This weekend marks the start of the 2017 Super Formula season, with Felix Rosenqvist about to take on his first-ever race on Japanese soil as the country’s leading single-seater series gets underway at Suzuka.
Rosenqvist joins the championship – which boasts the fastest cars in the world outside Formula 1 – driving for Team LeMans, and is looking forward to an adventure unlike any other he has previously experienced.
“It’s a genuinely exciting feeling going into the Super Formula season this weekend,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I think it’s a massively competitive championship, and it will be very interesting to see how we fare. I really don’t know. I have only had a couple of days in the car and I’m sure it will be a steep learning curve, but I’ll do my best as always and take things from there.”
Rosenqvist completed two days of pre-season testing – at Suzuka – at the beginning of March, but has not driven the 550-bhp, turbo-engined car since.
“The test back in March was hugely important,” Rosenqvist adds. “The Super Formula car is tremendously fast and those two days were crucial for me to adapt. It went pretty well and I learned a lot, but it’s always difficult to judge relative performance in testing.
“My primary aim this weekend will be to get as much running as possible in the bag and make progress with each session. It may not sound like a very exciting ambition, but this is a serious championship and I’m not going to underestimate the challenge ahead. It will be great to be back in the car again!”
Among Rosenqvist’s Super Formula rivals are current GP2 champion Pierre Gasly (who arrives in Japan fresh from Formula 1 testing in Bahrain), triple Le Mans 24 Hours winner André Lotterer and ex-F1 drivers Kamui Kobayashi, Kazuki Nakajima and Narain Karthikeyan.
The Suzuka season-opener kicks off with one hour of free practice on Friday. Saturday features a second practice session as well as qualifying, with the first race of the season taking place on Sunday. It will run for 35 laps around the Japanese Grand Prix venue.
Super Formula | Rd. 1
All times local (GMT+09:00)
Friday 21 April
Free Practice 1: 12.45-13.45
Saturday 22 April
Free Practice 2: 10.10-11.10
Sunday 23 April
Free Practice 3: 08.50-09.20
Race: 13.40 (35 laps)