Felix Rosenqvist kicked off the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series season by taking to the podium in his first-ever race in the highly-competitive single-seater championship. After overtaking Roberto Merhi, Daniel Juncadella and Laurens Vanthoor, Rosenqvist claimed second place in the first race of the weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, France, before going on to finish fourth in the shorter Race 2 – a result which confirmed the Mücke Motorsport driver’s pace on his first visit to the former Grand Prix venue outside of Marseille.
"A good start to the season," says Felix Rosenqvist. "I knew that the battle for position would be intense from lap one here at Paul Ricard due to the long straight which makes it very difficult to open up a gap, so I adapted my driving accordingly and tried to take care of the tyres. I’m obviously happy to jump onto the podium already in my first race in the championship, but I still think we could have done even better if it wouldn’t have been for some small problems which are very costly at this level. A big thank you to my team, who made it possible for me to develop as a driver this winter. That paid off this weekend."
In the third and final race of the weekend, Rosenqvist once again fought for a place on the podium until he was forced to retire with a broken drive shaft halfway through the race. Despite the setback, which is made worse by the fact that the 40-minute Race 3 is one of the most valuable races of the weekend, the Swedish 19-year-old still holds fifth place overall in the championship standings. The three races at Paul Ricard were won by three different drivers.
"Unfortunately, we had a drive shaft failure when I was on course for a good result in Race 3, but that is motor racing," Rosenqvist concludes. "We have got the season opener out of the way, and I was the second-highest scoring rookie of the weekend which makes me positive for the rest of the year – especially as we come to circuits that I have driven at before. Formula 3 Euro Series demands constant development, and I’ll be working as hard as I can to prepare for the up-coming events."
The next Formula 3 Euro Series round takes place at Hockenheim, a venue Felix is familiar with from his campaign in the German F3 championship last year, on April 29 – May 1. The Hockenheim event is also part of the new FIA Formula 3 International Trophy scheme, a series of races which are open for drivers from numerous F3 championships and which are contested at some of the most famous circuits in the world.