Vivien Keszthelyi began her career in Formula 3 this weekend, and contributed to the international recognition of Hungarian motorsport by successfully finishing all 3 races of the first event as the only female member among the competitors. The leaders of BlackArts Racing have high hopes for the development of the young driver, while the pilot says that she is in the beginning of a long learning process.
Keszthelyi arrived to Thailand as a three-time touring car champion, who did not have any formula racing experience. She only had 2 days to test and to get to know to the new car before the first race of the FIA certified F3 Asian Championship Winter Series.
After the two test days, the event started on Friday with the free practice, two qualifying sessions and the first race in the dense calendar, followed by two races on Saturday. Despite the short time, Vivien finished her first Formula 3 race in the 8th, the second in the 11th, and the third in the 9th place, not only taking the first step in the formula category, but also earning her first points in the championship.
“We were continuously working on the car with the team, as we were trying to find the settings that would suit me the best during the qualifying sessions and the races as well. I am extremely happy that I completed all three races, and the 6 collected points were the icing on the cake. I am still getting to know the car and the tires. There is a lot of new information that I have to learn and I need more experience with the car, as this category is completely new to me. I am in the beginning of a long process, but I am working hard to gain the necessary experiences” – said Vivien after the third race of the weekend.
Of course there is pressure on her, as she is the first ever female driver in the Asian F3 Championship, but the 18-year-old driver has her focus set solely on her development. To highlight the improvements, Keszthelyi’s coach, Davide Rizzo talked about the new pilot of BlackArts Racing:
“We spent just few days in Buriram for the first time and we worked very well along. She’s learning more and more how to improve her skills and confidence with a new paragraph in her racing career which is totally different from her previous experiences. We have been through the first step into the formula cars to trust the downforce and she is getting more and more efficient on it. I have been very surprised by her capability to listen to our suggestions and put them directly on the track on the next session. More than everything, I appreciate her determination and effort to perform well for all the three races duration! We still have to work to make her faster and faster, but her professionalism and attitude will help her succeed.”
Keszthelyi is getting closer and closer towards her goal, and her performance in the first event is encouraging for the future. BlackArts Racing’s team principal, Bill O’Brien talked about what they expect from the young driver for the next 6 races:
“Vivien is a fast learner and an intelligent, tough, and confident young lady. She fought hard this weekend, and exceeded our targets for her first ever event in Formula cars. Asian Winter Series has attracted some of the top F3 drivers in the world. She has fought hard to hold her own against this level of competition. We expect even greater improvements in the next two rounds.”
She has gained her first Formula 3 experience, but there is still a long way to go for Vivien Keszthelyi, if she wants to reach her biggest goal in 2019: to qualify for the European W Series. As the next step of her development process, she will compete in 3 more races of the F3 Asian Championship Winter Series next week in Sepang, Malaysia.