Multiple BRDC British F3 podium finisher Billy Monger has been one of the stars of the Autosport International show so far. The Brit has made appearances in the Live Action Arena and also visited the main Autosport stage to speak with Alan Hyde about his racing return in British F3 last year.
He’s been piloting his Carlin Tatuus-Cosworth machine around a challenging indoor course, while thrilling crowds with donuts, burnouts and plenty of rubber! He commented: “It’s good fun. Doing F3 you have to be very professional, very precise and neat and tidy, so coming here and doing the Live Action Arena is a nice chance to get the thing sideways and do some donuts! It’s a different experience and one that I’m really enjoying.”
While on stage, Monger discussed at length his comeback season in British F3 and the challenges he faced in his racing return, and particularly his emotions on his return to Donington where he secured his first British F3 pole positions. “Donington for me was the highlight of my year. Before the weekend it was probably the only time throughout the season that I was a bit apprehensive, not really about going to the circuit and the memories that I had tied into that, more because I was feeling a bit of pressure,” he commented.
“I knew so many people would be there supporting me and I didn’t quite know in my mind how to work around it and stay focused. It was just a weird situation, but when I got to the circuit I just completely forgot about everything else and it was probably the most focussed I’d been throughout the season, it was a really special feeling going back there and doing so well.
“[It was] my first pole position from coming back to racing and a special circuit to do it at. That for me was a relief and it almost brushed what happened under the carpet. It was sort of moving onto new things, something just clicked in my head and we went from there.”
The pair also discussed the recent BBC documentary that covered Billy’s rehabilitation: “My family and I all watched the documentary at home about a month before it came out. It was really rough and they still had to cut 10 minutes out of it. We also got a cool opportunity to hire a little cinema out and invite some of the guys from Carlin and some of the doctors and nurses and everyone else that had been on the journey with us. We got the chance to invite everyone, see them there and have a lovely time with everyone that was involved.
“That for me was a really special night because it was my chance to have a close night with everyone that has done so much for me over the past 18 months, but also to show them what’s come out of it.”
Monger admitted that he is yet to confirm plans for the new season, but is hoping to stay with Carlin in whichever series he races in: “There’s nothing for me confirmed for 2019. I’m fairly confident that I’ll be racing but I don’t know in which category yet. I’m fairly certain it will be with Carlin because it’s been a great year with them, they’ve given me a car that’s been capable of winning races. Unfortunately I didn’t get a win and that’s something that come the end of the year I looked back on and was a bit angry and gutted with but there’s always next year and hopefully bigger and better things.”
He also confirmed that he is still aiming for a Formula One future: “There’s no reason why I can’t make it to F1. In my head that’s still the end goal, and I can’t see any reasons considering I competed this year in a single seater car at high level.
“But at the end of the day the deciding factor will be whether I’m good enough or not, not whether my injuries are holding me back or not, and that’s the way I want it to be.
“When I finish racing I don’t want to have any regrets about if I’d done this differently or tried that bit harder, so I’ve just fully committed to myself to the sport now. Hopefully I can impact people along the way, which is not something I had aimed to do, but if it happens it happens and that’s a special feeling for me. I’m thriving off the positivity that’s come out of my accident and it’s been a special year for me, but there’s a long way to go yet.”
The full interview with Billy Monger on the Autosport stage can be seen from 40 minutes and 30 seconds onwards here.
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