Martin Molnár’s Formula 4 career began at Donington Park on a weekend shortened by rain. The pace of the Hungarian Virtuosi Racing driver was good in every session and race, but a mistake by one of his rivals prevented him from finishing the weekend on a high.

Displaying consistent speed and outperforming his teammates, Martin Molnár completed his debut race weekend in the British Formula 4 championship at Donington Park. Throughout the opening weekend, he proved to be the fastest driver for Virtuosi Racing during qualifying and the first race. Unfortunately, in the second and final race of the weekend, he was pushed off track at the end of the second lap, though until that point, he was the leading Virtuosi car.

At just 15 years old, this marked Molnár’s first competitive outing as a racing driver, encountering new challenges from race procedures to wheel-to-wheel battles. Additionally, coping with the typical English weather added complexity, as varying track conditions tested both him and his competitors.

Originally scheduled for three races, the Formula 4 grid had to settle for two 20-minute races due to heavy rain affecting the second race. Martin finished qualifying in 14th position, which meant 14th grid slot for both races. His fastest lap was only 0.431 seconds behind the leading driver’s, which was an unexpected start given the entire field was within 1.155 seconds. He achieved the 3rd fastest time among the rookies, trailing the top rookie by just 0,007 seconds. His 1-2 tenths of a second advantage over his teammates seen during testing increased to 4-5 tenths in the qualifying, which meant he finished several places ahead of them. In his only finished race he saw the chequered flag in 15th position, securing him 4th place in the rookie standings.

“In summary, my first race went well, with everyone satisfied except myself. I felt it didn’t go exactly as planned on my end, but it was thrilling with numerous overtakes. The rain persisted throughout, making it challenging for everyone, but it added to the excitement. As the halfway mark approached, conditions worsened, making it tricky to predict grip levels in each corner. However, I enjoyed the challenge,” evaluated the Hungarian Motorsport Academy driver.

“This was my first time battling wheel-to-wheel in a formula car, significantly different from karting where contact is allowed. Karting provided a solid foundation, but racing in a car is a whole new experience. This was also my first start, which was not going entirely as hoped, but adjustments were made for the next race where I gained a position after the start.”

Furthermore, improvements were made to Martin’s tire-warming technique for the second race, allowing him to start the first lap with warmer tires, aiding his performance. After climbing up to 13th place, he engaged in intense battles, exchanging positions multiple times with competitors. However, a collision with Leo Robinson in the final corner of the second lap sent the Hungarian driver into the gravel trap. Robinson received a 3-place grid penalty for the next race and three penalty points.

“Sunday was a long day, but unfortunately, my race was short-lived. I tried to leave space, but my opponent made contact, sending me into the gravel trap, from which I couldn’t recover. Even while in the car, I felt I did everything to avoid the collision and was in a favorable position. This was confirmed by the stewards’ decision.”

“It’s regrettable how things turned out, but there are plenty of positives to take into the next race weekend. Our pace was strong throughout the weekend in both wet and dry conditions. Now’ve experienced a Formula 4 weekend firsthand, which will undoubtedly aid me moving forward”; he looked ahead.

Managed by the Hungarian Motorsport Academy, a subsidiary of the Széchenyi University Group under HUMDA Hungarian Mobility Development Agency, Martin’s next race will be at Brands Hatch on May 11th and 12th, navigating the legendary Indy circuit layout. Being the shortest track of the season, it promises tight and thrilling races.

In the overall standings, Deagan Fairclough of Hitech leads after the first round, having secured one victory and one second-place finish at Donington. Martin, from fifth place in the rookie standings, awaits the continuation of the championship.