Tveter Achieves Best Results to Date in FIA F3, Coming from 17th to Seventh at Paul Ricard
LE CASTELLET, France, April 4 — Thanks to some incredible heads-up driving, America's Ryan Tveter posted his best finish to date in the tough FIA Formula 3 series when he came from 17th to finish seventh Saturday afternoon in Race 2 of the season-opening tripleheader at Paul Ricard.
Tveter displayed a fine combination of simultaneous offense and defense at the start. By the end of a tumultuous first lap he had bettered his starting position by an incredible 11 positions.
Five drivers (Ben Barnicoat, Lance Stroll, Joel Eriksson, Max Gunther and Harrison Newey) were all out due to contact in the first turn. In addition, another driver who started in the top five, Ralf Aron, dropped far back in the field trying to miss getting involved in the big crash. Tveter had his hands full trying to avoid the mess too, but he not only wasn't involved in the accident, but he passed Sergio Setta Camara, Nikita Mazepin, Alessio Lorandi, Raoul Hyman and Niko Kari in the process to take sixth position before the first full-course caution of the season waved.
Tveter had a great restart on lap three. He put Anthoine Hubert under a great deal of pressure but couldn’t find a way past him, so he retained sixth and fell into a comfortable pace behind Hubert while pulling ahead of Sette Camara.
Lorandi passed Sette Camara for seventh working lap seven with about 19 minutes gone, and Tveter spent the bulk of the rest of the event trying to catch Hubert while holding off Lorandi. It was during this time that he set his fastest lap of the race with a 1:22.651, but then another challenge reared its head when it began to rain.
The best battle on the track around lap 16 was the one between Tveter and Lorandi, who both drive for Carlin. Their cars were very evenly matched, but Tveter held the Italian off despite every move he attempted and the slippery conditions, as the whole field was on slicks.
The event's second full-course caution flew with 19 laps down after Aron lost a wheel. That set up a one-lap dash to the finish that was almost as wild as the start. Tveter passed Hubert, but Lorandi and Sette Camara both got around him during the tussle, which saw Tveter take the checkered flag in seventh place and under a blanket with Lorandi and Hubert in the exciting conclusion.
This weekend marked the series' first visit to Paul Ricard, and the lack of previous data and changing weather conditions were challenging. Tveter set the second-fastest lap of the first practice session on Friday morning with a 1:26.672 for the 3.841-kilometer road course. That was only 0.147 of a second off the top time posted during the session. But the team's qualifying results and its results in the first race were disappointing after such a good showing in practice. The team never stopped working hard, however, and their adjustments between Race 1 and Race 2 paid off.
The beginning and the end of the first race on Saturday morning were the highlights of Tveter's experience in the first of the three races, all of which were timed races of 33 minutes plus one lap.
He got off to an amazing start in that one too, blasting from 17th on the grid to 12th before the end of lap one. He got one spot when Sette Camara had a problem right away, but Tveter weaved his way through traffic masterfully and passed Guanyu Zhou, Hyman, Hubert and Mikkel Jensen. That put him just two positions away from a points-paying finish.
It was not to be in this race, however, because Callum Ilott passed him working lap four, Zhou got him back on lap five, and Jensen wiggled ahead on lap six to put Tveter in 15th place.
With no full-course cautions the field got spread out at that point, and Tveter stayed in 15th the rest of the way. But he never stopped trying, and he set his fastest lap of the race on the very last lap with a time of 1:23.493.
Tveter started 17th in the finale on Sunday morning too. Once again he had an amazing start, passing Kari, Hyman, Barnicoat, Sette Camara and Ilott on the first lap to charge into 12th place. A couple of drivers got him back in the early going to push him back to 15th, however. Around the halfway point he got 14th place when both he and his teammate, Hyman, passed the winner of Race 2, Ilott, on lap 10. Tveter did 10 more laps but he was forced to pit five laps from the finish due to mechanical difficulties with his car's steering unit. His best lap in that race came early with a 1:22.668.
Tveter, 21, is from Oyster Bay, N.Y. and he is the only American competing in the series, which attracted drivers from 16 countries and six continents this season. His primary marketing partners are Skratch Labs, Pacha Macau, Hintsa, Stilo, Freem, and the social media app With.