Length: 4.307 km
F3 lap record: 1m32.980s (Felix Rosenqvist, 2012)
Circuit map: click here
Geographic position: click here
For the third year in succession, Felix Rosenqvist forms part of an ever-competitive RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 field as the 2013 edition of the prestigious event takes place on the Dutch shores of Zandvoort this weekend.
Alongside the end-of-season Macau Grand Prix, the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 is widely regarded as one of the most important races on the international F3 calendar. The list over previous winners includes the likes of David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg - offering just a hint of the quality associated with the standalone classic since its inception in 1991.
Felix Rosenqvist heads into this weekend's event as the sole driver on the grid to have already claimed the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 title, on the back of his emphatic triumph on his debut appearance in 2011. Riding the tides of his historic triple win at the latest FIA Formula 3 European Championship round in Austria, the Mücke Motorsport Swede has his eyes firmly set on adding further silverware to his cabinet, as he bids to equal the achievement of F1 star Valtteri Bottas - the only two-time Masters of Formula 3 winner to date...
Circuit Park Zandvoort is located on the Dutch North Sea coastline, at the heart of one of the country’s most popular summer retreats. The proximity of the sea and the massive sand dunes surrounding the area make grip levels low at the beginning of the weekend, but the situation usually improves as more and more rubber is laid down onto the track.
Zandvoort is rated as one of few remaining old-fashioned, true driving challenges, with fast and flowing corners that sweep into each other with seamless finesse. Turn 1 – the classic Tarzan Bocht – marks the best spot for overtaking, and the 4.307 km lap in general is a firm favourite with teams and drivers alike.
The most spectacular section of the circuit can be found in the sequence of corners at the far end of the lap, starting with the ultra-fast Scheivlak Bocht. On new tyres – and with a fair amount of bravery – Scheivlak can be negotiated flat out at 230 km/h; but the slightest mistake can have devastating effects. As if that in itself isn’t enough, the section that follows right afterwards is one of the most technical on the entire calendar, featuring two difficult right-handers and culminating in the critical Bocht 8 where a selection of potential lines are on offer.
Forecasts for the weekend speak of sunny and warm weather, and conditions ideal for racing. Threats of a repeat of last year's wash-out of practice and qualifying seem distant, setting the stage for what looks set to be a beautiful few days on the Dutch seaside.
Click here for a detailed weather forecast
"Zandvoort is a fantastic circuit - one of my firm favourites - and the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 is a classic event. It's always a pleasure to be a part of it - and this year, we go there with the added confidence of the results we achieved at the Red Bull Ring last time out. We have reason to be optimistic - but this certainly won't be an easy task. Masters of Formula 3 is run on tyres very different to those we normally use in the European Championship, and that fact had a few negative implications on our car last year. If we are to fight for victory - which is my clear target - then we have to find the right set-up and make sure we are competitive in qualifying. It's massively difficult to overtake around Zandvoort, so a good grid slot is vital for success - as was the case when I won in 2011. I'm ready, and I will give it my all this weekend."
All times local (GMT+02:00)
Friday 5 July
Free Practice 1: 12.05 (40 minutes)
Free Practice 2: 17.15 (40 minutes)
Saturday 6 July
Qualifying 1: 11.20 (20 minutes)
Qualifying 2: 15.15 (20 minutes)
Sunday 7 July
Race - RTL GP Masters of Formula 3: 13.30 (25 laps)
How it works
RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 is an entirely independent event, pitching the top F3 drivers from throughout the world against each other, and does not form part of any championship. No other F3 race on the globe - except for the end-of-season Macau Grand Prix each November - enjoys the same status, and the list of previous winners includes a range of subsequent Formula 1 stars.
As a result of the independence of the race, the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 features a different event structure to that in use in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Only a single, all-important race will be run, with the winner taking honours in the most important F3 event in Europe.
The weekend kicks off with two sessions of free practice on Friday, which are then followed by two 20-minute qualifying outings a day later. The grid for Sunday's race is formed on the basis of each driver's best qualifying lap time - regardless of in which of the two sessions the effort was set. In the normal scenario, the fastest laps should be posted in the second session, when grip levels are at their peak and the drivers have completed the most mileage. However, should any driver - for whatever reason - fail to improve on his (or her) best time from Qualifying 1 in the second session, his initial effort will be used to determine his position on the grid.
The RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 is contested on Kumho tyres to provide a level playing field for all participants regardless of what national championship they normally race in, meaning that the regular FIA Formula 3 European Championship Hankook rubber will not be used this weekend.
The full 2013 calendar can be viewed here.
Preliminary entry list
RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 - 2013 entry list
HOW TO FOLLOW FELIX THIS WEEKEND
As always, www.felixracing.se will be fully updated throughout the weekend, with reports from each of the sessions that take place. The website is the central hub of information for everything that goes on both on and off the track, and will also feature other relevant news, pictures and videos.
TV / live stream
Sunday's race will be streamed LIVE on the following link: RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 - live stream.
The interaction with fans and followers will principally involve Felix Racing's official Facebook Fan Page (link below), where supporters can discuss all the goings-on and post potential questions to Felix. Tweets will also be forthcoming through Felix's own Twitter account (@FRosenqvist).