2018 Hungarian GP Preview – Haas F1 Team

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2018 Hungarian GP Preview – Haas F1 Team

The Hungarian Games

Haas F1 Team Has Odds Ever in its Favor

with Run of Points-Paying Finishes

 

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 24, 2018) – Trivia question: Outside of Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, what Formula One team has scored the most points in the last five races? Answer: Haas F1 Team.

 

The American organization, in just its third year competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship, has scored 40 points in the last four races, more than any midfield team dating back to the June 10 Canadian Grand Prix – a run of five races.

 

While Haas F1 Team didn’t score any points in its visit to Montreal, it did bring significant updates to its racecars. A new front wing and floor joined a revised bargeboard area on the Haas VF-18s of drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. In lieu of points, Haas F1 Team found potential, as both Grosjean and Magnussen were buoyed by the knowledge that these updates would perform even better on power tracks, which comprised the mid-summer stretch of the French, Austrian, British and German Grands Prix.

 

Their respective intuition proved spot on. Both drivers made it to the final round of qualifying in each grand prix, and both proved quick in the races, albeit with different results. Magnussen scored the first points in France with a sixth-place finish, which was a prelude to Haas F1 Team’s best performance to date – a double-points result in Austria where Grosjean finished fourth and Magnussen came home fifth. Magnussen grabbed ninth the next week at Silverstone to pick up two more points, while Grosjean rallied from 10th to sixth in the final 10 laps in the series’ most recent race in Germany to score another eight points.

 

That last result brought more than points, however. There was worry coming into the German Grand Prix that the Hockenheimring’s array of tight corners would prove slightly troublesome for the Haas VF-18, as it is better suited for high-speed corners. But come Friday in practice, Grosjean and Magnussen found they had the same speed at Hockenheim as they had in the previous grands prix in France, Austria and England. The compact turns of the Hockenheimring, specifically in the Motordrom section, did not compromise the performance of the Haas VF-18s.

 

That was good for obvious reasons, but it also gave Haas F1 Team confidence leading into Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile), 14-turn Hungaroring is a tight circuit that many drivers liken to a full-size karting track. It is the slowest permanent venue in Formula One, a juxtaposition from the recent run of power circuits.

 

Slow, however, doesn’t mean easy. Despite an average speed of 200 kph (124 mph), which is notably slower than the average speed drivers normally experience in Formula One, the Hungaroring requires precision and preservation. It is a physical track, demanding a lot from the drivers who, in turn, demand a lot from their car throughout the 70-lap race.

 

Haas F1 Team has demanded a lot from itself, and the payoff has come in its recent run of points-paying finishes. With the Hungarian Grand Prix beckoning, Haas F1 Team remains hungry.

Hungaroring
Circuit Length: 4.381 kilometers (2.722 miles)

Laps: 70

Race Distance: 306.630 kilometers (190.531 miles) Broadcast: ESPN2 (8:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, July 29)

About Haas F1 Team

Haas F1 Team debuted in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American Formula One team since 1986. Founded by industrialist Gene Haas, Haas F1 Team is based in the United States on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina, campus as his championship-winning NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas is the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America, and he is chairman of Haas F1 Team.

 

With a run of three-straight grands prix, along with this back-to-back set of races in Germany and Hungary, how important is the upcoming summer shutdown for team personnel?

“I think this year, more than ever before, it is quite important. You’re not allowed to work, so you don’t try to do anything. The shutdown is one of the best things F1 has done because people have something to look forward to in the middle of the season. Otherwise, it’s a never-ending drill. Everyone is putting the last little effort in before the summer shutdown, and then they go for two weeks and, normally, we all come back a little refreshed. I think it’s important, and I also look forward to it.”

 

What do you do to prepare for the shutdown so that you’re ready to go for Belgium and Monza, which immediately follow the shutdown?

“We are now in our third year. We are well prepared, well organized. The guys strip the cars, get everything ready, so when they come back after shutdown, they just need to put the car together again. The engineers, they do all the post-work after the race before they go on shutdown, then they start again as soon as it’s over to prepare for Spa.”

 

What do you do for your own well-being and self-preservation during the summer shutdown?

“As little as possible. I go back to Italy, where I come from, and try to do very little as I’m not allowed to work.”

 

What are your expectations for Hungary? Does the tighter track pose more of a challenge for Haas F1 Team?

