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Magic Moments of 2017: Rosenqvist’s Reflex Masterclass

In the first of our look at some of the magic moments of 2017 we recall watching Felix Rosenqvist get to grips with Formula E in his rookie season…

Photo: LAT/Formula E

If you ever watched downhill skiing in the 1970s and 1980s, you might remember a spectacularly gifted Canadian called Steve Podborski.

Part of the ‘Crazy Canucks’ tribe of hairy, scary, downhill skiiers, the yellow-clad, be-maple leafed Podborski used to leave crowds opened mouthed at his skills and reflexes which were often needed merely to stay out of hospital wards.

I don’t know if Felix Rosenqvist can ski well, but chances are that he can. And if he had a previous life, he may well have been a ‘Crazy Canuck’.

From what I saw during free practice at Buenos Aires last February and again at Hong Kong earlier this month, the guy can do whatever he wishes with a racing car.

One Saturday morning last February in Buenos Aires came a rare chance for me to get out on track.

The left-hand corner before the chicane is made trickier by the fact the tarmac changes from asphalt to concrete. This is then followed by a quick chicane, one which has claimed many victims in the past. It is the area of the track made famous by a creative camera angle from the Aurora TV guys.

It was exceptional commitment and all from a driver with just a couple of Formula E races under his belt.

“Felix just does what he is very good at and that is driving anything he gets his hands very quickly,” said his long-term manager and racing legend Stefan Johansson earlier this year.

“He has such a good temperament as well for a young guy, he’s a doer on the track but also off it is very analytical and professional. He doesn’t seem to get phased by anything.”

The Mahindra team love its new star. Quite apart from the regular reflexology masterclasses, Rosenqvist has also proved adept in developing cars.

The way in which he and teammate Nick Heidfeld changed the Mahinra M3ELECTRO’s fortunes around its use of the quirky tires in season three was impressive.

In June’s Berlin round, Rosenqvist reaped the rewards of the work and conquered the challenging track conditions, notably the abrasive surface. The preparation of ensuring that their car was relatively easy on its tires paid off and the team celebrated a famous first win.

Of course, it should have been a double 24 hours later, but a botched team pit stop scuppered that when Rosenqvist got a time penalty, denying him another maximum points score.

It was typical of him that there was no major song and dance afterwards. There was quiet reflection on the surface at least, but no histrionics.

It was a remarkably strong first full season for Rosenqvist. The current season started in mixed fashion and he beat himself up over a significant error at the start of the second race which he started from a spectacularly qualifying effort which garnered him his fourth pole.

The big question now for the new ‘Super Swede’ is if he can eradicate the errors.

It won’t be too much solace to him but the facts are that Formula E is such a deceptively tricky discipline that his main rivals were and are still committing errors with bags more experience.

One thing is for sure though: if you ever get chance to see Formula E cars up close, look out for the black-topped helmet cocked aggressively as it finds tenths of a second that probably shouldn’t exist.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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