Home Featured Pirelli’s F3 compound choice for Monaco key to Mansell’s podium return

Pirelli’s F3 compound choice for Monaco key to Mansell’s podium return

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

ART Grand Prix’s Christian Mansell was thrilled to not only return to the FIA Formula 3 podium in Monaco, but also race on Pirelli’s soft compound tyres.

Mansell started the season at Bahrain by qualifying eighth but finishing second in the feature race on hard compound tyres, then scored two points over the next two rounds in Melbourne and at Imola where medium compound tyres were used.

F3 drivers had tyres left over from Imola available to them in Monaco, but also had new soft tyres and it was on those which Mansell showed his pace by topping his qualifying group then being feature race runner-up.

Having already proven his talent at the F3 level by coming third in Euroformula in 2022 with three wins, top-five finishes have been infrequent since moving across to the FIA F3 Championship that year and so he deemed his Monaco qualifying result “extremely” important after an emotionally “really up and down” season to date.

“We’ve had a really tough time figuring out this medium tyre, ART [GP] in general. So to come back to the soft and what looked like a very positive round one in Bahrain on the hard, it’s very important to sort of claw back the points that we lost in Melbourne and Imola,” said Mansell after qualifying, adding his goal was “just trying to get a podium” and “secure points”.

The “emotions were definitely extremely up there” and Mansell was “definitely was stepping higher in the car” during qualifying, saying “there’s [only] been a few times in my life where I’ve smiled so much”.

“I’d love to relive that moment again. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I’d like to just have that in the memory bank and put it on repeat. That’s sort of how much it meant to me,” he admitted.

The reaction once out of the cockpit after the feature race was just as superlative-filled, with Mansell calling the result “one million times cooler” than his Bahrain podium.

“I was lost for words when I came out of the car. It shows you where my head was at through the whole thing. I was just so ecstatic. Admittedly I really wanted to win today. Gabriele [Mini, the victor] didn’t make a mistake, so he definitely made it hard for me. But I was pushing him along the way as well. I am very happy with my performance. It is such a stellar way to end the weekend after a pretty average race one.”

Unsurprisingly, Mansell anticipates he will still be full of positivity when he arrives at Barcelona for round five next month.

“Really good [mentality]. I haven’t really dropped my head very much even though Melbourne and Imola especially hasn’t been ideal. At the end of the day, I can’t change what’s happened and we know we struggle with the medium tyre but on the soft and the hard we are very competitive. There’s no reason why I can’t keep this form going into further races.”

Additional reporting by Alejandro Alonso Lopez