F3 driver given exemption to carry phone in car on medical grounds

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has strict regulations governing what teams are permitted to have on or in their cars during sessions – and junior formulae are no different.

But ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the FIA Formula 3 championship the stewards have granted one driver an unusual exemption on medical grounds. The driver, Christian Mansell of Campos, has been allowed to carry a mobile phone in his car.

Mansell – no relation to 1992 Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell – has type one diabetes. As a result, he and his trainer have to keep a close eye on his blood sugar concentration which is at risk of falling to dangerous levels if not regularly monitored.

In order to reduce the risk of that happening while Mansell is in the car, the team has requested special permission to have a mobile phone installed to transmit his blood sugar data to his trainer in the paddock in real time.

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Only devices homologated by the FIA for use in the series are allowed to be used on Formula 3 cars. Mobile phones are one of many devices that are not permitted. However, even though the risk of Mansell’s blood sugar levels falling into a dangerous zone are low, the stewards have granted Mansell and Campos an exemption to allow Mansell’s driver coach to monitor his blood sugar levels and intervene if any safety risk develops.

Other drivers with diabetes have competed in the top levels of motorsport. IndyCar driver Conor Daly has the same condition, as does his former rival Charlie Kimball.

While the FIA medical delegate recognised that Mansell is “medically fit to compete notwithstanding his diabetes condition,” the stewards agreed that it would be reasonable and safe to “allow the monitoring system he is familiar with to be used during competition in the manner suggested.” Campos will be held responsible for the proper use of the phone under the terms of the exemption and risk severe penalties if the device is used to transmit any data other than that they have been granted an exemption for.

Mansell’s exemption will only be applied for this weekend’s racing in Bahrain. Campos is expected to propose a “acceptable solution” to monitoring Mansell’s blood sugar levels in time for the next round of the series in Australia at the beginning of April.

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2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    5 comments on “F3 driver given exemption to carry phone in car on medical grounds”

    1. The FIA do take a lot of criticism for just about everything. But it seems common sense may have prevailed here. It should be easy enough to fix it inside the cockpit without coming loose, and Campos would be silly to use it for anything else (though I can’t really think what it would be able to do that other transponders on the car don’t already).

      What did they do last season? And what are they planning to change for Australia? I really don’t see any problem with him having a secured phone in there.

      1. Be interesting to hear sat nav instructions through is it 6-7-8 “turn left in . turn ri. turn l … forget it”

        1. *in the stewards’ meeting after the race, which Mansell won by 2 laps*

          “Mr Mansell, can you please explain why you cut the inside of turn 1 every lap?”
          “The satnav told me to take the access road”

    2. Good idea. If you have diabetes and are very concentrated it’s not uncommon to miss hypoglycemia which can be dangerous (not in itself in this case but due to driving a high speed vehicle). I hope they get a deal with the manufacturer of his CGM to read and transmit the data directly. The older one’s can be read out by a skilled engineer but they clamped down on that with newer models unfortunately but most common ones in use can be read and thus transmitted over the normal data channels. Since it’s usually just simple bluetooth they should be able to make a FIA approved reader or something and there is plenty of data on github to get this going.

    3. Who the FIA actually made a good decision. Glad to see it. They should just let him keep it moving forward.

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