Felix Rosenqvist was left dejected following this weekend’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps, having lost at least two genuine shots at victory after being hit by rival drivers in each of the three races staged.
Rosenqvist qualified on pole position – his tenth of the season – for the first race of the meeting, and soon found himself engulfed in an epic slipstreaming battle at the Belgian venue; jostling for the lead with fellow title contenders Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc. A clash with Giovinazzi, however, for which the Italian was later penalised, eventually restricted Rosenqvist to second behind Leclerc.
While the Race 1 scare had only minor impact on Rosenqvist’s weekend, it was in the second and third encounters that things truly came to a head. In Race 2, the Swede was the innocent victim of a tangle between Mikkel Jensen and Lance Stroll as the trio disputed the lead on the Kemmel straight, with Rosenqvist lucky to escape injury as his Prema Powerteam Dallara slammed heavily into the barriers at full speed.
In Race 3, Rosenqvist was again subjected to poor driving etiquette, being pushed off the track at the start before being pitched into a spin by Germany’s Markus Pommer – who was immediately disqualified. Rosenqvist recovered to finish fifth, but fastest lap in each of the concluding two races signalled a case of lost opportunities.
“To be perfectly honest, I think these are the worst driving standards I have ever experienced,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It is just impossible to race among some of the guys out there, and it doesn’t matter how cautious you are; I was extremely careful in the final race and still got spun around by a driver who had just been handed a drive-through penalty. It’s such a shame this is happening, because the championship is fantastic and the organisers are trying their best to address the issues.”
Rosenqvist – who leaves Belgium sitting third in the standings – also highlights concern going into the next round of the season, which takes place at the Norisring street circuit in Nuremberg in just one week’s time.
“Some of the new kids seem to think we’re in a video game, and if it goes on like that at the Norisring we are in real trouble,” Rosenqvist concludes. “It’s a wall-lined circuit with lots of slipstreaming and heavy braking zones, and I have to admit I’m feeling concerned going there. It is possible to race at a high level and to do it in a respectful manner; I think Charles (Leclerc) is a good example of that. Let’s hope for a more sensible weekend in Germany.”