Monaco with more run-off. The 4.381km Hungaroring is tight and twisty; there isn’t a straight worthy of the name and the average speed is just 190kph. The race is usually held in scorching heat, making it an endurance test for the drivers, despite the relatively small g-forces.
The track is used infrequently during the year, so grip levels are normally very poor at the start of the weekend. The situation improves as rubber goes down, but car set-up can usually only begin in earnest on Saturday morning, once the track has become representative.
The Hungaroring is located just 19km from the capital city of Budapest, so the race is always well attended. When Nelson Piquet won the inaugural Hungarian Grand Prix in 1986 for Williams F1, a crowd of more than 200,000 watched his performance.
Sam Michael, Technical Director: Budapest is a high downforce circuit, with lots of slow speed corners. It has quite a bumpy track surface compared to normal. Usually there is a reasonable improvement in grip as the weekend progresses due to the dusty nature of the circuit. We will have new bodywork to test on the Friday, and we will also run KERS on both cars.
Rubens Barrichello: Hungary is the type of track that is quite difficult to overtake on, but with DRS it should be a little bit easier. It is a race I have won in the past so I am looking forward to racing there again. Just like Monaco, it is a slow speed track which can throw up a few surprises, so I hope we can get a better result. I stay in my motorhome so I’m about 20km away from the city but I know the place quite well and my kids will be coming so I’m looking forward to them also getting to know Hungary.
Pastor Maldonado: I really like the Hungaroring and I won the main race last year in GP2. The track is really slow speed so we might need to change our set-up quite a lot to adapt to that kind of circuit. There isn’t a single corner I like more than any other, I just like the track as a whole. I think it will be a hard weekend but I hope we can improve the car.
From Cosworth’s perspective: The Hungaroring is one of the least aggressive circuits of the season in terms of engine power requirements. Engines are on full throttle for around 55% of the 4.381km lap, the second lowest of the season after Monaco, meaning that outright engine power is not a critical element of the overall car package.
Drivers do, however, need good traction and torque when exiting low speed corners, so engine performance does play its part in securing a competitive laptime. Of particular importance is a good exit from turn 14 to enable a good run down the main straight and into turn 1, which is the only real overtaking opportunity.
From Pirelli’s perspective: We’ll see the PZero Yellow soft tyre as the prime choice and the PZero Red supersoft as the option in Hungary. This is the same line-up that we used for the two street circuits this year: Monaco and Canada. While the Hungaroring is a permanent venue, it shares many of the basic characteristics of Monaco: plenty of tight corners, a few bumps, low average speed and a high-downforce set-up. This allows us to look for ultimate performance with the supersoft tyre, but the frequent high temperatures in Hungary at this time of year mean that the extra durability offered by the soft tyre is likely to be a key element during the race.