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“Out of the window” tyres led to Mini’s nightmare weekend at Barcelona

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Alpine F1 Team

Hitech GP’s Gabriele Mini endured a nightmare FIA Formula 3 round at Barcelona, where he failed to score any points.

He entered the weekend second in the standings after winning from pole in Monaco, and left Barcelona two places lower and 36 points off the championship lead.

“It all started from free practice,” he explained to Formula Scout in the paddock. “We did not work as we wanted since we got blocked in the first lap. So we cannot really see what the balance was like.

“In qualifying, we struggled so much with the first two [tyres] sets to put them in temperature. And once we had to change all the set-up, we had to change all the warm-up. I think we went a bit on the opposite direction that we wanted to.

“So the last sector was really, really hard. I went to the last corner, it was pretty much the same speed as usual and just lost the car three times in one corner. I managed to save it, but I was a tiny bit out. That comprised the whole weekend of course, since my second-best laptime was really, really far away.

Having had a qualifying lap good enough for fifth place deleted, the Alpine junior had to start both races from 18th. He charged up to eighth in the sprint race, but a penalty for contact with Christian Mansell demoted him to 20th in the final results.

“Then in race one, pace was very, very good, but there was a small incident in T1 and I could not really do too much about that. I got penalised even though I went into the top 10,” said Mini, who then finished a penalised 14th in the feature race.

“For race two, it was just really, really hard to follow. We did not have the pace as yesterday, we struggled so much to follow, especially in the last two corners. So in the end, all I could have done was just wait and hope that somebody would go off or would lose time. In the end, I lost the car sometimes because I was struggling much more today, so got also a penalty [for track limits]. Just not the ideal weekend.”

“The temperature was different,” Mini reckoned was the reason behind his Sunday’s struggles. “Pretty much, a bit it was overall different the grip we had. It was much more unpredictable, the car sometimes would snap out of nowhere.

“I think we were a bit out of the window maybe with tyres. It’s due to the track, due to the different track conditions compared to yesterday. Because to be honest, with such a pace we had yesterday, we did not touch too much of the car.”

Mini has already put his Barcelona weekend behind him. 

“I said many times that every weekend has its history. So what we have to do is just go on the next weekend, we start from zero as I say, and then try to do well again.”