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Q&A: Felix on his debut - and what comes next

The 2011 season is underway - and Felix Rosenqvist wasted little time getting onto the podium. Second place for the 19-year-old in his first-ever Formula 3 Euro Series race at Paul Ricard last weekend produced quite a few raised eyebrows, and provided confirmation of front-running pace from the outset in a championship which has previously put driving talent like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Paul di Resta on the map.

One week on from the French opener, Felix has taken the opportunity to reflect on his performances, analyse how it could have gone even better - and started preparations for the rest of the season...


Mattias Persson: Felix, you took to the podium straight out of the box in your debut in one of the most competitive single-seater championships on the junior stage - did you envisage that happening when you flew out to France?

Felix Rosenqvist: I have never had any doubts about my own talent, and I always work as hard as I can to try and improve my driving following every session I do. If that - combined with the work I do together with my team - is enough or not, that really remains to be seen at each race. My standpoint is that if I and the team are at our best, then we are the fastest - which is why the result didn't really surprise me. "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."


Mattias Persson: Was there any particular part of the weekend where you feel you might have to work harder ahead of the up-coming races?

Felix Rosenqvist: If there was anything which was "worse" than something else, then I have to say qualifying. I feel that is an area where I can improve, so we will probably be stronger there in the next few races.


Mattias Persson: You have proven to be a quick learner when it comes to understanding new circuits, for example in Formula Palmer Audi at Snetterton in 2009 and in the German F3 championship last year. Paul Ricard was yet another completely new experience for you, and the racing turned out to be spectacularly close and very interesting. How much was your weekend affected by the fact that you had never driven at the circuit before?

Felix Rosenqvist: It was quite tough to go into qualifying on the back of just 30 minutes of effective on-track running. To complicate things further, Paul Ricard is one of the most difficult circuits I've ever driven at when it comes to reading grip levels and lines etc. There really are countless of different approaches to take to try and optimise your lap time, and I guess that is part of the thinking behind the circuit.


Mattias Persson: What do you make of the next round at Hockenheim, a circuit you do indeed know from last year?

Felix Rosenqvist: The circuit itself is relatively simple, so I don't think the advantage of having driven there before will be at all as big as at for example Macau, Silverstone and Paul Ricard.


Mattias Persson: Christian Klien, Markus Winkelhock, Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Buemi all have one thing in common; all of them have driven for Mücke Motorsport in Formula 3 Euro Series. How would you describe your relationship with the team, now that the first round of the championship has been completed?

Felix Rosenqvist: It always takes some time to acclimatise to a new team - it isn't something you do after just a day of testing - but I really feel that we grow stronger and stronger all the time; and that is especially true for my team-mate Nigel (Melker).


Mattias Persson: One of the new features in Formula 3 Euro Series ahead of this season is the introduction of 40-minute races. In the German championship last year, you got used to running for half that length, and it is a well-known fact that F3 cars produce high levels of g-force due to their advanced aerodynamic performance. Did the longer race distance throw any physical issues at you?

Felix Rosenqvist: I've been working a lot on that throughout the winter in order to be well prepared. In combination with all the long stints in pre-season testing, that meant I felt very strong at Paul Ricard. Over the next few months, though, there will be some longer intervals in between driving and it will be important to continue to work out to preserve physical stamina. The biggest adaption for me was sitting in the car for a longer amount of time and remembering to tell myself to keep drinking a lot.


Mattias Persson: Were there any of your rivals who surprised you at Paul Ricard? Who do you see as your toughest opposition right now?

Felix Rosenqvist: Not really. Daniel Juncadella showed some ”Jenson Button tendencies” as he might not have been the utmost fastest driver but had a good package, taking care of the tyres, driving neatly and being consistent. That gave him the tools to be on the podium in each of the races and meant he left France with the championship lead.


Mattias Persson: Finally; what happens between now and the Hockenheim weekend?

Felix Rosenqvist: Since I've been away from home for about one month, I will try to spend a bit more time with my girlfriend Hanna and my mates. Other than that, I will go back to work and continue with my fitness programme.

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