The following interview was made ahead of the 2012 season.
Mattias Persson: Felix, with just one week to go until the 2012 curtain-raiser, you are heading into your second season in Formula 3 Euro Series. What were the major lessons you learned about the championship last year?
Felix Rosenqvist: I learned a lot about the importance of never giving up, even if you have a few bad races. It's a long championship and by the end of it, everyone will have had their ups and downs. I also learned to take one race at a time and not to take anything for granted. A good example of that is the first visit we made to Hockenheim, when I was fast enough for third to fifth place. Six months later, when we got back to the same circuit for the finale, I was quickest. It's vital to keep developing and try to learn new things from a pure driving point of view - and you have to do that all the time. It's relentless, but that's what it takes to win.
Mattias Persson: Winter testing has obviously been promising for you, topping the official sessions at both Valencia and Barcelona. What is your target for 2012?
Felix Rosenqvist: Testing actually worked out surprisingly well; we pretty much steered clear of any problems, and didn't have a single off-track moment or technical issue whatsoever. I obviously aim to fight for the title considering it's my second year in the championship, and taking into account the ten podium finishes I had in 2011.
Mattias Persson: Dallara has introduced a new car for this year - the F312 - and Formula 3 Euro Series has signed a deal with Hankook Tire as its new tyre supplier. What do these changes mean to you as a driver? Will all the new features require an adapted driving style?
Felix Rosenqvist: A new car is always a challenge for the teams and drivers, even though it's not too different from the old one. You have to gather a lot of new data and also make the occasional gamble due to the highly limited amounts of testing we can do. A new tyre supplier always requires you to adapt your driving to new levels of grip etc., and I think that will be the single biggest challenge for this year. Last season, I managed to understand the tyres very well by the end of the campaign, and I hope to be able to do the same from the word "go" this year - even if the Hankook tyres are very different from the Kumhos we used in 2011.
Mattias Persson: It has been said that the new chassis is technically more in line with a modern Formula 1 car. Is there any potential area where the F312 is particularly different from its predecessor?
Felix Rosenqvist: The car looks rather different, but it feels more or less the same to drive. I have driven the F305, F308 and now the F312, and I'd like to think they are all pretty similar. The most notable changes appear on the front of the chassis; the nose is considerably higher, the front wing is bigger and more efficient, the suspension internals are mounted inside the monocoque and the springs have been replaced by a torsion bar.
Mattias Persson: The Formula 3 Euro Series entry list once again looks extremely competitive. Five of the major international talent development programmes - those from Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and ADAC – have all chosen to place their protégés in the series for 2012, and rivalry in the revived FIA European Formula 3 Championship is set to be at least as tough. Who do you view as your main rivals for this year?
Felix Rosenqvist: I think it will be extremely competitive this year, which testing also seemed to indicate - there wasn't a lot between us. Daniel Juncadella took third overall last year and will embark on his third season in the championship, so he is definitely the biggest threat. Raffaele Marciello and Pascal Wehrlein were very quick in testing and I definitely think they will feature at the front as well. Carlos Sainz Jr. impressed when he made a guest appearance at the Hockenheim finale last year and has already begun racing in the British championship this year, which he leads, so it will be interesting to see how he and the Carlin team do.
Mattias Persson: You mentioned Pascal Wehrlein – the reigning ADAC Formel Masters champion and your team-mate at Mücke Motorsport this year. How have you been getting along thus far?
Felix Rosenqvist: It's been perfectly fine. We have been relatively equally matched during the pre-season. He seems to be very consistent and is always there or thereabouts come wet or dry. I hope that we can learn a lot from each other.
Mattias Persson: The winter has also seen you enter into collaboration with British sports and fitness institute Pro Performance. At what level, physically, do you find yourself today compared to one year ago?
Felix Rosenqvist: I feel so much stronger than last year. I have gained some weight thanks to quite a lot of training in the gym, but it's all "good weight" and won't hamper me. Most importantly, I've learned a lot about nutrition, which is just as important as training itself - particularly over the race weekends!
Mattias Persson: The opening round of the season, as we've said, takes place at Hockenheim – a track that has always been a little bit special for you. That's where you claimed your maiden Formula 3 Euro Series win last year, and you also hold the all-time F3 lap record there. Does your history at Hockenheim mean that you are a little bit extra excited?
