The Big Preview: Hungarian Grand Prix

Hungarian Grand Prix grid girls

Hungarian Grand Prix grid girls

Budapest welcomes Formula 1 this week as the teams assemble at the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix – the 12th round of the 2014 F1 World Championship. For many in the F1 paddock it has been a hectic few days. Back-to-back with the German Grand Prix, Hungary represents a huge logistics effort for teams, pushed to their limits to transfer cars, garage equipment and motorhomes the 800 km between the two circuits.

The twisting Hungaroring is similar in characteristic to a street circuit – lacking the walls but retaining the tight radius corners, bumpy surface and low grip. It has something of a mixed reputation among drivers; common consensus claims it to be a wonderful track for a Qualifying lap but a difficult place to race, given the paucity of overtaking opportunities. In close battles, good strategy has frequently been the decisive factor, more so than at other permanent circuits.

Hungaroring aerial view

Hungaroring aerial view

Pirelli are bringing the Medium and Soft compounds this weekend. Weather forecasts suggest that high track temperatures will again be a factor – albeit with the risk of storms increasing as the weekend progresses. Teams run their maximum downforce packages in Hungary to cope with the many slow corners. The issue that will occupy the minds of engineers during the practice sessions is the need to maximise traction to get the best return from the many low-gear acceleration points.

In the compelling battle for the Drivers’ World Championship title, the pendulum swung back in favour of Nico Rosberg at Hockenheim with the German driver extending his lead to 14 points with an authoritative victory. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton will not be too despondent, however. Battling back from a Qualifying-session brake failure that left him starting near the back of the field, he limited his losses with a charge to third place. With four pole positions and four victories at the Hungaroring he will be confident of reducing the deficit this weekend.

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix podium

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix podium

Hungaroring Circuit Data

  • Length of lap 4.381 km
  • Lap record 1:19.071 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004)
  • Start line/finish line offset 400 m
  • Total number of race laps 70
  • Total race distance 306.630 km
  • Pitlane speed limits 80 km/h in Practice, Qualifying and the Race

Circuit Notes

  • The guardrail to the left of the run-off area at Turn Three has been re-aligned to better protect the recovery vehicle and to allow space for a car that has been recovered.
  • Speed bumps 50 mm high have been installed two metres from the track edge in the run-off area at Turns Six/Seven.
  • New debris fencing has been installed close to the guardrail on the left between Turns 11 and 12 and around the outside of Turn 14.
  • There will be two DRS zones sharing a detection point 5 m before Turn 14. Activation points are 130 m after the apex of Turn 14 and 6 m after the apex of Turn One.
Michael Schumacher has won the Hungarian Grand Prix four times

Michael Schumacher has won the Hungarian Grand Prix four times

Hungarian Grand Prix Fast Facts

  • The Hungarian Grand Prix made its Formula One World Championship debut in 1986 at the newly-constructed Hungaroring. It has been held at this venue every year since. Monza and Monte Carlo are the only circuits with a longer run of consecutive races.
  • The race has been held 28 times. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are the most successful drivers in the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix with four wins each. McLaren are the most successful team with 11 victories at this circuit, including six of the last nine Hungarian Grands Prix.
  • In the battle for dominance between engine suppliers, Mercedes lead the way with nine victories. Renault have seven, Honda six, Ferrari five and Ford (Cosworth) one. Honda and Ferrari, however, share the distinction of having a victory in each decade of the race’s operation.
  • In the last 10 outings, the Hungarian Grand Prix has provided debut victories for Fernando Alonso (2003), Jenson Button (2006) and Heikki Kovalainen (2008).
  • Sebastian Vettel has a blind spot when it comes to the Hungarian Grand Prix, never having won it. Prior to 2014, during his first five seasons as a Red Bull Racing driver, he took at least one victory in every other country to host a grand prix.
  • The 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix holds the distinction of being the race with the most pit stops. 88 in total.
  • Both Nigel Mansell in 1992 and Michael Schumacher in 2001 won the Drivers’ World Championship at the Hungarian Grand Prix. In Mansell’s case it was the 11th race of a 16-race season, for Schumacher it was the 13th of 17. Schumacher holds the record for the earliest conclusion to the Championship, taking the title in 2002 at the French Grand Prix with six races remaining.
  • Williams secured the 1996 Constructors’ World Championship in Hungary with a one-two formation finish – Jacques Villeneuve leading Damon Hill over the line. Ferrari repeated both the one-two finish and securing the Championship in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
  • The 1992 grand prix was memorable for more than Mansell claiming the Drivers’ crown. It was the last F1 grand prix to feature pre-qualifying and also the final race for the Brabham. Damon Hill qualified 25th and finished 11th (last).
  • Hamilton made a small piece of history at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix by becoming the first driver to win a grand prix in a hybrid car. The McLaren MP4/24 powered by a KERS-equipped Mercedes FO 108W engine would win again in Singapore. Kimi Räikkönen, in Belgium, took a solitary victory for Ferrari’s KERS-equipped Ferrari F60. The rest of the season was dominated by the conventional Mercedes and Renault engines powering the Brawn BGP001 and Red Bull Racing RB5 respectively.
1986 Hungarian Grand Prix podium (L to R) second placed Ayrton Senna, winner Nelson Piquet and third placed Nigel Mansell

1986 Hungarian Grand Prix podium (L to R) second placed Ayrton Senna, winner Nelson Piquet and third placed Nigel Mansell

Reuters Statistics:

