Daniel de Jong has announced that he will compete in the 2016 GP2 season with MP Motorsport, revealing that it is set to be his last year in the championship.
The Dutch driver enters his fourth full-time campaign in GP2, having made his debut in the series midway through 2012 with Rapax.
He has been part of MP's roster for the next three seasons after that, albeit the Dutchman also raced for Trident last year in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, having recovered from injuries suffered in a heavy shunt at Spa.
"GP2 is a very tough championship," de Jong told Motorsport.com. "You drive a nice car with a lot of power and there are lot of great drivers on the grid, so the competition is enormous.
"What more do you want as a driver? But I have told myself that this will be my last year in GP2. After this, I want to do something else," he added, noting that IndyCar and LMP2 were both considered before he committed to another season in GP2.
"I want to achieve the best possible results. I have the feeling we can do a good job this year.
"MP has matured considerably in the last few years, and we are always strong in the races.
"We only need to make sure that we have a better car for qualifying. But that’s something we worked at the end of last year, during the post-season test."
The Dutch racer's best finish in GP2 is a seventh place in Singapore back in 2013. His announcement completes MP's 2016 line-up, the team having already secured the signature of Renault protege Oliver Rowland.
Elaborating on which areas he needs to work upon in 2016, de Jong said: “Qualifying is something where I still need to improve.
"The problem is that I’m still a bit too gentle with the car while I need to be more aggressive.
"I’m trying to improve that by working on this in the simulator. As soon as we are able to do a good qualifying, the results will follow."
Saved by the helmet
After a heavy accident at Spa last year, de Jong suffered a broken vertebra and missed two rounds before making his return.
"My back is good now”, he confirms. “I have no more trouble with it.
"When I'm tired at the end of the day and I sit in a funny position, I can still feel it a little. But the scans also point out that everything is alright again,” he adds.
The Dutch believes his helmet saved him from further damage. “Quite bizarre, really, if you see the photos that were taken of the car right after the crash in Spa," he said.
"The steering wheel was broken, the helmet was cracked and the headrest was folded.
"You can really see that I hit the wall at 180 kilometers per hour and that my head took the full blow. The helmet has done a good job there."
Interview by Erwin Jaeggi
2016 GP2 line-up so far:
|ART Grand Prix||Sergey Sirotkin|
Daniel de Jong