For someone who only made their debut in open-wheel in 2010, Patric Niederhauser has come a long way in a short time. The young Swiss driver has shown an immense talent behind the wheel of a car, and has just come to the end of his first Le Mans 24 Hour race. His ambition is to reach the dizzy heights of Formula 1, and he’s going about his business in the right way. He’s on the up, that’s for sure, whether or not F1 is on the horizon for him, he’ll still have a long career in motorsport.
Throughout his career, the Jenzer Motorsport team has been Niederhauser’s main home, starting in Formula Abarth in 2010 right through to the current GP3 Series season. It has helped that both driver and team are Swiss! But there’s more to the partnership than just nationality, there is lots and lots of talent.
His first year in Formula Abarth, in a very large field, the Swiss driver finished a very respectable second in the championship, including a win at the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti in Varano, Italy. Five other podiums made his first single-seater season a strong one. He also raced a couple of times in the 2010 Formula Renault 2.0 Middle European Championship, finishing on the podium both times but wasn’t illegible for points.
2011 saw him run two Formula Abarth championships side-by-side, racing in both the Italian and the European series’. Niederhauser won his first championship in the Italian Series, winning 6 races and beating the highly rated teenager Sergey Sirotkin by 13 points in the standings. Sirotkin got his revenge in the European series, winning the championship himself, but Niederhauser was runner up and won five times.
Building on his impressive 2011, the young Swiss driver switched to the GP3 series for 2012, again with Jenzer Motorsport. He had another good season and won twice, once in Valencia and then again at Silverstone. Two further podiums saw him finish a very respectable 7th in the standings, and outscored comfortably his teammates, scoring 101 of the 133.5 points Jenzer scored. Amazingly he drove for a different team in the Italian Formula Three series, driving for BVM and winning a race there too!
So onto 2013. He remains an integral part of the Jenzer Motorsport team in GP3, and scored a podium finish in the opening race of the season in Spain. He followed it up by finishing on the podium again in race 2. A disappointing second weekend through no fault of his own followed in Valencia. However… Niederhauser was to make his Le Mans prototype debut in LMP2 for the Race Performance outfit, alongside fellow Swiss rider Michel Frey, and Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen. The trio finished 19th on the road, and 10th in class.
So what’s on the agenda next for Patric Niederhauser? His website says “On his way to Formula 1” and its hard to argue against that statement. The 21-year-old Swiss driver has had a very impressive start to his career, and should be ready next season for a jump into the GP2 series. Yes he’ll have to sever ties with Jenzer Motorsport at last, but his talent should see him get a decent seat in the more powerful cars. He should handle them just fine after handling the powerful Oreca at Le Mans. His stock is rising, F1 teams should be taking note of this young man’s obvious talent. I for one would be disappointed if he didn’t make it all the way to the top, but if F1 isn’t his final destination, the world of GT cars & prototypes will more than likely accept him with open arms.
The future is certainly bright for Patric Niederhauser.