Macau Grand Prix

Jet-setting Felix Rosenqvist focused on historic Macau Grand Prix Formula Three hat-trick

Fresh from a third place finish at the Formula E race in Marrakesh this weekend, the Swede is intent on becoming the first-ever three-time winner of the marquee event

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 6:47pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 10:45pm

Felix Rosenqvist is trying to keep his feet on the ground as he jets halfway across the world to defend his Macau Grand Prix Formula Three title.

The 25-year-old is due to arrive in the enclave on Monday evening as he attempts to become the first-ever three-time winner of Macau’s marquee Formula Three event – and his mad-dash across the globe began in the early hours of Sunday morning, not long after the Swede had raced his way into third at the Marrakesh Formula E race.

“It’s been a year since I raced in F3, but we did some testing and it feels good so far,” Rosenqvist said before racing in Morocco.

“Having won the race two times, I can only really have one goal going into it this year, but I also know how treacherous it can be. There are so many things that can go wrong in Macau, and you need that little bit of luck along the way if you’re going to win it.”

Sunday’s result was Rosenqvist’s first podium finish in the fledgling electric series, and came after he had made his debut for the Mahindra Racing team at the Hong Kong ePrix last month, finishing 15th.

He’d grabbed pole position for the first time in Marrakesh and led for 27 of the 33 laps, but saw last year’s series champion Sebastien Buemi outfox him after the required mid-race car change.

Back-to-back titles: Fabulous Felix blazes to glory again in Macau Grand prix

Swiss driver Buemi went on to win the race for Renault e.DAMS, in front of Britain’s Sam Bird and Rosenqvist now sits in fourth place overall after two races as that series enters a winter break.

“It started off pretty well,” said Swede Rosenqvist. “For me, it felt like I was maximising what I could do with speed in the corner where we could actually find lap time, and when I heard that Seb and Sam were behind me, I knew they were on another level and there was no way I was able to compete with that as I was already very tight on energy.

“I think we did what we could today with the preparations we had and it’s really good for us to have two podiums already.

“I think qualifying has been strong for us, but definitely there are some steps to take in the race, but looking at Hong Kong, this is already really good.”

Felix Rosenqvist wins Macau Grand Prix at fifth attempt

Now comes Macau, the SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Mercedes and an event that boasts a red-hot field, including two other former winners in Daniel Juncadella and Antonio Felix da Costa alongside Rosenqvist, as well as talent from across the globe.

“I am certainly among the most experienced in the field, but even for me there will be two new aspects to the race this year,” he said.

“One of them is the new Pirelli tyres, which I think could change the face of the race quite a lot, and the second is the fact I’ve not raced in F3 in the season leading up to it.

“How that affects things remains to been seen, but I’m going into it aiming for victory.”

Revving up Rosenqvist: Felix da Costa and Daniel Juncadella target Macau Grand Prix champion

The three former champion have been engaging in a little prerace niggle on social media and Rosenqvist – who had his colours lowered by Da Costa in the 2012 edition of the Macau race – said he was ready to renew rivalries.

“The competition in Macau is always super strong, and this year will be no exception. I think really the only one missing is [current European F3 champion] Lance Stroll, but other than that it’s as competitive as it could get,” said Rosenqvist.

“All the other frontrunners from the FIA F3 European Championship are there, as are the top Japanese guys and some other exciting talents.

“Alexander Sims has been around for a long time and was on the podium in Macau last year, so he should be quick. Then of course, there’s Dani Juncadella and Antonio Felix da Costa, two other previous winners and really good friends of mine.

“We had so much fun in testing and I know they will want to beat me just as much as I want to beat them.”