Jenzer’s tough but promising Barcelona weekend was a rollercoaster of emotion. I’ve always had a soft spot for Jenzer Motorsport. From my very first glimpse of their 2018 GP3 cars in fetching blue and black, I liked it. Cool name, cool colours, nice vibes.
Jenzer have remained in the now FIA F3 ever since. They’ve fielded some impressive names as well in their time. Juan-Manuel Correa, David Beckmann and Yuki Tsunoda have all passed through in their careers. But who is in the three cars from Switzerland this year?
Despite a pointless 2020 where he raced to 31st in the championship, the Australian from Perth remains with Jenzer this year. His experience paid off as he beat his teammates to qualify 21st on the grid. Williams was able to pick off three drivers on his way to 18th in Sprint Race One. From 18th, he had a stellar Sprint Race Two to fight his way up to 11th at the flag. Indeed Williams was less than 3/10ths behind Correa at the end of the race. I doubt he would have been popular stealing Correa’s point considering the heroic comeback story that point represents!
A slightly quieter race for Williams in Sunday’s Feature Race saw him come home in 21st place. The weekend might not have given him his much desired first points finish but Williams is almost certain to make it happen this season.
Fresh from his sparkling F3 Asia campaign, it must have been a bit of reality bump for Chovet in Barcelona. Indeed his weekend epitomised the nature of Jenzer’s tough but promising Barcelona weekend. Chovet raced the Spa and Monza rounds for Hitech last year so he does have prior FIA F3 experience. The car is obviously very different to the Tatuus F3 car from the FREC and F3 Asia series.
Chovet would line up in 29th place on the back row of the grid. One unpleasant aspect of this new three race format is how much a poor qualifying session can hamper your whole weekend. The French teen would make it up to 24th at the end of race one where he would then start race two. In a super effort, Chovet gained nine places on his 15th on the road. This became 14th following post race penalties for Hauger and Leclerc.
In Sunday’s Feature Race, Chovet would again be on the back row for the start. A poor start left him mired at the back before he settled into his rhythm. He clawed his way back to 24th at the end. It’s difficult to get a handle on Chovet’s performance. Sprint Race Two shows us perhaps most clearly that if he can have a good qualifying session, he should pick up a solid haul of points across the whole weekend. Which will definitely be his goal for his home race next time out at Paul Ricard. We saw in the F3 Asian championship and again this weekend, that Chovet is a brilliant overtaking driver. Hopefully we’ll get to see those moves on camera in France.
Stepping up from F4, Ugran is in his third season in the Jenzer family. So despite this being his rookie F3 campaign, he will be with familiar faces. It was a tough baptism of fire for the young Romanian. Qualifying 30th out of 30 and alongside Chovet, Ugran would finish one place behind his teammate in 25th place. Ugran had a tremendous race long scrap with fellow rookie Ido Cohen from Carlin Buzz in Sprint Race Two. Ugran would finish the race in 22nd place, 21st after the Hauger and Leclerc penalties.
Starting at the back of the grid once again for Sunday’s Feature Race, Ugran made a good start to gain ground to 24th place. But that tremendous effort used much of his tyres’ life so he elected to hold station and bring the car home in that position.
That was the tough but what about the promise?
As we wrote in our Campos piece, these results don’t look much on paper. But scratch the surface and there is much to be enthused about. All three drivers showed excellent racecraft and gained positions from their grid slot. Above all else, the team managed nine finishes from their nine race starts.
It’s a case of onwards and upwards for Jenzer this year. They’ve got at least one future superstar driver in the form of Chovet. Williams is looking racey in the lead car and who knows how good Ugran can be going forwards. Exciting times for Jenzer in 2021.