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    In Hungary for the halfway point of the season with a new qualifying format

    Formula 1 is all set for the final pair of back-to-back races prior to the summer break, visiting two very different tracks; the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps.

    Maranello 19 luglio 2023

    Formula 1 is all set for the final pair of back-to-back races prior to the summer break, visiting two very different tracks; the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps. The 4.381 kilometre-long Budapest track is very twisty and undulating, featuring 14 medium and slow speed corners which require a high level of aerodynamic downforce. A well balanced car with a spot-on mechanical set-up is essential to ensure the car does not slide around and give the tyres a hard time and, as usual, high ambient and track temperatures will also play their part. 

    Relentless. Several drivers compare this venue on the outskirts of Budapest with a kart track, given how narrow it is and, apart from the main straight, there is no let up from turn to turn, elements which make overtaking very difficult. Constantly tackling corners at temperatures that regularly exceed 50 degrees in the cockpit and with excessive levels of humidity, complete the picture of why the track makes life difficult for the drivers. The extreme conditions also have an impact on car reliability: as far as the aerodynamics are concerned, the bodywork must promote cooling, including to the gearbox which comes in for a particularly hard time here. Usually, the track evolves considerably over the weekend, starting off on Friday with a very dirty surface and low levels of grip. There are two DRS zones, one on the main straight and the other in the section from turn 1 to 2, these being pretty much the only overtaking opportunities on the lap. 

    Alternative qualifying. This weekend marks the debut of the ATA (alternative tyre allocation) for qualifying. Up until now, Pirelli has supplied 13 sets of slick tyre per driver: eight of the softest, three medium and two of the hardest. In Budapest, that number comes down to 11: four Soft (half the usual allocation), four Medium and three Hard. The regulations now state that a driver must only use Hard tyres in Q1, Medium in Q2 and Soft in Q3. 

    In the beginning there was Mansell. The Hungarian event first appeared on the calendar in 1986 and has been a fixture ever since, this year’s race being the 38th. On its debut here, Formula 1 became the first top level form of motor sport to take place behind the Iron Curtain. It was of great significance, as the regular reciprocal boycotting of sporting events between East and West, such as the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the games held in Los Angeles in 1984, were still very much in people’s minds. The race has always been held at the Hungaroring and Scuderia Ferrari has won seven times, the first victory dating back to 1989 when Nigel Mansell won from 12th on the grid, after pulling off a passing move that has passed into legend as he swooped past the leader Ayrton Senna, when the Brazilian hesitated for a split second as he came up to lap Stefan Johansson in the Onyx.

    Frédéric Vasseur - Team Principal

    Now we come to Budapest: for our part, we are determined to continue making progress, which began with the introduction of several technical updates on the SF-23. Even if Silverstone saw a dip in the upward trend, there were clear signs of progress in Canada and Austria and we believe that we now have a car that will allow Charles and Carlos to give of their best at the Hungaroring. They both like this track and have prepared very well for this weekend, paying particular attention to qualifying, which is always very important on this tight circuit.
    This weekend, for the first time, all the teams have to deal with the new qualifying rules relating to the use of a single tyre compound for each phase of qualifying, which adds yet another variable that needs to be looked at carefully, given how evenly matched are most of the teams. We expect to be fighting near the front on Saturday and Sunday.

    Ferrari Stats

    GP contested 1062
    Seasons in F1 74
    Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)
    Wins 242 (22.79%)
    Pole positions 243 (22.88%)
    Fastest laps 259 (24.39%)
    Podiums 800 (25.11%)

    Ferrari Stats Hungarian GP

    GP contested 37
    Debut 1986 (S. Johansson 4th; M. Alboreto rit.)
    Wins 7 (18.92%)
    Pole positions 8 (21.62%)
    Fastest laps 9 (24.32%)
    Podiums 26 (23.42%)

    Three questions to...


    1. For this race there are some regulation changes, mainly related to tyres and qualifying. Can you take us through these?
    With the aim of a more efficient use of tyres and the possibility of using fewer sets over the course of the weekend, the teams will have more flexibility in using sets in free practice sessions whilst respecting a more prescriptive use in qualifying. Teams will be able to carry over used sets from one practice session to the next, returning only one from each session. In qualifying, each driver will have available to him, only two sets of Hard in Q1, two sets of Medium in Q2, and two sets of Soft in Q3. The regulations regarding tyre choices for the race are unchanged. 

    2. How will these changes affect a driver’s preparation for qualifying?
    The modern Formula 1 format of imposed parc ferme from qualifying onwards has meant drivers and their teams are constantly looking for a ‘best compromise’ set-up suited to both the low fuel qualifying sessions as well as the high fuel conditions and traffic of the race. As such, this change in tyre usage should not impact the drivers’ programmes significantly. The need to run the three compounds through qualifying will result in drivers doing more laps on the harder compounds in Q1 and Q2 with an inevitable increase in traffic.

    3. On a personal note, you moved to Maranello to join our team in 2014 from your home in Britain. How has the experience been for you?
    I was very fortunate that the move came at the perfect time for my twin daughters as they stepped up from junior to senior school. Ferrari were very helpful in providing support for finding schools and generally setting up home, so for us it was relatively stress free. The cultures differ but not to any great extent and I would like to think we approached everything with an open mind; perhaps this will surprise you, but the thing we miss most about the UK? The food!

    Jock Clear
    Born: 12/6/63
    In: Portsmouth (United Kingdom)

    Hungarian Grand Prix: facts & figures 

    2. The number of words in the Hungarian language for the colour red. The rule states that if it is applied to a living being, a red head or a cat for example, then the word is vörösbut if applied to an inanimate object one must use pirosA red Ferrari should therefore be piros, but many race fans believe that cars – and those built in Maranello are definitely no exception – have a soul, so maybe the jury is out on which word for red to use.

    4. The number of goals scored in the 1960 European Cup Final by Hungary’s Ferenc Puskàs, playing for Real Madrid against Eintracht Frankfurt, a record that still stands today. For many years, Puskàs was the star of the very strong Hungarian national team that humbled England 6-3 at Wembley in 1953 and then 7-1 the following year in Budapest, as well as beating Italy. FIFA ranks him fourth best centre forward of all time, after Pelé, Diego Armando Maradona and Zinedine Zidane. For club and country he scored 704 goals in 709 games

    96. A special number par excellence in Hungary: Grand Prince Arpad, whose reign straddled the VIII and IX centuries and was the progenitor of a dynasty that reigned until 1301, was crowned as the first King of Hungary in 896. The Budapest metro system was built in 1896, the year of the country’s millennium anniversary and in its municipality, it is illegal to erect buildings over 96 metres high. Finally, if sung at the correct speed, the national anthem lasts for 96 seconds. A special number for Hungary, but clearly not very significant in Formula 1 where no driver has chosen the 96, since they were given a choice of numbers starting in 2014 and the race number 96 has only appeared on the entry list for a Formula 1 World Championship race three times, although the cars in question never actually raced.

    521. The number of Olympic medals won by Hungary – 183 gold, 156 silver and 186 bronze –, which puts the country 14th on the all-time winners list and first among those nations never to have hosted the Games. Football is regarded as the national sport in Hungary, but other sports in which their athletes excel are field athletics (javelin, discus, hammer and shot put), swimming and water polo. 

    5,391. The total number of people who completed a chalk drawing at the same time, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It took place in the famous Andrássy út street, on 20 September 2009 in Budapest, organised by the Európa Közhasznú committee to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment.