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Mansell "not really too fussed" about potential F3 title challenge

Written by Sean McKean

Credit - PA Images / Alamy Images

After running up front for a majority of the FIA F3 sprint race in Austria, ART’s Christian Mansell saw a gap and made a move on his teammate Nikola Tsolov in Turn 4 for the lead. 

Right as this happened, a battle between Sebastian Montoya and Alex Dunne boiled over for fourth – resulting in Montoya getting sent into the barrier at the end of the straight at high speeds.

Subsequently, the yellow flags came out before the safety car, but then-race leader Mansell assumed otherwise. 

“Yeah, I had a beep [which indicated yellow flags] and responded to it out of intuition and yeah. Obviously, the other guys [Tsolov and Martinius Stenshorne] kept it flat, which in theory is what you should do, you should wait until you get the VSC on the steering wheel, but just jumped a bit too early,” Mansell told DIVEBOMB on the matter.

Having lifted to such a degree, it allowed the two drivers behind him – teammate Nikola Tsolov and Hitech’s Martinius Stenshorne – to get back ahead of the Australian when the safety car finally came out.

Although there was a one-lap dash to the finish, the top three remained unchanged, and Mansell came home third.

“Obviously, it’s a bit tough with what happened just before the safety car came out,” he said. “But yeah, bittersweet is probably a good way to put it, but it is what it is at the end of the day.”

“At the end of the day, both Nikola and Martinius drove a good race. I have to say I drove a good race as well, but obviously made a very rookie error, which sucks but [I] can't take it back.”

This third-placed result is the Australian’s third podium in five races, and following a scoreless race for the top two in the championship, he sits on sixth – only 18 points away from leader Leonardo Fornaroli. 

However, when asked about the possibility of a title challenge by DIVEBOMB, Mansell is indifferent to the idea.

“You’d be silly not to try and have a crack. I think, of course it’s there, but also F3 changes so quickly. We saw today, I think Dino got spun around in T1 … and he’s very well established in the championship, so anything can happen.

“As I said before, it would be silly not to have one eye on it, but to be honest, I’m not really too fussed. In this sport, you honestly nowadays more than ever you don’t even really need to win to move up. Don’t get me wrong: it’s nice and I want to win, but there’s a lot more to racing now more than ever, and it’s more so about what you do off-track, and how you are with the team, how you are with Formula 1 teams, and how you look good in the media, and how you look good for marketing, so you know,” he said.

“Sometimes, it’s not just about driving cars fast, it’s about a lot of other things.”

Mansell will start tomorrow’s feature race from 11th position.


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