Twelve months ago, Felix Rosenqvist swept to victory in the world’s most prominent junior single-seater race; the prestigious Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix. As the 2015 edition gets underway this week, the Swede is back in the Chinese Special Administrative Region outside Hong Kong – this time as defending champion, and with the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title under his belt.
“It’s great being back in Macau,” Rosenqvist says. ”I love this race, and returning on the back of last year’s win is pretty special. There is a lot of attention from the media, but still I’ve never felt this relaxed. More than anything else, Macau is a unique mental challenge, and it does help having already won it. I know I can do it, and a lot of the pressure is taken away. It’s something you rarely get to experience when you come here.”
The Macau Grand Prix – or the FIA F3 Intercontinental Cup as it’s officially known – is a standalone event, taking place on the 6.2 km Guia street circuit. Considered the Formula 3 “world finale”, the race features a grid of 28 drivers from across the globe, the majority of them (22) having contested the FIA Formula 3 European Championship this year.
Italy’s Antonio Giovinazzi, runner up to Rosenqvist in the European standings, Britain’s Jake Dennis (third overall) and Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (fourth) are all in attendance, while current Mercedes DTM driver Daniel Juncadella returns to a race he won back in 2011.
“It’s the same thing as always in Macau; the most competitive field you’ll find,” Rosenqvist concludes. “That, along with the extreme nature of this track, has helped me evolve a lot thanks to this race over the years. It really is fierce. Having said that, though, I’m in a strong team this year, and I’m here to try and win for a second time.”
Felix Rosenqvist is part of a three-car SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam line-up, alongside fellow FIA F3 European Championship race winners Dennis and Lance Stroll (Canada).
The 2015 Macau Grand Prix kicks off on Thursday. After two days of practice and qualifying, Saturday will see the running of the Qualification Race, which forms the grid for Sunday’s all-important finale.
TIME TABLE – 2015 MACAU GRAND PRIX
All times local (GMT+08:00)
Free Practice 1: 09.35-10.15
Qualifying 1: 14.20-15.00
Free Practice 2: 09.35-10.15
Qualifying 2: 15.55-16.35
Qualification Race: 13.45 (10 laps)
Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix: 15.30 (15 laps)