“Let’s wait and see on Friday in Hungary what we are capable of doing. I never go in beaten to a race already. We know what happened in Monte Carlo. We analyzed that one and we know where we ended up. We know the reasons, and they will not happen in this race. We might not be as good as on the high-speed tracks, but I don’t think we’ll be really bad. We knew what went wrong in the races that went wrong for us. We’ve got a lot of talented people who can analyze all that and do better. How much better we can do, I don’t know. For sure, we are not going in beaten, saying we cannot achieve anything here. Our car, and our drivers, are good enough to get good results at all the tracks. Some are better than others, but nothing will hopefully be as bad as Monte Carlo.”

 

A lot of grip, a lot of braking and a lot of high-energy demands all conspire against tires at the Hungaroring.  What do drivers need to do to manage the tires and get the most out of them?

“You need to get your brake package in the right window so you’re not putting too much energy into the tires from the brakes, and the driver just needs to always see that he gets them in the window, especially in qualifying, so when you cross the finish line for your fast lap, you have the right temperature in them.”

 

Budapest is typically very hot – how does the high temperature affect tire management?

“Tire management is so different from racetrack to racetrack. You cannot compare one with another. You always have to learn again and apply what you know to each different track. Conditions change. In Hungary, it’s known as normally being very hot, but sometimes it isn’t too bad. Silverstone was never as hot as this year, and I think we performed well. We just need to adapt to the track surface and to the temperature when we get there. This year, we are a lot better prepared than previous years.”

 

Haas F1 Team seems to have made great headway in understanding the tires and how the various compounds work. How has the team made these strides?

“It’s just having more experience, and having filled the position we didn’t have before of the tire engineer, and time. Experience comes with time, and you cannot buy time. So, some things take a little bit longer. By no means are we perfect yet, but we are a lot better than last year. We can be even better, like some teams are better than us, but for sure we are not the weakest ones in the field now on tire management and tire understanding.”

 

 

With a run of three-straight grands prix, along with this back-to-back set of races in Germany and Hungary, how important is the summer shutdown for team personnel?

“I think it’s going to be important for everyone. There have been a lot of grands prix in a little amount of time. Since Melbourne, it’s been pretty much flat out, especially in the first part of the year with the car being new and so on, there’s always a lot of work. Of course, that first triple-header was quite challenging, so I think everyone is quite happy to go on holiday, and they can come back recharged for the second half of the season.”

 

What will you do for your own well-being and self-preservation during the summer shutdown?

“I’ll have family time, do some sport, get some holiday time in, just generally enjoy being home.”

 

What are your expectations for Hungary? Does the tighter track pose more of a challenge for Haas F1 Team?

“It’s not an easy grand prix. It’s a small circuit and it’s like a rollercoaster. It’s very twisty. We’ll see what we can do there, but it’s a grand prix I love. I always love going to Budapest but, definitely, it’s a challenging one.”

 

In six career Formula One starts at the Hungaroring you’ve finished in the top-10 three times, with a best finish of third in your first race there in 2012. What makes it such a good track for you?

“It’s difficult to explain. I’ve always had a good feeling in Hungary. I’ve always liked the track. It used to be very bumpy, but they resurfaced two years ago. It’s a low-speed circuit. How the car handles is important. I’ve been lucky to have had cars that have performed well there over the years.”

 

The Hungaroring has historically been known as a slower racetrack because of its tight layout, but did that change last year because of the speeds you’re able to achieve in the corners with these faster, current-generation cars?

“I think the biggest difference was the resurfacing of the Hungaroring. It used to be very bumpy, and now it’s pretty flat, which is a bit of a shame. It’s not a high-speed circuit, but saying that, sector two is quite cool – going up the hill and coming back down to the last two corners. It’s not as slow as it used to be.”

 

Did the faster speeds change how you attacked certain portions of the Hungaroring?

“No, not really. You try to maximize every corner with whatever grip you’ve got available.”

 

You’re constantly turning the wheel at the Hungaroring and with the slower speeds, very little air flows into the car. Combined with the normally high temperatures experienced in Budapest, how physically demanding is the Hungarian Grand Prix?

“It can get very hot in Budapest. It’s not an easy race, but on the other hand, there’s not many high-speed corners on the track, so it’s more about keeping your focus and concentration all through the race. Regardless, we’re always keeping fit to prepare ourselves.”

 

How difficult is it to overtake at the Hungaroring and where are the overtaking opportunities?

“It’s very difficult to overtake at the Hungaroring. To be fair, I made one of the best overtakes of my life there in 2013, outside of turn four, on Felipe Massa. I got a drive-through penalty for that one for having four wheels off the track. That didn’t matter to me as it was one of my most beautiful overtaking moves ever.”

