Wednesday, July 24, 2013


A major coup by Bernie Ecclestone, the 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix was the first Formula One race to take place behind the Iron Curtain. Held at the twisty Hungaroring in Mogyoród near Budapest, the race has been a mainstay of the racing calendar. Run in the heat of a central European summer, it also held the distinction of being the only current Grand Prix venue that had never seen a wet race up until the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. The first Grand Prix saw 200,000 people attending, although tickets were expensive at the time. Today, the support is still very enthusiastic, particularly from Finns.

Due to the nature of the track, narrow, twisty and often dusty because of under-use, the Hungarian Grand Prix is associated with processional races, with sometimes many cars following one another, unable to pass. Thierry Boutsen demonstrated this perfectly in 1990, keeping his slower Williams car in front of champion-elect Ayrton Senna, unable to find a way by. The secret to a winning performance at Hungaroring, as well as qualifying well, is pit strategy, best demonstrated in 1998, where Michael Schumacher's Ferrari team changed his strategy mid-race before Schumacher put in one of his finest drives to build up a winning margin after all the stops had been made. Passing is a rarity here, although the 1989 race saw a famously bullish performance from Nigel Mansell in the Ferrari, who started from 12th on the grid and passed car after car, finally taking the lead in splendid opportunist style when Ayrton Senna was baulked by a slower runner. The circuit was modified slightly in 2003 in an attempt to allow more passing.

The Hungaroring is a motor-racing circuit in Mogyoród, near Budapest, Hungary where the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix is held. Bernie Ecclestone wanted a race in the USSR, but a Hungarian friend of his recommended Budapest. They wanted a street circuit similar to the Circuit de Monaco to be built in the Népliget – Budapest's largest park – but the government decided to build a new circuit just outside the city near a major highway. Construction works started on October 1, 1985. It was built in eight months, less time than any other Formula One circuit. The first race was held on March 24, 1986 in memory of János Drapál, the first Hungarian who won motorcycle Grand Prix races. According to a survey put together by the national tourism office of Hungary, Mogyoród ranks third in Hungarian venues visited by tourists, following the Danube Bend-area and Lake Balaton, but before Budapest.

The start is always crucial at the Hungaroring, as the slow second and third corners tend to open the field out. The run down to Turn 1 is quite long; from pole position to the braking point before Turn 1 is 400m. KERS will be important at the start, but in the race it will be less effective; there is not a lot of high energy braking time so it’s hard to get the KERS fully charged during a lap of the race.


Track length : 4.381km kilometres
Race distance : 70 laps (306.630 kilometres)
Corners : 14 corners in total
Average speed : 196km/h (lowest of any permanent track on F1 calendar)
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed : 301km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 291km/h without
Full throttle : 55% of the lap (low)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 150 kilos (average/high)
Fuel consumption : 2.11kg per lap (average)
Time spent braking : 14% of lap
Number of brake zones : 11
Brake wear : High
Total time needed for pit stop : 16 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.35 seconds (high)
Lap record : 1:19.071 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2004, 2004)


With a heatwave in Europe, it could be one of the hottest Grands Prix on record. The forecast is for temperatures around 38-40 degrees, but there are often thunderstorms in the air, which could bring rain, as in 2011.


Pirelli tyre choice for Budapest: Soft (yellow markings) and Medium (white markings). This is the same as last year, but this year the compounds are softer so the pace should be faster.


Safety cars are rare at the Hungaroring. In fact the chances of a safety car are only 10% and there have been only two in the last seven years.


Formula 1 drivers will have an extra DRS overtaking opportunity in Hungary this weekend with the FIA electing to try out a double zone. The activation zone starts 70 metres after the apex of turn 14, which is the final corner on the circuit, therefore activation will be along the main start/finish straight, ending at the braking zone for turn one. The detection zone is just prior to turn 14.

It has been a long 3 week wait for a race. And the next race after this will be almost 4 weeks away. So hopefully the weather is nice and clear so we can have a good race and able to see some performance upgrades from the teams put to the test.

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