22-year-old Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser will be racing in his third season of GP3 in 2014. He has switched teams for this year having joined Arden International, having spent the previous two years at Jenzer Motorsport.
Niederhauser went into the 2013 season as one of the pre-season favourites, having won twice in his debut season in 2012, but despite a promising first race weekend where he grabbed two podium finishes, it was a year of disappointment for the Swiss driver. It was a case of what could go wrong, did go wrong.
“After winning the Italian Formula Abarth Championship we decided to move on with Jenzer and go into GP3 which was for sure the right decision,” said Niederhauser to Checkered Flag. “My first year in GP3 was very good. I won two times and made several podiums, which was above our expectations. So it was clear that we wanted to fight for the championship in 2013.
“With the new car things changed a lot so, it was basically a new category. After a great first event in Barcelona we’ve had unfortunately a very bad and sometimes unlucky year. Now, it’s time to move on.”
Niederhauser looks back fondly at his time with Jenzer Motorsport, but acknowledges that it was time to move away from Andreas Jenzer’s team, and Arden International were the team he moved on to for 2014.
“I’ve learned many things during my time at JMS. Andreas showed me also many important things outside the car or racetrack to be successful. Also last season was very tough for me and I think it was a very character-building year. I’ve learned to appreciate all the good things a lot more.
“I’ve basically spent my entire single-seater career there [at Jenzer]. I know the people very well and they became good friends of mine. So of course it’s quite a big change. But the motivation and anticipation to work with Arden International is very big and after spending four years at JMS it was simply about time for something new. It is a new challenge, a new experience.
“We were already in contact [with Arden] back in 2012. So, we knew each other a bit. Then I was able to test with them at the post-season tests in Abu Dhabi. After such a tough year it felt massive for me to set the fastest time of the whole test. I felt very well with the team and they were happy with my work. The rest was formality.”
When talking about 2014, Niederhauser wants to stand on the top step of the podium again, and is looking forward to working with his new team-mates Robert Visoiu and Jann Mardenborough to propel his new team forward in the championship.
“As it is my 3rd year in GP3 my goal is definitely to fight for the championship and together with Arden International I do now have all the requirements together. I want to win races again. I really miss that, as there is no better feeling than winning.
“I know Robert very well as we were team-mates back in 2012. It will be interesting to see how much he improved and changed his way to work. Jann is for sure a very talented driver as well and I’m looking forward to learn from both of them as it is very important to have good, fast team-mates.”
The Swiss driver admits that he has grown as a driver in the past few years, not only with his GP3 experience, but also with the experience he gained racing for Race Performance in ELMS and at the Le Mans 24 hours.
“You always learn more while you are driving and the more races you make. But I think I’ve learned the most during the last year. Also from the 24H of Le Mans I’ve learned many things for the future and as a driver, which for sure affects also to single seater.
“I will concentrate myself on GP3 this year. I really love sports car racing too but first I have to show in single seater what I really can do. The future is open but 2014 is here so I will give everything I have to make the best out of it.”
The pre-season test at the Estoril circuit in Portugal is underway this week, and the season proper begins May 10th-11th at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.