Home Featured Marti ‘hit the wall twice’ on way to Monaco F3 victory

Marti ‘hit the wall twice’ on way to Monaco F3 victory

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Pepe Marti revealed that he twice made contact with Monaco’s barriers on his way to winning the Formula 3 sprint race on Saturday.

The Campos Racing driver, managed by Fernando Alonso’s A14 company, took the chequered flag by over eight seconds ahead of Leonardo Fornaroli – his second reversed-grid win in three events promoting him to third in the standings.

Asked how he stayed focused and away from the barriers, he revealed: “I did touch the wall twice, but it was very light contact.

“The race itself was really good to manage. It was a pretty difficult race at the beginning, when I saw Leo really close to me three laps after the safety car I was quite nervous because I didn’t know if I could keep that pace up.

“Obviously, no one knew what the degradation was going to be like, but as soon as I saw the tyre dropping off for myself, I realised that if he kept pushing, he was going to drop off as well.

“From that point onwards I was just trying to manage the tyre. When I saw him dropping off and coming out of the DRS zone that’s when I started to manage things more closely and try to be more consistent.”

While many on the F3 grid have previous experience of Monaco from Formula Regional, this is Marti’s first time racing there, and he said winning there was ‘a dream come true’.

“I think everybody wants to win in Monaco and to do it in my first race, even if it’s the sprint race, it’s a great feeling,” he said.

“I think if I had this experience yesterday it could have been a different outcome in qualifying and we could have started further up the grid, but from where we came we profited as much as we could and to take a victory home in Monaco is really special.”

F3’s Monaco debut is also the first appearance for Pirelli’s revised soft compound tyre for 2023, and Marti told Formula Scout that tyre management was “really challenging” in the race.

“I think it was really going into the unknown,” he said. “No-one knew how the soft was going to behave in a race distance. And it was I think for all of us, at least quite strange because I think no-one expected to have a lot of degradation in Monaco. And we had the exact opposite.

“We had a lot of deg and we had to manage quite hard, for me at least. I grained a lot the front axle so I was struggling with understeer and I hit the wall a couple of times because of it, like I said.”

He added: “I think from my personal side, I think I did pretty well. I think I saved the tyre as best as I could and when I saw that I was going to make it to the end, I started pushing again. But yeah, the tyre is for sure going to be a deciding factor tomorrow.”

Additional reporting by Alejandro Alonso Lopez