Felix Rosenqvist: I have always had a special relationship to Hockenheim, with all those nice memories it has given me! That both the opening and the final round of the season takes place there is somewhat of a bonus since I do find my way around the place, but it's nothing that creates any added pressure at all.
Mattias Persson: How does it feel to double up with both Formula 3 Euro Series and the FIA European Formula 3 Championship this year? Most of the FIA races are run in conjunction with Formula 3 Euro Series events over the DTM weekends, of course, but it still looks set to be an intense season…
Felix Rosenqvist: It will be extra intense, and even more important to remain mentally cool. There are quite a few new circuits for me this year; I've never been to Brands Hatch or Pau before, and I've only driven once at Spa - and that was in Formula Renault. We will also be forced to use other tyres than those we run on in Formula 3 Euro Series at some of the European Championship races, which obviously make things even more complicated. Definitely a challenge - but also a lot of fun!
Mattias Persson: What's more important - Formula 3 Euro Series or the FIA European Formula 3 Championship?
Felix Rosenqvist: My plan is to focus on Formula 3 Euro Series, and if that goes well then the same is likely to be true for the European Championship. After all, 80 % of the European Championship races are run during Formula 3 Euro Series events, so the most logical thing would be to focus on them. The European Championship, however, is still very attractive, with the winner receiving that test in Formula 1.
Mattias Persson: This year's calendar – and I'm thinking about both Formula 3 Euro Series and the FIA European Formula 3 Championship – offers an interesting mixture of super-modern Grand Prix venues and tight, confined street circuits spread out over Europe. Is there any of the tracks you particularly look forward to?
Felix Rosenqvist: Hockenheim is always a favourite, like we've said. Zandvoort is a circuit where I have never missed out on a podium, and I will try to make this year no exception when it comes to that! I'm also looking forward to racing an F3 car in the forests of Spa, which most F1 drivers hail as the best circuit in the world.
Mattias Persson: Best of luck!
Felix Rosenqvist: Thank you!
The following interview was made after the 2011 RTL GP Masters of Formula 3.
Mattias Persson: 2011 RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 winner – sounds OK, doesn't it?
Felix Rosenqvist: It's not too bad! It's a good feeling.
Mattias Persson: You took the lead just seconds after the start when the Prema Powerteam guys collided on the run down to Turn 1, and then you controlled the race from the front. What thoughts were going through your head when you approached the chequered flag and realised that you were going to win?
Felix Rosenqvist: To be honest, I actually didn't know it was the final lap, but when I saw the chequered flag it was a big relief. It's always tough to run on your own at the front, as time just passes by so slowly when you are counting down the laps. Added to that, you are the one who has the most to lose from a mistake, so the pressure is quite intense - but that's also something you always get better at handling.
Mattias Persson: You crashed on the fastest section of the lap during Saturday free practice, and the next time you returned to the cockpit was in the do-or-die setting of qualifying. How was your confidence for the car affected by that crash?
Felix Rosenqvist: You inevitably do become a bit concerned, but I really didn't think about it at all during qualifying. I think it's important that you're able to put things like that behind you and move on, and also that you make sure to learn from it.
Mattias Persson: Many people have described this victory as somewhat of a breakthrough for you. Is that how you feel as well?
Felix Rosenqvist: My performance as a driver was about the same as in any other race this year. It's all about getting the complete package together - engineers, mechanics, driver, and the co-operation between us. My job is to always give 110 % and extract everything from what I've got; sometimes it's good enough for fourth, sometimes for eighth, and this time - when everything came together - it was enough to win.
Mattias Persson: If you could choose the three main factors that contributed the most to last Sunday's success, what would they be?
Felix Rosenqvist: First of all, things were obviously made easier when Roberto (Merhi) and Daniel (Juncadella) clashed off the line, but I still feel I could have challenged them into Turn 1 since I made a very good start. Secondly, our car performed extremely well throughout an entire race, which is definitely one of the main keys. The third contributing factor was that I was able to do a clean race without any real mistakes, and managed to produce some "perfect" laps when we needed them. That enabled me to open up a gap of five or six seconds, which I could then control.
Mattias Persson: You have always seemed to enjoy racing in the Netherlands; last year saw you claim your first two F3 victories at Assen, and you took to the podium in all three Formula 3 Euro Series races at Zandvoort earlier this season. What's the deal with you and tulips!?
