If there was one underlying theme of Christian Mansell’s 2023 Formula 3 campaign, it’s that perseverance pays off in the end. Making step-by-step progress in his first full-season in the Championship, the Australian put together a second-half turnaround transformation.

Earning four points across the opening nine races with Campos Racing, Mansell secured 56 points across the remaining nine races. Concluding the year 12th in the Drivers’ Standings with two podium finishes to his name marks a remarkable shift in improvement and one that has left him immensely satisfied with.

“I definitely think more was on the table because I can’t do everything perfect,” Mansell acknowledged. “So, there is always more on offer, but I think overall I’m really pleasantly pleased. I’m really happy!”

Whilst a two-round appearance last season allowed him to gain an initial impression of what could be in store, he still entered a season of unknowns. Refusing to be weighed down with expectations, Mansell says it was crucial to take things one step at a time and not bite off more than he could chew from the get-go.

“Going into the season, I didn’t really have any goals because I didn’t know where I was going to be, and I think it would have put unnecessary pressure on me. To be honest, I wanted to finish Bahrain, draw a line in the sand and then after that build on what we achieved, which was the upper mid-pack.

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“We’d work from there and try to chip away at it. Obviously, we qualified P13 two times in a row and you want to breach that top 12 to get into the reverse grid, so that was the first goal.”

Whilst his more experienced teammate Josep María Martí enjoyed a strong start to running, earning victories in Sakhir and Monte Carlo, by comparison Mansell seemed to be lacking the same level of pace. Admitting to not quite feeling at one with the car at that point, he says a combination of personal development, teamwork, and more familiar venues were crucial to catching up to that benchmark.

READ MORE: Martí: 2023 a transformative make-or-break season, but Campos’ pace ‘deserved more’

“I think the only thing that was missing in the early phase of the season was that I wasn’t really comfortable within the car yet. It was a big learning curve and I think with the experience that I have now looking back on it, I’d do everything differently.

“Pepe hit out of the blocks so hot and honestly that made me look worse than I was. Actually, I wasn’t too far away, but it was still far enough away to be like ‘right we’ve got to sort something out’. After that, it’s a big learning curve and you just reset.

“All of that, I think the whole lot helps. I think it’s important to come away from something and fully digest what happened and how you can perform better in the next weekend. It’s a blessing and a curse that the gaps are really long and then really short.”

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He added: “When they’re really long, you have so much time to go over what you’ve done and then when they’re back-to-back, it’s almost like ‘right, get your stuff sorted and crack on as hard as you can’. Looking back on how I’ve done that, I can tell you without a doubt that I can easily dive much deeper.

"The experience that you get, you learn something new every round for me in F3, something always happens where you’re like ‘okay that’s interesting’ – there’s never a dull moment.”

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Absorbing every lesson that came his way eventually paid dividends, as Mansell earned his maiden F3 podium in a tricky Silverstone Sprint Race and followed it up in the Spa-Francorchamps Feature Race. Whilst he enjoyed blitzing his way through the field in the wet-to-dry conditions around the Belgian circuit, the Australian says no highlight could quite match the feeling of standing on the podium at the legendary British track for the first time.

“They both have standout moments. Spa because it was a Feature Race, that was quite cool and I was fighting for the lead, and Silverstone because of the atmosphere. Even though I was P3, people are chanting your name, they’re waving at you and you’re the man in that moment. All of us up there, we felt like we were on top of the world.

“For my first podium to come at Silverstone, to be honest I wouldn't have it anywhere else apart from Australia. It was quite cool because it's like a second home race because I live in the UK and all my close friends and people were there.”

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Reflecting on the growth he’s made as a driver across the 2023 campaign, Mansell says that having a turning point in terms of results naturally created a snowball effect in his performances. With the waves of positive momentum behind him, his drive for more continued to push him forward, but he recognises that you can never stop putting in the effort to become the best version of yourself.

“It’s a big mental challenge F3 in itself. If you feel good, you drive good and if you feel good, you train good. Everything’s mental, so when I started to get more comfortable, the results started to come. Then you’re thinking ‘okay we’re P10 in that race and I want to try to go higher’, so you’re more upbeat.

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“If you’re finishing P30 every week, it’s mentally so draining, and it would be so hard to bounce back from that. I commend the people that go out and try, don’t get the results they want to achieve, but they keep trying and then one day they will succeed. I don’t know a world that anyone lives in that if you don’t try hard enough, you won’t succeed. I think there’s an opportunity everywhere.”

He concluded: “Maturing as a person, it’s as simple as I can put it. I’ve got some awesome people around me and I grew up, so it helped. The key thing I learnt is everyone is working as hard as you, so you need to work harder.”