Tveter Posts Two Solid F3 Finishes in Hungary Before Engine Trouble Strikes on Sunday
MOGYOROD, Hungary, April 24 — Ryan Tveter, the only American competing in the FIA F3 series this year, was as high as eighth and came away with two 11th-place finishes on Saturday as the FIA Formula 3 series visited the Hungaroring over the weekend. Unfortunately the 21-year-old driver from Oyster Bay, N.Y. was sidelined from Sunday's race due to an engine problem.
Tveter started 11th in Race 1 Saturday morning and he was still 11th when the checkered waved on lap 21 after 33 minutes and one lap of competition. In between those two occurrences he had a stirring race, however, as he was as high as eighth and as low as 14th.
The Hungaroring has a reputation as being a track where it's difficult to pass, but there was plenty of action in the first race. Speeds were also much higher than they've been here in the past thanks to a recent resurfacing of the 2.72-mile, 14-turn road course about 13 miles north of Budapest.
Tveter avoided a tussle at the start that resulted in a full-course caution flag on lap one to free Callum Ilott's car from a gravel trap. That put Tveter in tenth, which is the final points-paying position.
The green flew again on lap two. Tveter advanced to ninth working lap five when both he and Guanyu Zhou passed one of Tveter's teammates, Alessio Lorandi. He set his fastest lap of the race on lap six with a time of 1:36.026.
Tveter advanced to eighth shortly thereafter when he got past Sergio Sette Camara with a very good pass around the outside at Turn 5. Unfortunately he locked up his brakes at the next corner and had to cut through the chicane, so he ceded the position voluntarily.
He was still in a points-paying position when Lorandi pushed him wide and sent him back to 14th place. He regained 13th on lap 14 by passing Pedro Piquet, son of the three-time F1 champion. He got another spot on lap 15 to move back into 12th place when the point leader, Nick Cassidy, dropped from eighth to 17th.
He regained 11th on lap 17 when the early leader, George Russell, dropped back with just 2 minutes and one lap remaining in the contest. Tveter was just 0.974 behind the final points-paying position when the checkered waved on lap 21.
Later that afternoon Tveter started 12th in the middle event of the tripleheader. The most significant aspect of that race from his point of view came right at the start, as he did a great job to miss getting involved in a fracas that saw several cars go off course.
Tveter advanced to tenth at one point on the first lap but when he crossed the line at the end of lap one he was in 11th place, and he remained there the rest of the way. He was 0.469 of a second behind the tenth-place finisher, Barnicoat, at the end. He was 0.564 ahead of the 12th-place finisher, Harrison Newey. Tveter's fastest race lap was lap 21 of 22 when he did a 1:35.773. To showcase how close the field was, Barnicoat's fastest race lap was a 1:35.772, and he went on to win on Sunday.
Overnight Tveter's team discovered that his car had an engine problem. It caused him to miss Sunday's race, where he was slated to start tenth. If an engine change had been performed prior to Sunday's race he would have incurred a 10-grid-place penalty not only for that race, but also for the first two of the three races at the next event.
Although he was disappointed that he wasn't able to race on Sunday, Tveter will have a clean slate and a rebuilt engine for the tripleheader on the street circuit in Pau, France May 13-15. The series also has a tripleheader at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on May 20-22.
While the weather was dry on Saturday, Sunday's race was held in the rain.
"I really enjoy racing in the rain and I was feeling very confident given the P2 practice at Paul Ricard in the wet, plus the points starting position on today's grid," Tveter said Sunday afternoon. "We decided to forfeit today rather than lose 20 starting positions over the first two races on the Pau street circuit. It was the best decision, given the situation."
Tveter's primary marketing partners are Skratch Labs, Pacha Macau, Hintsa, Stilo, Freem, and the social media app With. His black and blue #3 is also carrying the logos of three not-for-profit organizations this year: Right To Play, MTV Staying Alive, and the Lessons for Life Foundation.
For more information see RyanTveter.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. For more information on the series, see FIAF3Europe.com. His team's Web site is at Carlin.co.uk. Videos of all the races are available on YouTube.