Felix Rosenqvist: It's actually pretty funny. I don't know why, but things have just turned out in such a way that I've been on the podium every time I've raced in the Netherlands. I like the country, the people and the culture, but I don't think that has any effect on my results. It's probably just a mix of coincidences and the fact that I like both the Assen and Zandvoort circuits very much.
Mattias Persson: You have already said that this achievement - as important as it may be - will not get in the way of your preparations for the rest of the campaign. Next up is the Formula 3 Euro Series meeting at Silverstone in about three weeks - what are your thoughts going into that weekend?
Felix Rosenqvist: No, I think it's vital to stay focused on the Formula 3 Euro Series season - that's the most important thing in my career at the moment. We have three rounds to go and things look very positive. Silverstone is a circuit which I haven't driven at a lot - I just did a short low downforce test there ahead of Macau last year - so I can't say too much about it. Having said that, though, I know that most drivers enjoy going there, and the section around Copse through to Maggotts and Becketts is brilliant. It will be a big challenge, but also lots of fun!
Mattias Persson: Finally, is there anything you would like to say to all those who followed you last weekend?
Felix Rosenqvist: I just really want to thank them all, and I hope they feel part of this success. The support I've had throughout the season, and especially following my victory, has been absolutely fantastic. I received so many messages and congratulations after Zandvoort that I simply couldn't answer them all. Unbelievable! It really means a lot to see how much people want you to succeed, and I am enormously thankful for all the support I get from my fans!
The following interview was made after one round of the 2011 season.
Mattias Persson: Felix, you took to the podium straight out of the box in your debut in one of the most competitive single-seater championships on the junior stage - did you envisage that happening when you flew out to France?Mattias Persson: Was there any particular part of the weekend where you feel you might have to work harder ahead of the up-coming races?
Felix Rosenqvist: I have never had any doubts about my own talent, and I always work as hard as I can to try and improve my driving following every session I do. If that - combined with the work I do together with my team - is enough or not, that really remains to be seen at each race. My standpoint is that if I and the team are at our best, then we are the fastest - which is why the result didn't really surprise me. "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."
Felix Rosenqvist: If there was anything which was "worse" than something else, then I have to say qualifying. I feel that is an area where I can improve, so we will probably be stronger there in the next few races.
Mattias Persson: You have proven to be a quick learner when it comes to understanding new circuits, for example in Formula Palmer Audi at Snetterton in 2009 and in the German F3 championship last year. Paul Ricard was yet another completely new experience for you, and the racing turned out to be spectacularly close and very interesting. How much was your weekend affected by the fact that you had never driven at the circuit before?
Felix Rosenqvist: It was quite tough to go into qualifying on the back of just 30 minutes of effective on-track running. To complicate things further, Paul Ricard is one of the most difficult circuits I've ever driven at when it comes to reading grip levels and lines etc. There really are countless of different approaches to take to try and optimise your lap time, and I guess that is part of the thinking behind the circuit.
Mattias Persson: What do you make of the next round at Hockenheim, a circuit you do indeed know from last year?
Felix Rosenqvist: The circuit itself is relatively simple, so I don't think the advantage of having driven there before will be at all as big as at for example Macau, Silverstone and Paul Ricard.Mattias Persson: Christian Klien, Markus Winkelhock, Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Buemi all have one thing in common; all of them have driven for Mücke Motorsport in Formula 3 Euro Series. How would you describe your relationship with the team, now that the first round of the championship has been completed?
Felix Rosenqvist: It always takes some time to acclimatise to a new team - it isn't something you do after just a day of testing - but I really feel that we grow stronger and stronger all the time; and that is especially true for my team-mate Nigel (Melker).
Mattias Persson: One of the new features in Formula 3 Euro Series ahead of this season is the introduction of 40-minute races. In the German championship last year, you got used to running for half that length, and it is a well-known fact that F3 cars produce high levels of g-force due to their advanced aerodynamic performance. Did the longer race distance throw any physical issues at you?
Felix Rosenqvist: I've been working a lot on that throughout the winter in order to be well prepared. In combination with all the long stints in pre-season testing, that meant I felt very strong at Paul Ricard. Over the next few months, though, there will be some longer intervals in between driving and it will be important to continue to work out to preserve physical stamina. The biggest adaption for me was sitting in the car for a longer amount of time and remembering to tell myself to keep drinking a lot.
