Hungarian Grand PrixView

By on Thursday, July 25, 2013
Lotus F1 Team

Lotus F1 Team

After a three week break, Formula 1 returns this weekend with round 10 of the championship in Hungary. The final race before the traditional summer break will be held at the Hungaroring, a high-downforce track with several slow speed corners which require a car with good mechanical grip.

The teams will experience a new challenge in Hungary as it will be the debut race for the latest specification of Pirelli tyres based on 2012 constructions and 2013 compounds. Those tyres were tried out during the young driver test at Silverstone last week but work conducted in free practice will be hugely important for understanding how the tyres respond to the demands of the long corners and high track temperature. Pirelli’s choice for this weekend will be its Soft and Medium compounds.

There will be two DRS zones in Hungary, with one detection point at the pit entry. The first activation point will be before the start/finish line and the second one just after the first corner.

History

The Hungarian Grand Prix has featured on the Formula 1 calendar since 1986 when it became the first Grand Prix to be held behind the Iron Curtain. The idea seemed to be insanity that time but the decision was justified by years passing as the Hungaroring has been one of the best attended races on the calendar.

The inaugural event, held on August 10, was won by Nelson Piquet after a thrilling battle with his Brazilian rival Ayrton Senna. A record 200.000 spectators from across Eastern European countries attended the race.

The track

Hungaroring is located just 19 kilometres from Budapest and was built in eight month, faster than any other track on the calendar. Almost 80 percent of the track is visible from any point and because of that the circuit was nicknamed "The Shallow Plate" as the spectators seem like watching the race from on the edge of an imaginary plate.

The circuit was extended in 2003 to create a tighter first corner, boosting overtaking opportunities and also reducing the lap count from 77 to 70. The drivers then switch back at Turn 2 before a fast right hander at Turn 3. Turn 4 marks the end of the first sector as the drivers approach a blind, quick left hand kink that is easily to get wrong. The middle sector of the circuit provides limited overtaking opportunities as the drivers negotiate a sequence of fourth and fifth gear corners. The final few turns set the drivers up for the best passing place, although getting a good exit from the long, final corner is crucial for a strong lap time.

Lotus F1 Team

Lotus F1 Team

Despite being one of the slowest tracks on the calendar the drivers do not underestimate it as there are lots of opportunities to make mistakes.

“The circuit is technically challenging and leaves little room for mistakes,” says Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg. “The second sector has several combinations that all flow on from each other. If you get off the racing line there, the whole sector is ruined. You have to be spot on. Overtaking is difficult too, even with the DRS. There is one straight, but it’s not that long, which is why qualifying is particularly important.”

Overtaking is not an easy task in Hungary but pole position isn’t especially crucial here. Since 2005, the driver starting at the front has won just twice. Jenson Button and Nigel Mansell are the only drivers in the history of Hungaroring who won from beyond the first two rows of the grid.

Facts

Damon Hill, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Heikki Kovalainen all scored their first Formula One victory at Hungaroring. Hill’s 1993 victory prevented Alain Prost from winning the championship and also helped Nigel Mansell to set the record of being Formula 1 and Indy Car champion simultaneously. With that victory, Hill became the first son of a world champion to win a grand prix.

Alonso’s maiden F1 win in 2003 gave Spaniard the title of F1’s youngest winner, at 22 years and 26 days. Sebastian Vettel beat his record five years later when he won the 2008 Italian GP at 21 years and 73 days old.

Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner and Polish Robert Kubica made their debut at the Hungaroring and were also the first, and so far only, Formula 1 drivers from their country.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has won the Hungarian GP three times (2007, 2009 and 2012) and each time Kimi Raikkonen was second. The Briton’s 2009 win was the first Formula 1 victory for a car equipped with KERS.

McLaren is the most successful team in Hungary with 11 victories while Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver with four wins and seven pole positions.

Red Bull

Red Bull

Timetable: (GMT+2)

Friday 26 July

  • Practice 1: 10.00-11.30
  • Practice 2: 14.00 - 15.30

Saturday 27 July

  • Practice 3: 11.00-12.00
  • Qualifying: 14.00-15.00

Sunday 28 July

  • Race: 14.00

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