  • Mercedes have won all but one race so far this season. The exception was Canada, won by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
  • Red Bull’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel has 39 career wins, Fernando Alonso 32, Lewis Hamilton 27, Kimi Raikkonen 20 and Jenson Button 15. Championship leader Nico Rosberg has seven.
  • Hamilton is level with triple champion Jackie Stewart in the all-time list of winners. The only British driver to have won more is 1992 champion Nigel Mansell (31).
  • Ferrari have won 221 races, McLaren 182, Williams 114 and Red Bull 48. Mercedes have won 22 and one more would lift them level with now-defunct Tyrrell.
  • McLaren have not won for 29 races, a run that dates back to Brazil 2012.
  • Ferrari’s last victory was in Spain in May 2013 – the last time a team other than Mercedes or Red Bull won.
  • Mercedes and Williams are the only teams to have started a race on pole position this year.
  • Rosberg (Bahrain / Monaco / Canada / Britain / Germany) has had five poles this year to Hamilton’s four (Australia / Malaysia / China / Spain). Brazilian Felipe Massa was on pole for Williams in Austria.
  • Vettel has 45 career poles. Hamilton has 35 – more than any other British driver in the history of Formula One.
  • Ferrari’s last pole was in Germany with Alonso in 2012.
  • Mercedes have scored more points in 10 races this year (366) than in all of 2013 (360).
  • Caterham, who came into the sport in 2010, are the only team on the grid who have yet to score a point.
  • Ferrari have finished a record 77 successive races with at least one car in the points, a run that dates back to the 2010 German Grand Prix.
  • Only two drivers have scored points in every race this season – Alonso and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
  • Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat is Formula One’s youngest point scorer aged 19 years and 324 days.
  • Sauber have gone 10 races without scoring, their longest barren run since they entered the sport in 1993. They went nine in a row between October 1995 and May 1996, at a time when only the top six cars scored points.
  • Ferrari’s Raikkonen is the only driver who has yet to beat his team mate this season.
  • Hungary’s debut in 1986 made it the first F1 race in eastern Europe behind what was then the ‘Iron Curtain’. This weekend’s race is the 29th Hungarian GP.
  • The track is the slowest permanent circuit on the calendar.
  • Vettel has never won in Hungary.
  • McLaren have won six of the last nine races there.
  • Hamilton has won four times in Hungary (a record he shares with Schumacher) and is chasing his third in a row. Three of his wins were from pole. He is the only driver to win from pole in the last nine years at the Hungaroring.
  • Button (2006) and Alonso (2003) took their first wins in Hungary. Button’s was from 14th on the grid, which remains the lowest winning start position for the race. The Briton’s 2011 win was also his 200th race.
  • Zsolt Baumgartner is the only Hungarian driver to have competed in his home race (in 2003 and 2004). He scored a point in the 2004 U.S. Grand Prix with Minardi.
  • Rosberg’s win in Germany was the first by a German driver in a German car in Germany since Rudolf Caracciola in 1939.
  • Bottas’s second place in Germany was his Williams team’s 300 th in Formula One. He was the first Williams driver to stand on the podium in three successive races since Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003.
  • After Germany, Adrian Sutil is now the driver who has started most races (119) without ever standing on the podium. The previous record holder was Italian Pierluigi Martini.
Last year Lewis Hamilton dominated in Hungary

Last year Lewis Hamilton dominated in Hungary

Hungarian Grand Prix Race Stewards:

  • Paul Gutjahr started racing in the late 1960s with Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Lotus and Porsche, then March in Formula 3. In the early ‘70s he became President of the Automobile Club Berne and organised numerous events. He acted as President of the organising committee of the Swiss GP at Dijon between 1980-82. Between 1980-2005 he acted as President of the Commission Sportive Nationale de l’Automobile Club de Suisse and in 2005 he became President and board member of the Auto Sport Suisse motor sports club. Gutjahr is President of the Alliance of European Hill Climb Organisers and has been steward at various high-level international competitions. He was the Formula 3000 Sporting Commissioner and has been a Formula One steward since 1995.
  • José Abed, an FIA Vice President since 2006, began competing in motor sport in 1961. In 1985, as a motor sport official, Abed founded the Mexican Organisation of International Motor Sport (OMDAI) which represents Mexico in the FIA. He sat as its Vice-President from 1985 to 1999, becoming President in 2003. In 1986, Abed began promoting truck racing events in Mexico and from 1986 to 1992, he was President of Mexican Grand Prix organising committee. In 1990 and 1991, he was President of the organising committee for the International Championship of Prototype Cars and from 1990 to 1995, Abed was designated Steward for various international grand prix events. Since 1990, Abed has been involved in manufacturing prototype chassis, electric cars, rally cars and kart chassis.
  • During a motor sport career spanning almost 40 years, Emanuele Pirro has achieved a huge amount of success, most notably in sportscar racing, with five Le Mans wins, victory at the Daytona 24 Hours and two wins at the Sebring 12 Hours. In addition, the Italian driver has won the German and Italian Touring Car championships (the latter twice) and has twice been American Le Mans Series Champion. Pirro, enjoyed a three-season F1 career from 1989 to 1991, firstly with Benetton and then for Scuderia Italia. His debut as an FIA Steward came at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and he has returned regularly since.

Press Conference Schedule:

Thursday, July 24 1500 hrs
Marcus Ericsson (Caterham)
Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber)
Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham)
Pastor Maldonado (Lotus)
Sergio Perez (Force India)
Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
Friday, July 25 1600 hrs
Eric Boullier (McLaren)
Christian Horner (Red Bull)
Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber)
Vijay Mallya (Force India)
Marco Mattiacci (Ferrari)
Claire Williams (Williams)
Saturday, July 26 Post Qualifying * Three fastest Drivers from Qualifying
Sunday, July 27 Post Race * First three finishing Drivers