Mattias Persson: Were there any of your rivals who surprised you at Paul Ricard? Who do you see as your toughest opposition right now?
Felix Rosenqvist: Not really. Daniel Juncadella showed some ”Jenson Button tendencies” as he might not have been the utmost fastest driver but had a good package, taking care of the tyres, driving neatly and being consistent. That gave him the tools to be on the podium in each of the races and meant he left France with the championship lead.
Mattias Persson: Finally; what happens between now and the Hockenheim weekend?
Felix Rosenqvist: Since I've been away from home for about one month, I will try to spend a bit more time with my girlfriend Hanna and my mates. Other than that, I will go back to work and continue with my fitness programme.
The following interview was made ahead of the 2011 season.
Mattias Persson: Formula 3 Euro Series – yet another leap forward in your career. What are your thoughts going into the new season?
Felix Rosenqvist: I view this season as a very big challenge – which is important for me in order to keep developing. I know it will be extremely tough both physically, mentally and from a sporting point of view, but I only see the positives of it – and I picture myself to be a better driver at the end of the season than I am now. Since I’m still climbing the career ladder in this sport, continuous improvement is the absolute priority for me right now.
Mattias Persson: Your new team, Mücke Motorsport, is active in a range of different championships outside of Formula 3 – including DTM and GP3. What was it about them that attracted you?
Felix Rosenqvist: We got in touch with the team already in 2009. That inevitably meant that Peter Mücke followed my results in 2010, and – after my ”breakthrough” in Macau – he contacted us. We had a dialogue over the next few weeks, and here we are. It is a very professional and well-structured team, and needless to say, we obviously know about their history both in DTM and F3. They have been in the business for a very long time and have shaped many famous drivers – and above all, they have always delivered.
Mattias Persson: There is no doubt about the fact that competition is getting seriously fierce at this level of international motorsport. You had a first taste of what it’s like when you entered the F3 finale in Macau last November, but what do you think you can achieve as a Formula 3 Euro Series rookie?
Felix Rosenqvist: That’s correct. I am fully aware that once you reach this sort of level, the difference in skill between the drivers becomes increasingly smaller – which means you have to work much harder to get results. We will invest large chunks of time in analysing my driving with my engineer (who has a degree in aerodynamics and has been with the team for 16 years) following every session, and I will work flat-out on my fitness throughout the winter. Everything that can be done will be done to find that vital extra edge. I will do everything I can to put myself in the best possible position to race at the peak of my performance, but I would rather not set myself any firm targets until I’ve actually driven the car.
Mattias Persson: The 2011 season kicks off at Paul Ricard in France, a circuit you have never visited before. During the rest of the campaign, there are another five circuits you have never raced at, and only two – Hockenheim and the Nürburgring – that you are familiar with since last year. Does that worry you?
Felix Rosenqvist: Absolutely not. Learning new circuits has always been my strength. Rest assured, though, that I’ll still stick to my normal routine of preparing myself to the absolute maximum ahead of racing at a new venue.
Mattias Persson: What is the single most important thing you take with you from your first season in Formula 3 last year?
Felix Rosenqvist: The knowledge that you have to make good starts to achieve good results. I learned that the hard way last year, so that is an area I will put a lot of effort into. I will also aim to improve my consistency and try to score whatever number of points I can get, instead of using the “youthful” all-in, make-or-break attitude I had last year.
Mattias Persson: Good luck!
Felix Rosenqvist: Thanks! Let's get the racing started...
The following interview was made after three rounds of the 2010 season.
Mattias Persson: Felix, two race finishes and a current ninth place in the championship doesn’t sound too impressive, but fact is that you’ve been very quick more or less since day one. How do you reflect on your first few months of Formula 3?
Felix Rosenqvist: You get enormously disappointed when you don’t succeed results-wise, even if you know you belong in the very top. It just hasn’t worked out, despite me having had front-running pace and despite the fact that I’ve qualified in the top three for the last four races. It’s easy to come up with excuses and say that you’ve been quickest in practice or qualifying etc., but at the end of the day it all comes down to actual race results – which I have failed to bring about. I have done many own mistakes, but most of the time I’ve basically been held back by pure, simple bad luck. I’m getting more and more convinced that Formula 3 is a two-year project; there are too many impressions and things to learn to be able to deliver flawlessly immediately (at least with the limited number of test days I’ve had ahead of the season).
