Mahindra Racing enter the 2016-17 season with a revised lineup, pairing the stalwart Nick Heidfeld with young Swedish rookie Felix Rosenqvist. During testing, we grabbed a quick word with Felix to get to know Mahindra’s newest signing a little better.
Born in Värnamo, Sweden, 24-year-old Felix Rosenqvist made his single seater debut in regional Formula Renault, taking titles in the Asian, Swedish and NEZ Formula Renault 2.0 series’ between 2008 and 2009. International recognition came with a third-place finish in his maiden European Formula 3 campaign in 2012 and victory in the prestigious 2014 Macau Grand Prix.
In 2015, Felix took the European F3 title in dominant fashion, finishing more than a hundred points over second-placed Antonio Giovinazzi and racking up a run of 15 consecutive podiums – including eight victories – and a second Macau win to tie off the season. After stints in DTM, Blancpain GT and IndyLights – the latter yielding three wins – Felix was called up by Mahindra to replace Bruno Senna for the 2016-17 Formula E season.
TPCO: Is Formula E’s preference for street circuits a big part of its appeal for you, given your strong history at tracks like Macau?
FR: Yes, it sure is. It’s a big reason why I considered to join Formula E. I love every street circuit and I always had good results on them so for me it made perfect sense.
TPCO: Considering the unique technical challenge of Formula E, how much of a confidence boost is it for a rookie driver to make their debut with a team as solid as Mahindra?
FR: For sure it helps me a lot to join a team that has been here since the start of the championship. Even with my teammate Nick being very experienced and a good team leader it feels like I’m in good hands.
TPCO: Are you aiming for any particular results this season, or is the focus just on finding your feet for now?
FR: For now I don’t really know where I am when it comes to the performance. Obviously the first test went well but I think it’s way early to judge lap times for now. I think I will just prepare in the best possible way and then I guess we will see in Hong Kong!
TPCO: How do you feel going up against a teammate as experienced and highly-regarded as Nick – is it a little daunting, or do you enjoy the challenge?
FR: I think it’s first of all very helpful to have Nick as he’s a great teacher when it comes to leading a team – something that takes a long time to learn as a driver. He’s easy to work with and I hope I can push him as well!
TPCO: Speaking of teammates, is there any current driver, from Formula E or beyond, against whom you’d love to test yourself?
FR: I think in the last seasons I had the opportunity to put myself up against very good drivers around the world, a couple of weeks ago I tested the same car as Scott Dixon and I was very impressed with him. I would love to try to go against Hamilton!
TPCO: Who would you regard as the toughest rival so far in your career?
FR: I think Esteban Ocon is a very good driver, and the one that impressed me the most when he won his rookie F3 season in 2014, and also won GP3 the following year as a rookie as well.
TPCO: Which location this season are you most looking forward to racing in? And is there any location not on the calendar that you would like to visit with Formula E in the future?
FR: I look forward to Buenos Aires and Mexico as I’ve never been to South America. I think the championship should visit Stockholm for sure, and also come back to London.
TPCO: What are the most difficult, and most rewarding, parts of racing all over the world?
FR: The most difficult is the fact that you’re always a bit jet lagged and tired, and also your private life becomes a bit compromised when it comes to meeting family and friends. The rewarding part is that you get to do what you love every day, and as a young guy it’s nice that you can really go for something instead of being home drinking beer every weekend.
TPCO: How do you like to unwind after a race weekend?
FR: Normally I love just being home for one day doing nothing, then I feel ready to go again – as long as I get this day I’m good!
TPCO: Any predictions for the season – for yourself, for Mahindra, or for Formula E in general?
FR: It’s way too early to judge, at the moment we are just looking at ourselves and focusing on our programme. I think the team has done a very impressive job during the off-season and I can’t wait to see our final product in Hong Kong! For myself, I can just prepare as well as possible and then see how it goes I guess 🙂