Mikkel Jensen heads into the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 Championship looking to build on his rookie campaign last season that saw him take two podium finishes and a pole position, although he was unable to achieve his target of a top-five finish in the championship.
The twenty-one-year-old Danish driver, the 2014 ADAC Formel Masters champion, felt that had he sustained a higher level of performance such as was seen at Monza and Spa-Francorchamps, he could have finished higher in the championship than tenth.
Jensen remains with Mücke Motorsport for a second season in European Formula 3, and is looking for a vast improvement in what is a very competitive championship.
“My goal was to go for top-5 and obviously we didn’t achieve that,” said Jensen to The Checkered Flag. “We had good pace in some moments and if we could have stayed on that level it would have been possible.
“I was new in the team and rookie, so at many points we didn’t manage to put it all together.”
Jensen feels happy remaining with Mücke Motorsport for a second season, and despite testing for some other teams during the off-season, it was decided that the Mercedes-backed driver would remain with the German outfit heading into 2016.
“It’s a tough championship, and I experienced last year that first of all qualifying is really important and it’s important to grab the points when the opportunity is there,” said Jensen.
“We were obviously not happy with the results in 2015 and therefore I decided with my sponsors to try something else and went for testing with a few other teams.
“But the relationship with Mücke is great and I’m happy to be with them for another year. Mercedes is still behind me and they have a close relation to Mücke as they are running 2 cars for Mercedes in the DTM.”
Heading into 2016, Mücke have entered only two cars into the championship, downsizing from 2015 where they ran either four or five in each event, and Jensen believes this will have a positive effect on the team.
“I think it’s positive,” said Jensen. “3 cars would have been good to have more comparable data from the track, but with only 2 cars there will be a lot of attention on the drivers. In the end a positive change for the team.
“I think we had a good line-up last year with some nice personalities, and I enjoyed the time with my team mates. It’s normal to have some troubles in a team when you are all fighting for your own championship.”
Although Mücke have announced a two-car assault on the championship, Jensen will be the sole representative in the opening two rounds of the season. Due to age restrictions, German teenager David Beckmann will not be able to compete until the third round at Pau, and the Dane expects the ADAC Formula 4 race winner to be quick during his rookie campaign.
“I didn’t really know him before but he showed good pace in testing,” revealed Jensen. “David is a rookie, but I’m sure after some races he will be quick. But I would say I do expect to be the leading team member this year.”
Jensen is looking to stay out of trouble and is aiming for early podiums in 2016, and arrives into the new season with more confidence on the back of his 2015 campaign, and expects another competitive season in European Formula 3.
“We have been testing different things so it’s difficult to say,” said Jensen of pre-season testing. “But I’m more confident than last year, and just can’t wait to get the season started.
“It’s a tough championship and a really competitive line up again this year. After the first race it would be easier to see where we are and what to expect for 2016.
“But at the moment going for podiums and trying to stay away from trouble is the key to a good start of the season.”