Mattias Persson: You came extremely close to giving Performance Racing their first-ever international F3 win when you had to retire from the lead at Hockenheim last time out – how has your cooperation with the team been going in the early parts of the season?
Felix Rosenqvist: Teamwork isn’t something that gels perfectly from the outset, it grows and constantly becomes better and better. I always spend the first few days at a new team just walking around and asking people their names, and inevitably, you don’t feel at home right away – it’s always the same. Now, though, we have great fun together and our working methods keep improving all the time. I probably couldn’t be more happy about how the relationship with Performance Racing has been working this far. I get along really well with my race engineer Stuart, which has helped us with the development of the car etc. My mechanics have also done a blinding job – it’s just a shame I haven’t been able to give them the results they deserve, because I know how hard they’re working.
Mattias Persson: How have you been affected by all that bad luck – if now there is any such thing as that – this year? Last season, you finished every race you drove, but Germany seems to be a bit harsh to you…
Felix Rosenqvist: Every setback toughens your psyche enormously. Previously in my racing career, I’ve hardly had any problems at all – everything has just been flowing. Therefore, when we came to the first race at Oschersleben and found out that the engine didn’t work due to an ECU-related issue – and missed almost all of practice – it was a bit tough mentally. It was the same in Hockenheim when, as you mentioned, I was on my way towards victory but ended up in a concrete wall. Luckily, I tend to forget bad moments fairly easily – you sulk for an hour afterwards, and that’s it.
Mattias Persson: Is there anything that has surprised you when it comes to the step from Formula Renault to F3, or is everything panning out exactly as you had imagined?
Felix Rosenqvist: The one thing that never fails to surprise me is the extreme grip of the F3 car in high-speed corners. I’ve also had big problems with the starts, which were never an issue for me earlier in my career when I competed in Formula Renault – I don’t think I’ve lost a position at the start more than two or three times before. The starting technique is very particular in Formula 3, but I got off the line very efficiently at the last round in Hockenheim and do feel as though I’ve got to grips with it all now – literally! Another very finely balanced point is to extract the maximum potential out of new tyres in qualifying. You get more and more comfortable running on new tyres every time you do it, but it takes time to master and the Yokohama rubber we run on is also rather different compared to what I became used to in Formula Renault.
Mattias Persson: Several promising talents have been placed in the championship, with a number of them enjoying support all the way from Formula 1. Meanwhile, a few other F3 series have become considerably less competitive ahead of this season – at least on paper. What about the level of the ATS Formula 3 Cup?
Felix Rosenqvist: Yes, that’s true. There are many drivers with good backing, which is fun because it lifts the status of the championship. It is nothing short of fantastic that the grid has increased over last year considering the financial crisis. Many championships have only got 12-13 cars, for example the F3 Euro Series, but the competitiveness is still high and we can only hope for the best for that particular championship as well. It’s always very difficult to quantify how high the level is, but many of the drivers who did well last year are quite a long way off the pace this season which seems to suggest that the bar has been raised quite considerably, and I think that the ATS Formula 3 Cup is one of the toughest F3 championships in Europe. For example, Kevin Magnussen (a regular ATS Formula 3 Cup driver with Motopark Academy) won an F3 Euro Series race on his debut there.
Mattias Persson: Three rounds have been run, but there are still six left before the season is over. It sounds like a cliché, but anything really can happen. What hopes and targets have you set yourself for the rest of the year?
Felix Rosenqvist: Naturally, I’ve got my sight set at achieving consistent, decent results in all up-coming races, and perhaps take some extra caution if I find myself in an intricate situation. Then again, after the events of Hockenheim, I guess it’s no secret that I really aim for a victory before the season ends.
Mattias Persson: What does the next few weeks hold for you and Performance Racing?
Felix Rosenqvist: We have a test scheduled for Lausitzring next week. Other than that, it’s pretty calm during the small summer break we currently have to live with, but things will get going again for real next month with many races in a short period of time. I’m working at the moment and am trying to exercise on a regular basis, while also taking the opportunity to enjoy the Swedish summer which has arrived at last!
