Tveter Escapes Major Injury in Horrific Accident In FIA Formula 3 Race Saturday in Austria
SPIELBERG, Austria, May 23 — Ryan Tveter, the only American competing in the international FIA Formula 3 series this year, turned 22 on Friday. In Saturday morning's F3 race at the Red Bull Ring, the Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based driver almost saw all those years pass before his eyes when he was involved in a horrific accident that garnered a great deal of attention worldwide.
It started with a simple spin, which happens all the time in racing. His black and blue Dallara #3 waltzed into a gravel trap and slowed dramatically, which is exactly what a gravel trap is meant to do to a race car.
This time, though, when Tveter's car stopped it did so right on the racing line, instead of in the gravel trap itself.
It was a dangerous place to have landed.
One driver passed him with no problem, because he'd seen him go off.
The next driver onto the scene wasn't as fortunate. Zhi Cong Li, whose teammates call him Peter, couldn't see Tveter's stopped car because the dust from the gravel trap hadn't settled back onto earth yet, and the car was in a blind spot.
Li, who is one of Tveter’s teammates and friends, was at racing speed when he slammed into the back of Tveter's car. It sent Li's car flipping high into the air in a crash that drew a lot of attention on YouTube almost as quickly as the video clip was posted.
Another driver, Pedro Piquet, hit the front of Tveter's car to give the young American another punch and contact on both ends of his car.
Miraculously Tveter crawled out of his crumpled car under his own power and walked over to a corner worker. After a ride in an ambulance to a local hospital, his only injury was determined to be a badly bruised right knee.
Li was knocked unconscious, but he was alert and talking when he was airlifted to a hospital. He suffered four broken vertebrae and several broken bones in one of his heels.
Piquet was not hurt.
The race was red-flagged due to the crash and declared complete.
Tveter had started 15th in the 22-car field at the beginning of the race 17 laps earlier. After a great start in which Tveter had already advanced three positions, Anthoine Hubert hit Tveter in Turn 2 on the first lap, sending Tveter into a spin where he was collected by Arjun Maini and Weiron Tan. Tveter was able to reverse and pit for a new nose for his car, and proceeded. Hubert was penalized for avoidable contact. Tveter restarted at the rear and had climbed his way back up to 17th when the big crash occurred.
"We're very lucky that all of us involved are OK," Tveter said. "I cannot express more gratitude to the FIA, Dallara, FIA F3, and all those involved in pushing safety forward in racing. Because of them, we're still here.
"I visited Peter in the hospital on Sunday, and I'm wishing him all the best for a speedy recovery. I can't wait to see him back in the car as soon as possible!”
The next F3 event is slated for June 24-26 on the Norisring street circuit in Nuremberg, Germany.
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.