Thoughts from Barnard, Mansell and Bedrin
FIA Formula 3: Taylor Barnard, your first win in FIA Formula 3, that must feel quite amazing?
Taylor Barnard: I started P10 and there was a bit of a mismatch in tyres and I was the first one the opted to go for wets and for sure it ended up being the right choice but it was not an easy race – I had to defend more or less from half way to the end from Christian, but we had a good fair fight so I’m really happy to come out with my first win.
FIA Formula 3: You were the first car on the grid on wets, seeing the cars on front of you sticking with slicks were you confident when the lights went out?
Barnard: I was definitely confident when the lights went out for the first five laps – if we had a similar race to yesterday, we would have had a lot under the safety car, so I think it would have been the right choice. Ended up not being as much Safety Car as we expected, for sure seeing all these more experienced guys in front of me and I’m a rookie, choosing to go for the opposite tyre, it made me second guess myself but yeah in the end, it ended up being the right choice, and I’m happy for myself and the team.
FIA Formula 3: At the start you were second behind Paul Aron, and he was leading quite comfortably, were you surprised that he pitted for slicks? Did that put any question marks in your mind?
Barnard: I didn’t expect him to pit, especially under the Safety Car, for sure slicks were probably the best tyre but it took too long for the track to dry. When I see someone like him pitting it makes me second guess.
FIA Formula 3: It’s your second podium this weekend, what made your weekend here in Spa-Francorchamps so special?
Barnard: It’s been my first podium in F3 yesterday and my first win today and I finished first and second. It’s a crazy feeling and for my whole championship to go upside-down in one weekend is something special – especially here in Spa.
FIA Formula 3: It’s a 1-3 for Jenzer Motorsport as well, it feels like there is a new dynamic in the team?
Barnard: As a team, we were one, three, four – I think it’s down to tyre choice but I’m sure they made the right call, and we definitely did a good job with the strategy today. So good job to them and a good race. We are going to take a break over the summer break, but we are going to come back for more wins for sure.
FIA Formula 3: Christian Mansell, P2 from P22 on the starting grid. Today’s come down to choosing the right tyre strategy on the grid, but also about keeping it clean until the flag?
Christian Mansell: To be honest we opted for the alternate strategy because when you start that far back… well I thought I had nothing to lose for a little bit, but I saw a lot of people sort of opted for slicks, some opted for wet but I was going to go for the wet one because I knew it would be faster in the beginning, and I tried to see where we were at in the latter stage of the race. Safety Car benefitted massively. I think it was the right call. I think I knew what I was going to do straight away. But when I saw people in front of me on slicks I knew they were vulnerable – and yeah it was a very big confidence boost – because I knew I was faster.
FIA Formula 3: You were mentioning the opening lap, can you take us through that first lap?
Mansell: My god the first lap was eventful – every single corner it felt like I had someone in front of me trying to go past them but to be honest it was so crazy so if you asked me to remember which overtakes, I did – I genuinely don’t know. I made up that many positions on Lap 1, I don’t know. Look I’m very happy to be sitting here, we definitely made the right call. It was a very combined decision. We both agreed on it and yeah – so so happy.
FIA Formula 3: All in all a good redemption from a difficult weekend so far, looking ahead there is only Monza left, what are your hopes for the final round?
Mansell: My hopes for Monza are pole, pole, win, win. No I think in all seriousness just try and maximise the weekend. It’s the last one and important to go out on a high. It’s always good going into next year – you always perform better on momentum, as if I’m honest momentum is key. I think for Taylor when he goes into Monza, he is going to have an extra bit of confidence. When I go I’m going to have more confidence, we are all built up on momentum, that’s how this sport works. If you have a smile it’s worth four tenths, easily.
FIA Formula 3: Nikita Bedrin, P3 in today’s Feature Race at Spa-Francorchamps from 18th on the grid. A massive achievement, how was the race?
Nikita Bedrin: I mean the first lap was really cold because it just felt like people around me cooled down but they actually had no grip, but they were on slicks, so it was really fun passing them. That was probably the most fun part of the race, as I went to P3 or P4 on the first lap, that was quite cool. Then I was struggling with the grip the whole race so I couldn’t really keep up. I then had to try and pass and just follow him behind – but I couldn’t do that either so I just had to survive knowing that we had an advantage and then on last three laps told me they were the same time and they were only 15 seconds behind so I kind of started stressing a bit so I had to go for qualifying laps. I was trying my best but they were quite far behind, so I am really happy to finish P3.
FIA Formula 3: What does that result mean to you at this point in the season?
Bedrin: I’m really happy because we made the correct tyre choice as, as Christian said it makes me really happy and gives me an extra boost to go to Monza and it’s the second week in a row where I get a podium – so I’m quite happy with that. For sure in Monza, we can do some good results.
FIA Formula 3: How difficult has the season been for you to improve up to this point today?
Bedrin: I mean it’s been really difficult as we have been struggling for most part of the season. I think we have got better but we are not amazing in the races but for sure in most of the qualifying we can be there especially if its dry so I think we have done some progress that’s for sure. I think we can get a good result for sure as we have been getting it for past few weeks.