Little over a year ago, Felix Rosenqvist shot into the history books with a commanding performance that made him the first-ever driver to win all three races that make up an FIA Formula 3 European Championship round. The site of the emphatic victory clean-sweep was the stunning Red Bull Ring in Austria – widely regarded as arguably the most picturesque racing circuit in the world, beautifully set among the hills and valleys surrounding the Styrian village of Spielberg. This weekend sees the championship return to the striking venue for its 2014 round, and Rosenqvist – the memory of his 2013 achievements still fresh in mind – is ready to let battle recommence…
Flashback: the previous round
FIA F3 European Championship: Moscow Raceway (Round 7)
Red Bull Ring 2013: Felix sweeps to historic FIA F3 European Championship triple
Length: 4.326 km
Opened: 1969 (as the “Österreichring”)
Lap record, F3: 1m25.921s (Felix Rosenqvist, 2013)
2013 results (Felix): 1/1/1
Race duration: 35 minutes
Even back in its early days of existence under the Österreichring banner more than 40 years ago – at a time when safety standards were modest to say the least – the since rechristened Red Bull Ring was considered a ferociously fast circuit. Despite being shortened on safety grounds in the 1990s, the venue has always been known for its high-speed nature and long straights, punctuated by 90-degree corners and sharp hairpins.
Top speed is a vital performance differentiator at the Red Bull Ring – especially in race trim to either execute or defend from overtaking attempts. Of equal importance, however, is the twisting final sector of the lap, which requires a completely different set of characteristics from the car.
While sectors one and two are primarily about traction out of corners and that all-important top speed, the concluding segment is a very contradicting story, lending itself towards preferably high levels of downforce in pursuit of cornering grip. This paradox makes the Red Bull Ring a demanding challenge for drivers and engineers alike, as they seek the optimum trade-off between outright straightline speed and a balanced car in the fast corners.
“The Red Bull Ring will always hold a special place in my mind given the triple win I scored there last year, and it’s a circuit I enjoy massively. It suits me very well, and I would lie if I said that we haven’t got high ambitions going into this weekend. Still, we have got to be realistic and accept the fact that our rivals have been setting the pace in recent races – but we have been working flat out since Moscow. We have a couple of new things to evaluate this weekend that should allow us to take a step forward, and while it obviously remains to be seen just where it will leave us, I’m feeling optimistic and excited to get back to racing at one of my favourite circuits on the calendar.”
All times local (GMT+02:00)
Friday 1 August
Free Practice 1: 13.45 (40 minutes)
Free Practice 2: 14.30 (40 minutes)
Qualifying 1: 18.05 (20 minutes)
Saturday 2 August
Race 1: 11.10 (35 minutes)
Qualifying 2: 17.25 (20 minutes)
Sunday 3 August
Race 2: 11.00 (35 minutes)
Race 3: 15.35 (35 minutes)
HOW IT WORKS – AN FIA F3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUICK GUIDE
Each round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is made up of three races, all of which are of equal length (35 minutes) and importance for the outcome in the title chase. The points structure mirrors that in use in Formula 1, running to the 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 system (with the top ten finishers in each race scoring points).
The grid for all three races is set in the two qualifying sessions. For Race 1, the starting order is established by the outright results of Qualifying 1, while the subsequent second qualifying session forms the grid for Race 2. For Race 3, the grid will be based on each driver’s second-fastest lap in Qualifying 2.
The full 2014 calendar can be viewed here.
FIA Formula 3 European Championship 2014 – teams and drivers
HOW TO FOLLOW FELIX THIS WEEKEND
As always, www.felixracing.se will be fully updated throughout the weekend, with reports from each of the sessions that take place. The website is the central hub of information for everything that goes on both on and off the track, and will also feature other relevant news, pictures and videos.
All three races at the event will be streamed LIVE at www.fiaf3europe.com, with a link set to appear in the slider field at the top of the www.felixracing.se start page. In addition to the real-time broadcasts, a new-for-2014 agreement will also see Eurosport produce a magazine-style wrap-up show to be aired on the Tuesday following each round.
The interaction with fans and followers will principally involve Felix Racing’s official Facebook Fan Page, where supporters can discuss all the goings-on and post potential questions to Felix. Tweets will also be forthcoming through Felix’s own Twitter account (@FRosenqvist).