Mattias Persson: Finally; if you could choose one thing from the first races that you’ve learnt the most from, what would it be?
Felix Rosenqvist: That nobody is going to deliberately give you a clean lap in qualifying…
The following interview was made ahead of the 2010 season.
Mattias Persson: Felix, you had quite a few alternatives and options in different formulae ahead of this season. Why F3 and Performance Racing?
Felix Rosenqvist: We were very close to signing a deal with Formula 2, which we still believe to be a great championship and which we will follow closely for a possible commitment there in the future. The reason why we eventually went for F3 is because it allows the driver to develop much more as a result of all the delicate set-up options the car offers, and the teams have got less restrictions - which means the driver must be able to provide accurate feedback all the time. I think one of the most central parts of racing is being able to work as a team, and that's exactly what Formula 3 is all about. Time and again, it has been proven that successful F3 drivers can step into a Formula 1 car and do well. For me, it's the perfect choice right now. By committing to German F3, we went for a championship that looks set to become probably the most competitive F3 series in the world. Furthermore, we were very impressed with Performance Racing when I tested with them in Valencia in December. It's going to be fantastic working with them, and you can feel they really WANT to win!
Mattias Persson: What do you know about the German championship?
Felix Rosenqvist: As I said, it will be an extremely competitive season, not least with one of Europe's most successful teams, Motopark Academy, running five cars. I know the series has been a springboard for a lot of famous drivers, including Michael Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld and Jörg Müller.
Mattias Persson: You have only tested Formula 3 for a few days in Valencia. Did you get any understanding about what driving technique is required to be fast - and, if so, will you have to change anything?
Felix Rosenqvist: It's pretty different from Formula Renault. To be quick in F3, it's essential to be good on the brakes. There is also a lot more engine torque, especially in the Volkswagen engine we use, which provides for quite a change of approach. It's fun to learn something new, and I'm confident I will be able to crack the code to fast driving.
Mattias Persson: What is the biggest difference between Formula 3 and Formula Renault?
Felix Rosenqvist: The biggest difference is the much-more sophisticated aerodynamics on the car, which delivers huge amounts of downforce in proportion to engine output - you have to be very smooth in order not to scrub speed. The higher torque makes it possible to use comparatively high gears. In Formula Renault, there were very strict rules regarding what you could change on the car. F3, however, is more technically liberated - so it's not a disadvantage that the team has ten years of experience and numerous important contacts in the business.
Mattias Persson: Another Swede - Jimmy Eriksson - will also do German Formula 3, and we know others are working towards a drive in the championship. At the same time, a number of new drivers from different countries will join in 2010. What about the big interest?
Felix Rosenqvist: I think many drivers choose to do German F3 because it requires a significantly smaller budget than other Formula 3 championships. Take the F3 Euro Series for example; there will not be a big field this year, and still the costs are about three times as high. As soon as some drivers put their faith in a certain concept, others become interested because everyone wants to drive in a series which sports a large grid. This year, it seems like the German championship has become "the thing" in Formula 3.
Mattias Persson: Your Performance Racing team mate will be French-Israeli Alon Day, who - like yourself - steps up to F3 after a successful 2009. Your careers are actually quite resembling; you both debuted with and drove for the same team in China, and you are the two most recent Asian Formula Renault champions (in 2008 and 2009 respectively). Do you know Alon since before?
Felix Rosenqvist: When I tested Formula 3 in Valencia, I did one day with Spanish team Campos Meta (one of the new F1 teams for 2010), and as a coincidence Alon tested with the same team on the same day as I. He seems to be a great guy, and he is very quick despite his short career in single-seater racing. I think we will get along well and I hope we can learn a lot from each other.
Mattias Persson: Your former team boss from that time in Asia, Davide de Gobbi, is a respected name in Formula 3. Has he given you any advice?
Felix Rosenqvist: Davide is a friend of Bobby and Annika at Performance Racing since a few years, and he recommended them to me. He has a lot of experience in Formula 3, and won the F3 Euro Series with Ryan Briscoe as head of Prema Powerteam's F3 squad. It's great to get advice from him. We stay in regular contact.
Mattias Persson: Many people follow you and will cross their fingers this season. Have you set yourself any targets, or is it all just about watching and learning?