 

What made the move so rewarding for you, even with the penalty?

“Because it came at a corner where nobody is expecting you to overtake. It was an outside overtake on a high-speed corner. The penalty, I thought, was questionable, but I just enjoyed the move. It was a key time in the race for me to be able to try and win. I really had to push hard and I just really enjoyed that overtaking maneuver.”

 

A lot of grip, a lot of braking and a lot of high-energy demands all conspire against tires at the Hungaroring.  How do you manage the tires and get the most out of them?

“They don’t get much rest in Budapest, that’s for sure. There aren’t many high-speed corners, which doesn’t put too much energy into them, but there’s no rest either, and temperatures can be really high. It’s a good challenge on tires, and getting them to work nicely in the window.”

 

Do you have any milestones or moments from your junior career that you enjoyed at the Hungaroring?

“I’ve had some great races at the Hungaroring. I had my first pole position in GP2 there in 2008. I had some good races after that in GP2. I also qualified on the front row of the Hungarian Grand Prix back in 2012.”

 

What is your favorite part of the Hungaroring?

“I like sector two, the flowing section of the track, which is quite nice.”

 

Explain a lap around the Hungaroring, especially now after having competed there with the faster, current-generation car.

“The biggest difference now is it goes from turns four, five and onward to the middle section, where all the low-speed and medium-speed corners are, and the last corner as well. It’s much faster than it used to be, which is actually quite cool.”

 

 

With a run of three-straight grands prix, along with this back-to-back set of races in Germany and Hungary, how important is the summer shutdown for team personnel?

“I think it’ll be really good for the guys, especially the guys in the garage, to get some time off. They’re working extremely hard, certainly harder than the rest of us, especially us drivers. Seriously, it will be well appreciated from their side and, of course, we’ll enjoy some time off as well. We’ll be with friends and family back in our home countries.”

 

What are your expectations for Hungary? Does the tighter track pose more of a challenge for Haas F1 Team?

“We’ll see when we get there. Our car should be competitive. It is at most places now. Of course, there’s going to be tracks where it’s a bit less competitive for us than others, but we just need to maximize everything.”

 

The Hungaroring has historically been known as a slower racetrack because of its tight layout, but did that change last year because of the speeds you’re able to achieve in the corners with these faster, current-generation cars?

“It’s still relative to the other tracks – a slower track – but it is definitely faster with the higher-downforce cars.”

 

You’re constantly turning the wheel at the Hungaroring and with the slower speeds, very little air flows into the car. Combined with the normally high temperatures experienced in Budapest, how physically demanding is the Hungarian Grand Prix?

“It’s a pretty physical track. You’re turning all the time. You don’t get much time off on the straights, because there’s a bend, or the straight is just short. It’s a bit like a go-kart track. You don’t get a lot of time to relax on the straights.”

 

How difficult is it to overtake at the Hungaroring and where are the overtaking opportunities?

“Overtaking in Hungary is particularly difficult, so hopefully we can be strong in qualifying there.”

 

A lot of grip, a lot of braking and a lot of high-energy demands all conspire against tires at the Hungaroring.  How do you manage the tires and get the most out of them?

“You try and keep the rear tires – the tire surface temperature – in control with the throttle. You manage those temperatures as well as you can. That’s the main thing.”

 

Do you have any milestones or moments from your junior career that you enjoyed at the Hungaroring?

“I won races there in World Series by Renault. I’ve had some good races there.”

 

What is your favorite part of the Hungaroring?

“I’d say turns eight to 11. That section there is pretty cool. It’s high speed with a change of direction.”

 

Explain a lap around the Hungaroring, especially now after having competed there with the faster, current-generation car.

“It’s a little, twisty, tricky circuit.”

 

 

