The Hungaroring circuit is 19 km from the centre of Budapest, alongside the M3 motorway at the border of the village, Mogyoród. The track is in a natural valley, surrounded by 50 hectares of rolling hillside. With this exceptional natural advantage, almost 80 percent of the racetrack is visible from any point. This is the reason why it is called "The Shallow Plate", it is because the spectators are watching races sitting by the side of an imaginary plate.Hungary is a much maligned circuit, due to its tight low speed nature and the difficulty of overtaking, but it has produced a surprising number of exciting races.
As well as being tough on tyres, the Hungaroring is very physically demanding on the drivers. They have often compared it to Singapore (renowned as the most physically demanding track of the year) due to the high number of corners, significant ambient temperatures, and comparatively little airflow though the car.
The Hungaroring is a circuit that is quite well balanced in terms of traction, braking and lateral energy demands. All the forces acting on the car are roughly equal in their extent, meaning that a neutral set-up is needed. The teams tend to run maximum downforce to generate the most aerodynamic grip.
Track length : 4.381km kilometres.
Race distance : 70 laps (306.630 kilometres).
Corners : 14 corners in total. Average speed of 190 km/h is the lowest of any permanent track on F1 calendar.
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce.
Top speed : 305 km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 295km/h without.
Full throttle : 55% of the lap (low).
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 - M Schumacher (2004)
It's going to be hot throughout the weekend in Budapest, with temperatures between 28 and 31 degrees. F1 weather service Ubimet predicts a dry Friday and Saturday, though it says there are "big uncertainties" about Sunday's weather with risks of showers come race day.
First practice should take place in warm but cloudy conditions. However the second session, which starts at 2pm local time, is under threat from a series of showers which could turn thundery and are expected after noon. After that the conditions will settle down and the heat crank up under cloudless morning skies. Air temperatures are expected to exceed 30C on both days.
Last year’s sizzling weekend saw track temperatures hit 55C in qualifying and second practice. A significant factor this year will be how well the new track surface copes with the baking heat.
Following the flat-out straights and fast corners of Silverstone is the tight and twisty Hungaroring: two circuits that could not be any more different. The medium, soft and supersoft tyres have been nominated for Hungary: statistically the most popular combination of the year so far, which was last used in Baku. The Hungaroring has been described as being like an oversized go-kart track, and adding to the challenge of the first circuit ever to stage a grand prix behind the Iron Curtain exactly 30 years ago are weather conditions that can range from extremely hot (a common occurrence) to rain (which was the case two years ago, as well as 2011).
There's only one real straight on the Hungaroring, which means tyres are constantly working. It's a well-balanced track, with traction, braking and lateral energy demands roughly equal. High temperatures make thermal degradation a factor. The emphasis is on mechanical grip, as a low average speed means there is little downforce.
Drivers describe the Hungaroring as one of the year's most physically demanding circuits. Hungary starts another back-to-back weekend, with the teams then going straight to Germany.
The Three Nominated Compounds:
White medium: a mandatory set that must be available for the race, low working range.
Yellow soft: another mandatory set whose versatility will make it a popular race tyre.
Red supersoft: used for qualifying but it's not yet clear how much they will figure in the race.
There will be two DRS zones sharing a detection point 5m before Turn 14. The activation points are 130m after the apex of Turn 14 and 6m after the apex of Turn 1.
Safety cars are surprisingly rare at the Hungaroring. One possible explanation is that there are few gravel traps for cars to get stranded in, with tarmac preferred through most corners. The chances of a safety car are only 10% and there have been only two in the last seven years.
The Silver Arrows have won an incredible 41 Grands Prix in the two and a half seasons since the introduction of the hybrid turbo engines, but Hungary has caused them much pain in the last two years, due to reliability and other issues. This is the only venue where Mercedes hasn’t won in two attempts during the V6 hybrid power era. Despite this, Lewis Hamilton is tied with Michael Schumacher as the most successful driver in the Hungarian Grand Prix, each having won it four times.
Instead, Red Bull (2014) and Ferrari (2015) have taken at the Hungaroring victory and there is a strong chance that Red Bull will be the team to beat this weekend, based on the performance of its chassis lately and the improvements in the Renault power unit which is now within 15hp of the Mercedes.
Nico Rosberg has never stood on the podium at this track. He arrives in Hungary looking to shore up a championship lead which has rapidly shrunk from 43 points to just one. Mercedes’ power unit may not offer as great an advantage at this track as at other circuits but their raft of detailed aerodynamic updates at Silverstone and the healthy advantage they enjoyed in qualifying shows the W07 wants for little in terms of downforce.
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