Felix Rosenqvist: It's really difficult to predict anything and to come up with firm targets. I haven't raced against most of the others, but it's a big grid with many experienced F3 drivers. I normally don't aim too high, but take every race as it comes and try to develop my driving and my relationship with the team all the time. Then, we'll see where we are. A podium should definitely be realistic, and after that, all you can do is go for the top.
Mattias Persson: Last season was Volkswagen's break-through year as a Formula 3 engine supplier, with a one-two victory at the famous Macau Grand Prix. How important is it that Performance Racing uses their engines?
Felix Rosenqvist: Performance Racing has a very good relationship with Volkswagen, which means loads. Then of course, many other teams will use VW power, which is probably the best option on the market at the moment.
Mattias Persson: A few weeks ago, you won the Rydell Special Award for the second consecutive year. Part of the prize this year, fittingly, is a Formula 3 test at Silverstone - with Performance Racing! A lucky twist of fate, but it must have felt like the perfect present?
Felix Rosenqvist: Absolutely! It couldn't have been better, and neither the team nor I knew that I was going to get it - so it really was a very happy coincidence! It's also an enormous honour that Rickard (Rydell, Rydell Special Award founder) believes in me enough to give me the award two years in a row when there are lots of talented young drivers to choose from. I'm really looking forward to the test, where Rickard will be present. There has been talk of an article about it.
Mattias Persson: This isn't only a step that demands an adjusted driving style and more advanced technical skills - Formula 3 is also physically tougher than Formula Renault. How hard do you work out?
Felix Rosenqvist: That's right, it's much higher strains because g-force levels are much more extreme. At the moment, I'm working hard on cardiovascular training as I feel that's an area I need to improve. Good physical fitness will help me keep my concentration, which will be vital now as there are so many things to think about during the races; communicating with the team via radio, for example, which wasn't allowed in Formula Renault.
The following interview was made ahead of the 2009 season.
Mattias Persson: Felix, a new season is here and you will do the double by competing in both the Swedish and the North European Zone championships. What do you expect from 2009?
Felix Rosenqvist: More than anything, I expect an interesting year of racing. Of course, I would like to fight for the titles in both series, and I don't think that's an unrealistic target. I'm actually really excited and look forward to the first race!
Mattias Persson: This will be your first time in real car racing on home turf following the adventures in Asia during the last two years. What will that mean to you?
Felix Rosenqvist: I think it is going to be extremely nice to drive in Sweden as I haven't raced here since my days in national karting back in 2004. It will be fun to get to know more people involved with Swedish motorsport. Already before the season has started, I have got to know quite a few nice people that I'm likely to keep in touch with for a long time in my life.
Mattias Persson: During pre-season testing, you and your team-mate Daniel Roos have been impressive, according to Team BS Motorsport owner Lennart Bohlin. Any problems at all so far?
Felix Rosenqvist: There are always problems. There are always things to improve, so the key is not to relax and fool yourself into thinking that this or that will work automatically. We have had some minor trouble with the electronic control units on our cars, and both Daniel and myself have had probably a couple of offs too many. However, it does feel better to look for the limits in testing rather than parking in the gravel trap when it really counts, in the races.
Mattias Persson: You've tested at Gelleråsen and Anderstorp - two very different circuits from those in Shanghai and Sepang, which you've got used to. What is your opinion on the Swedish tracks?
Felix Rosenqvist: Very often, a circuit is entertaining in its own way. Gelleråsen is short with a lot of corners, while Anderstorp is a lot longer and features many sweeping, high-speed turns. I like both of them, but the biggest difference compared to the circuits in Asia is the kerbs. They are much more narrow and higher in Sweden, and the run-off areas are extremely small. Most circuits in Asia had tarmac run-offs, which made it possible to push the car to the limit without having to crash or see the chassis return to the pits in pieces. You have to respect this a lot when driving in Sweden, and it does make you think twice before going flat out.
Mattias Persson: If we keep our focus on the Swedish Formula Renault series, which is new this year, there are some interesting names on the starting list, aren't there?
Felix Rosenqvist: Absolutely, there are a number of drivers to watch out for. Christian Kronegård, who won the Swedish Radical championship last year, will definitely be a challenger. Another one to mention is Tom Blomqvist (the son of 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist), who makes his debut in car racing this year.
