FIA Formula 3 European Championship to make its Portugal debut

Antonio Giovinazzi wants to defend his championship lead against his two toughest rivals, Felix Rosenqvist and Charles Leclerc.

On the first weekend in September, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is going to make its debut appearance in Portugal since the series’ revival in 2010. The 4.684-kilometre Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, located a few kilometres upcountry between Portimão and Lagos, will stage the next round of the three-way battle for the title.

It goes without saying that Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) who just made his DTM debut wants to defend his championship lead against his two toughest rivals, Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam) and Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing). In addition, the grid will feature two drivers who are going to contest their first FIA Formula 3 European Championship race meeting in 2015, this weekend.

My goal for Portimão? To close the gap to championship leader Antonio Giovinazzi as far as possible.

Felix Rosenqvist

For Antonio Giovinazzi, the last weekend in August was a very special one as he made his DTM debut at the Moscow Raceway. And just two days later, the 21-year old Italian was back in the cockpit of his Formula 3 single-seater for the official FIA Formula 3 European Championship tests at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Two days of testing offered teams and drivers the time for preparing for the race meeting held at the same venue on the following weekend.

Only a few of the young drivers on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid already have contested races at the circuit located in Southern Portugal. One of those with Autódromo Internacional do Algarve experiences under their belts is Felix Rosenqvist who contested two Formula Acceleration 1 rounds there, last year, to finish fourth and third respectively. Other than Rosenqvist, his two toughest title rivals, Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc, will contest their first races at the venue opened in 2008.

In Portugal, two well-known faces will be back among the best Formula 3 drivers in the world: Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) and Alexander Sims (HitechGP). 21-year old New Zealander Cassidy, currently a title contender in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, already contested two FIA Formula 3 European Championship race meetings in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons but never made it to the top 10. But he convinced by finishing third in the 2014 edition of the prestigious Macau GP.

Briton Alexander Sims is six years older than Cassidy and currently holds the lead in the British GT Championship. He contested his last Formula 3 European Championship races to date in 2013 and secured five podiums in a total of 12 races. Sims races for the British Team HitechGP that makes its debut appearance in the championship.

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “With its bumpy track surface and its uphill and downhill sections, the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve definitely represents a challenge for us drivers, with turns 10 and 11 being the key spots. It’s a blind double-right-hander and so, you can’t see what’s going on when braking into it. My goal for Portimão? To close the gap to championship leader Antonio Giovinazzi as far as possible. Nonetheless, I think that it will be difficult to secure far more points than him as we usually both deliver on a very consistent level. Therefore, it will be particularly important that I’m there if he should make a mistake. And we mustn’t forget Charles Leclerc who follows just 8.5 points behind me.”

FIA Formula 3

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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Event Portimao
Track Algarve Motor Park
Drivers Alexander Sims , Felix Rosenqvist , Antonio Giovinazzi , Nick Cassidy , Charles Leclerc
Teams Prema Powerteam
Article type Preview