Following an intense year of racing, the ATS Formula 3 Cup season will come to an end this weekend. After 16 races have been completed, it's time to switch attention towards Oschersleben for the final battle of 2010 - and for Felix Rosenqvist, there is all to win and nothing to lose as the struggle for third overall in the championship standings is finally due to be settled.
Felix's first season in Formula 3 racing has proved a roller-coaster of highs and lows, mixing severe setbacks with memorable victories. More than anything, however, it has given the Performance Racing driver some invaluable experience which will no doubt come in handy at the season finale. The technical issues that haunted him at the beginning of the year have not helped his case in the fight for championship positions, but Felix still arrives at Oschersleben within striking distance of Motopark Academy's Kevin Magnussen - who currently holds third - after a strong comeback during the late-summer events.
Felix is unchallenged in fifth place overall, which sets him up well for a do-or-die attitude as he seeks to close Magnussen's considerable 10-point gap. The Dane, however, will have the advantage of racing at the one venue his Motopark Academy team knows best, with its race shop facilities being located within the Oschersleben circuit area and the squad undertaking the majority of their testing activities on site. Felix and Performance Racing, therefore, are aware of the challenge ahead of them - but remain confident of a front-running display after obtaining useful data when the northern German circuit hosted the season curtain-raiser back in April. With a maximum of 24 points still up for grabs - and with 2009 championship runner-up Stef Dusseldorp (Van Amersfoort Racing) too involved in the scrap in fourth place (six points ahead of Felix) - there will be nothing to spare this weekend.
Tom Dillmann had the chance to secure the 2010 ATS Formula 3 Cup title last time out at the Nürburgring, but a Race 2 victory wasn't enough to seal the deal after a lowly eighth place in the first race of the weekend. Instead, Van Amersfoort Racing's Daniel Abt further bridged the gap to the Frenchman by finishing second in both races, which will see the battle for the outright championship title also run all the way to the finale. Experienced HS Technik driver Dillmann, who dovetails his ATS Formula 3 Cup commitments with a campaign in the Italian F3 championship, contests his fourth season in the single-seater category and faces probably his best shot yet at winning a significant and highly-regarded F3 title.
Apart from the established drivers, the finale will also see a couple of new additions on the grid. GP3 driver Nigel Melker makes his ATS Formula 3 Cup debut on the back of a season which has given the 19-year-old two Pole Positions in the series just below GP2. The Dutchman will drive with Jo Zeller Racing and has previously competed in both the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and the classic Formula 3 Masters event at Zandvoort.
Klaus Bachler is another driver to enter his first round in the championship, following a severe crash at Hockenheim during pre-season testing which has kept the Austrian out of action until now. One of the more significant backers of Bachler is business man Christian "Toto" Wolff, who reached the limelight when he invested in F1 squad Williams in November of last year. A former racing driver himself, Wolff runs a management company with two-times Formula 1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen and has spent the last few years paving the way for - amongst others - F3 Euro Series ace Valtteri Bottas. Bachler is set to race with URD Rennsport, and claims to have fully recovered from his accident.
Finland's Jesse Krohn, whom Felix raced against at the Formula Renault 2.0 Sweden and North European Zone round at Ahvenisto last year, will also participate at Oschersleben this weekend. Krohn has achieved considerable success in the Italian F3 championship this season, and makes an interesting addition on the grid.
At the Oschersleben premiere earlier this year, Felix got off to the worst possible start with an engine which refused to fire up ahead of the first practice session. An impressive qualifying performance still saw the F3 rookie qualify in fifth for the first race, but problems continued when he was hit by Brazil's Luis Derani going into Turn 1 and had to retire. The second race also ended prematurely, when a cracked exhaust meant a loss of power and a parking ticket in the pits. The two races run were won by Magnussen and Dusseldorp, although Dillmann finished first on the road in Race 2 but was denied victory following a false start.
The last ATS Formula 3 Cup round of the year promises both drama and excitement, and with the Oschersleben area not exactly famed for its stable October climate, the odds are on for a very unpredictable event. Can Felix turn the tables and overhaul Magnussen in the dying moments of the season, or will the task prove to be just that bit too tough? Stay tuned to www.felixracing.se for everything you need to know about the thrilling 2010 finale, with live commentary from qualifying and the races taking you through events as they happen for the last time this season.
ATS Formula 3 Cup - Oschersleben