Mattias Persson: Many critics believe Swedish single-seater racing to be practically dead, not least in the wake of the financial crisis. What do you have to say about such a standpoint - will the championship organizers succeed?
Felix Rosenqvist: Series promoter Joakim Wiedesheim has done an absolutely fantastic job, and it feels as though he's got everything in place for a good, serious championship. I have been told there will be around 20 cars already in the first race, which is extremely positive for a new venture. There are lots of international championships with less than that amount this year, sadly. As it is right now, I'm very confident Formula Renault will be a success here.
Mattias Persson: Last but not least, which start number should one look for to cheer Felix Rosenqvist on at the races this year?
Felix Rosenqvist: 11? I can't remember!
The following interview was made ahead of the 2008 season.
Q: What is the best thing about driving a racing car?
A: The speed, without a doubt.
Q: If you could wish for one thing for yourself, what would it be?
A: I would have liked a big bag filled with money!
Q: Favourite subject in school, if it's possible to have one?
A: The utmost best about school is PE, so I'd go for that.
Q: Do you have any other interests, beside racing?
A: Yes; skiing, hanging around with friends and playing computer games.
Q: How often do you work out?
A: About three to four times a week.
Q: Music has always been instrumental to a lot of people. What do you listen to?
A: I prefer bands such as Tool, Lostprophets, Prodigy, Celldweller, Clawfinger, Drowning Pool, Pendulum, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin and Disturbed.
Q: What is you greatest wish - all categories - in life?
A: To drive in Formula 1. Can you imagine living in Monaco between races?!
Q: What would your dream destination look like, and is there any place in the world you'd love to visit?
A: A trip around the world with some friends would have been plausible. Since I like skiing, I have a personal attraction to places like Mont Blanc, and Grand Canyon is something of a dream to experience.
Q: Is a future without motorsport and fast cars even on your radar screen?
A: Absolutely, and I think that's essential. After all, only a very small number of drivers are lucky enough to become something big in the sport, so a "backup plan" is almost necessary.
Q: Favourite TV show?
A: South Park.
Q: Let's remain in the lovely world of moving pictures for a second. Is there a certain actor or actress you find amusing, and what is the best sequence in movie history?
A: Jim Carrey is cool. My favourite sequence - at least at the moment - is from South Park episode "Make Love Not Warcraft", where a wonderful quote is coined: "How can you kill that which has no life?" Diamond!
Q: Any role model in motorsport?
A: It's probably a close call between Flying Finns Marcus Grönholm, Mika Häkkinen and Kimi Räikkönen - three very good drivers who have inspired thousands.
Q: What is your ultimate goal as far as racing is concerned?
A: To be able to live doing what I love the most, and to get a Grand Prix seat.
Q: What car, private or on the circuit, would you most like to drive of all that have ever been produced?
A: The McLaren F1 (the super sports car unveiled in 1992), on a circuit.
Q: The best corner in the world?
A: If you'd asked me a few years ago, I would have said Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps. However, modern engineering has made the cars too good for that corner to be a real challenge nowadays, so I'd actually go for Turn 8 at Istanbul Park - an astonishing creation which I would love to attack myself.
Q: What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?
A: Too embarrassing to talk about here!
Q: Your best racing memory...?
A: When I won a karting race in Denmark during my first-ever try in the ICA category. It took me a few hours to realise that I'd actually won. Fantastic!
Q: ...and worst racing memory?
A: I do remember an appalling competition in Växjö, Sweden, which I participated in when I was around 10-12 years old. I had no rain overalls, but the weather was terrible and it actually began to hail and snow about halfway through the race. I have probably never been so cold in my entire life.
Q: If you were to summarise your opinion about Formula 1 with three words, which would you use?
A: Rocket science, professionalism, unfair.
Q: The most important quality for a racing driver?
A: The ability to concentrate. Deeply.
Q: You're only 16, but spend a lot of time on the other side of the world. How has that affected your school performance?
A: It's been OK. During periods of excessive travelling, it truly is enormously difficult to keep up with everything at home. Although grades aren't sky-high, I think it's a rather easy situation to handle.
Q: One thing you absolutely couldn't survive without?
A: Apple juice.
Q: Finally: over- or understeer?