This weekend sees Formula 3 Euro Series pay its first-ever visit to the most beloved circuit in motorsport-mad Great Britain - Silverstone. Victory in the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 just under four weeks ago has made Felix Rosenqvist one of the favourites for the final part of the season, as the 19-year-old Swede prepares for his return to the country which helped fuel his international career.
Having won the Formula Renault Sweden and North European Zone championships in 2009, Felix was given the opportunity to test his wings abroad through a couple of autumn one-offs. After taking to the podium in his first and, to this day, only Touring Car drive at Dijon-Prenois in France, the attention turned towards a guest appearance in the Formula Palmer Audi finale at Snetterton in Norfolk. Felix left the three-race event with two victories, two fastest laps and an all-time new lap record - meaning memories of Great Britain are bright.
"Motorsport is extremely popular in the UK, and I'm really looking forward to racing there again for the first time since the Snetterton weekend two years ago," Felix says. "Silverstone is a very fast circuit with cornering speeds of well over 200 km/h, and my only previous experience of it is a shakedown test there ahead of the Macau Grand Prix last year - when we set the car up very differently to how it will be this weekend. It will be an all-new challenge, but I can't wait to get behind the wheel on Friday."
The latest Formula 3 Euro Series round at the Nürburgring saw Felix finish on the podium twice in three races, before the Mücke Motorsport driver went on to become the first Swedish winner of the prestigious RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort just a week later. The achievements may have been at the centre of considerable international attention, but Felix knows just how quickly the tide can turn in motor racing.
"It's always nice when things run smoothly and results come your way, but I'm well aware of the reality of the sport and that we need to work just as hard as ever if we want to challenge at the front this weekend," Felix continues. "I am currently in fifth place in the championship, and my target for the rest of the season is to haul myself into the top three. We've had a number of DNFs and other problems that have limited the amount of points we've been able to grab during the first half of the campaign, but the pace is definitely there for us to improve in the standings."
Silverstone will also see Felix temporarily join forces with a new team-mate, with regular Mücke Motorsport colleague Nigel Melker choosing to focus his efforts on the GP3 season finale at Monza. The Dutchman has dovetailed the two championships throughout the season, and is in with a realistic shot at winning the GP3 title at the Italian venue this weekend. Melker's F3 seat at Silverstone will be taken up by Denmark's Marco Sörensen, who raced successfully in the German F3 championship as one of Felix's rivals last year.
The British round of the Formula 3 Euro Series season is run in conjunction with the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup endurance championship. A confined time schedule means that Friday practice has had to be cut down from the normal two hours to just one for this weekend, but the remaining parts of the event will run according to the normal programme with qualifying on Friday afternoon and three races on Saturday and Sunday. All the information from Silverstone - the annual host of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix - will be published at www.felixracing.se throughout the weekend.
Formula 3 Euro Series - Silverstone
TIMETABLE (local time - GMT+01:00)
Calendar and championship points structure
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The allocation of starting grid positions:
Race 1: Second-fastest lap from qualifying.
Race 2: Based on Race 1 results. Top eight drivers reversed for Race 2 grid.
Race 3: Outright fastest lap from qualifying.