to 16th August, you have the midsummer break. Have you got anything special planned? The focus is mainly on training. I have to be in top shape for the second half of the season, so I'll be working hard on that. In summer, I like to go jet skiing on the Swedish lakes. Although the water temperature is only about 16 degrees, the cooling effect is just right after all the expenditure of sporting energy. In addition, I'll be doing some DIY work on my cars. I have three old Volvos in my garage, and at the moment I'm repairing one of the turbo engines with the aim of generating more performance. This sort of knowledge comes in very useful in motor racing. I understand the technical side, which possibly helps me to explain various things better, although the parallels between a Volvo and an ADAC Formula 4 racing car are not exactly great... What are your long-term objectives in racing? I would like to compete in Formula 1 some day, and it's an objective that I intend to pursue. As a next step, I'm hoping to graduate to GP3 or to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Both series have their merits. GP3 takes place in the context of Formula 1, whereas Formula 3 involves a larger number of races. In terms of racing experience, that would be my first choice. Ultimately, though, all of these series are about the same thing: the results have to be good enough, and it's important to be in the right place at the right time. Then, anything is possible.