Length: 5.793 km
Opened: 1922 (3 September)
FIA F3 European Championship lap record: first race
Circuit map: click here
Geographic position: click here
A long winter has finally turned into spring - with the vernal air filled with anticipation as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship gets underway at Italy's famous Grand Prix circuit of Monza this weekend. Effectively replacing the Formula 3 Euro Series as the world's premier and most competitive F3 arena, the restructured European Championship has managed to gather 30 of the most promising talents on the international single-seater stage under one roof; and one of them, as the F3 fraternity prepares to get back to action just north of Milan, is Felix Rosenqvist.
The 2013 campaign will feature 10 rounds across some of the most renowned circuits in Europe, with motorsport governing body the FIA having successfully managed to pave the way for a new, uniform F3 series that puts all the leading teams and drivers against each other for the full duration of what looks set to be a spectacular year. Felix Rosenqvist heads into the campaign on the back of a very strong 2012 showing, which saw him claim third place overall in the European Championship standings - by then in its previous guise - and finish second at the prestigious end-of-year Macau Grand Prix.
Monza, however, apart from Tuesday's pre-season test at the venue, is a step into the unknown for both Felix and Mücke Motorsport, with the Berlin squad not having raced at the Italian circuit in over ten years. Following a winter of uncertain testing, the curtain-raiser will serve to straighten out at least some of the question marks that have gathered over the off-season - and will surely add a couple of new ones into the mix.
Autodromo Nazionale Monza is one of the true classic circuits of the world, and it's easy to understand why it is sometimes referred to as the "Temple of Speed". The track layout is dominated by never-ending straights that allow for very high speeds to be attained, with Formula 3 cars peaking at more than 250 km/h as they charge through the fabled Monza parkland. The average speed around the full length of the 5.793 km venue is close to 200 km/h, despite the lap being broken up by several tight and tricky chicanes.
The high-speed nature of Monza brings about unique demands for drivers and cars alike - with engine power of greater importance here than anywhere else. The uncompromising need for straightline efficiency necessitates a set-up featuring minimum amounts of downforce, with the trade-off being very low cornering grip and sub-optimal braking performance - particularly on cold tyres on the opening lap of the races.
One of the keys to success at Monza is the effect of slipstreaming, which - according to the teams' own calculations - can be worth as much as one second per lap if executed to perfection. With competition expected to be fierce in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, slipstreaming is likely to be of vital importance in Friday's qualifying sessions.
The weather has been the main talking point in the build-up to the curtain-raiser, after pre-season testing at the beginning of the week was heavily compromised by snow. The forecast for the weekend, however, speaks of a more stable start to proceedings on Friday - but conditions might well change for the worse again at a later stage, with rain looking set to affect the races on Saturday and Sunday.
Click here for a detailed weather forecast
"It will be absolutely great to get back to racing this weekend - that's what I enjoy the most, and that's what we're all here for. I am really looking forward to race at Monza for the first time in my career; it's a classic circuit, and I enjoyed it a lot during testing on Tuesday. I head into this season aiming to fight for the title, but we still have to be realistic and face the fact that we lack quite a lot of data in comparison to our main rivals around here. Competition will be extremely tough this year, and we still need to see where we are. It will be vital for us to hit the ground running in free practice and to maximise the effect of slipstreaming in qualifying - that is going to be the decisive factor. I am more ready than ever, and I will do my utmost to give myself and the team a strong start to the year!"
All times local (GMT+01:00)
Friday 22 March
Free Practice 1: 09.00 (40 minutes)
Free Practice 2: 09.45 (40 minutes)
Qualifying 1: 15.15 (20 minutes)
Qualifying 2: 15.40 (20 minutes)
Saturday 23 March
Race 1: 10.05 (35 minutes)
Sunday 24 March
Race 2: 10.20 (35 minutes)
Race 3: 16.05 (35 minutes)
How it works
Each round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is made up of three races, all of which are of equal length (35 minutes) and importance for the outcome in the title chase. The points structure mirrors that in use in Formula 1, with the winner of each race being awarded 25 points.
The grid for all three races is formed in Friday's two qualifying sessions, which are separated by just a five-minute break. The reverse-grid regulations in use during the championship's previous Formula 3 Euro Series incarnation have been dropped for 2013, with qualifying now left as the only tool for shaping up starting positions.
The Race 1 grid is established by the outright results of Qualifying 1, while the subsequent second qualifying session forms the grid for Race 3. For Race 2, the grid will be based on each driver's second-fastest lap in Qualifying 1.
The full 2013 calendar and points system can be viewed here.
Preliminary entry list
FIA Formula 3 European Championship - 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 information hub for everything that goes on both on and off the track, and will also feature other relevant news, pictures and videos.
All three races at the event will be streamed LIVE at www.fiaf3europe.com. A link to the stream will appear at the start page of www.felixracing.se.
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).