Hungaroring

  • Total number of race laps: 70
  • Complete race distance: 306.630 kilometers (190.531 miles)
  • Pit lane speed limit: 80 kph (50 mph)
  • This 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile), 14-turn circuit has hosted Formula One since 1986, with last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix serving as the venue’s 32nd grand prix.
  • Michael Schumacher holds the race lap record at the Hungaroring (1:19.071), set in 2004 with Scuderia Ferrari.
  • Sebastian Vettel holds the qualifying lap record at the Hungaroring (1:16.276), set last year with Scuderia Ferrari during Q3.
  • With an average speed of just 200 kph (124 mph), the Hungaroring is the slowest permanent circuit on the Formula One calendar. The track has 14 corners and few straights, which puts increased emphasis on downforce and mechanical grip. Likened to Monaco or a full-sized karting circuit, the Hungaroring offers few overtaking opportunities, meaning qualifying is of utmost importance. But if not at the front, drivers can attempt to emulate Jensen Button’s performance in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix where he drove from 14th to first. In today’s era, that kind of tenacity needs to be aided by tire strategy, for it is a key cog in a driver’s upward climb. Tire management is a crucial part of that strategy as the Hungaroring is incredibly tough on tires. Typically hot weather combined with a high amount of traction, braking and lateral energy demands work the tires and the driver hard. However, these forces are all relatively equal, meaning a neutral setup is required. An extreme level of fitness is required for the drivers, who are seemingly always turning the wheel amid high temperatures with scant amounts of air flowing through the car.
  • DYK? During construction of the Hungaroring in 1985, a spring was discovered just after turn three. Engineers were forced to add a chicane, diverting the track’s layout around the spring. The first three Hungarian Grands Prix were run on this configuration before engineers developed a culvert for the stream in 1989, allowing a direct route between turns three and four.
  • During the course of the Hungarian Grand Prix, lows will range from 20-21 degrees Celsius (68-69 degrees Fahrenheit) to highs of 30-31 degrees Celsius (86-87 degrees Fahrenheit). Relative humidity ranges from 45 percent (comfortable) to 90 percent (very humid), with a dew point varying from 11 degrees Celsius/51 degrees Fahrenheit (very comfortable) to 16 degrees Celsius/61 degrees Fahrenheit (comfortable). The dew point is rarely below 6 degrees Celsius/43 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) or above 20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit (muggy). Typical wind speeds vary from 0-24 kph/0-15 mph (calm to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 39 kph/24 mph (strong breeze).
  • Pirelli is bringing the following three tire compounds to Hungary:
    • P Zero White medium – less grip, less wear (used for long-race stints)
      • This is a versatile compound, but it sits in the harder part of the spectrum. The White medium often comes into its own on circuits that tend toward high speeds, temperatures and energy loadings. It has an ample working range and is adaptable to a wide variety of circuits.
    • P Zero Yellow soft – more grip, medium wear (used for shorter-race stints and for initial portion of qualifying)
      • This is one of the most frequently used tires in Pirelli’s range, as it strikes a balance between performance and durability, with the accent on performance. It is a very adaptable tire that can be used as the softest compound at a high-severity track as well as the hardest compound at a low-severity track or street circuit.
    • P Zero Purple ultrasoft – highest amount of grip, highest amount of wear (used for qualifying and select race situations)
  • This is the second-softest tire in Pirelli’s lineup, with rapid warming and massive performance. However, because it is so soft, it has a relatively limited lifespan.
  • The Hungarian Grand Prix marks the third time these three compounds have been packaged together, with their last pairing coming last weekend in the German Grand Prix.
  • The Yellow soft tire was used in the season’s first five races, and after a two-race hiatus, it returned to action for successive grands prix in Round No. 8 in France, Round No. 9 in Austria, Round No. 10 in England and Round No. 11 in Germany. This is only the sixth race for the White medium tire, with it previously seeing action in Round No. 2 in Bahrain, Round No. 3 in China, Round No. 5 in Spain, Round No. 10 in England and Round No. 11 in Germany. The Purple ultrasoft tire has been used everywhere except Round No. 2 in Bahrain, Round No. 5 in Spain and Round No. 10 in England.
  • Two of the three available compounds must be used during the race. Teams are able to decide when they want to run which compound, adding an element of strategy to the race. A driver can also use all three sets of Pirelli tires in the race, if they so desire. (If there are wet track conditions, the Cinturato Blue full wet tire and the Cinturato Green intermediate tire will be made available.)
  • Pirelli provides each driver 13 sets of dry tires for the race weekend. Of those 13 sets, drivers and their teams can choose the specifications of 10 of those sets from the three compounds Pirelli selected. The remaining three sets are defined by Pirelli – two mandatory tire specifications for the race (one set of White mediums and one set of Yellow softs) and one mandatory specification for Q3 (one set of Purple ultrasofts). Haas F1 Team’s drivers have selected the following amounts:
    • Grosjean: one set of White mediums, four sets of Yellow softs and eight sets of Purple ultrasofts.
    • Magnussen: two sets of White mediums, three sets of Yellow softs and eight sets of Purple ultrasofts.
2018-07-24T20:47:03+00:00July 24th, 2018|Formula One, Haas F1 Team, Hungarian Grand Prix|