Sunday sees the 35th edition of the Hungarian Grand Prix which normally signals the start of the summer break. But this year, just one week on and it will be time for another triple header in this unusual season, with two races in the UK followed by one in Spain. The Hungarian Grand Prix has always been held at the Hungaroring, on the outskirts of Budapest. The track has undergone a few modifications and Scuderia Ferrari has won here seven times, the first courtesy of Nigel Mansell in 1989, when the Englishman came back from 12th on the grid, overtaking Ayrton Senna when the Brazilian hesitated before lapping Stefan Johansson in the Onyx.
Behind the Iron Curtain. The race first appeared on the calendar in 1986 when the idea of holding a race behind the iron curtain while the cold war was still real, caused quite a stir, especially in the wake of the boycott and counter-boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics and those in Los Angeles in 1984. But the gamble paid off and its been a fixture on the calendar ever since.
The circuit. The track isn’t used much and its rural setting means it’s usually pretty dirty on Friday. The Hungaroring is 4.381 kilometres long and has 14 corners, 8 right and 6 left. The start-finish line is on the longest straight which provides overtaking opportunities into turn 1, a downhill right hander. After a few hundred metres, turn 2 is also downhill, but to the left and leads immediately into turn 3, again downhill. Next is another fast section, climbing up to turn 4 to the left. Then it gets twisty, with a slow chicane and two final hairpins, turn 13 to the left and a final right hander onto the straight.
Redemption. After Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel collided at Turn 3 on the opening lap of the Styrian Grand Prix, both men are keen to get back on track to put it all behind them and work with the team to try and improve the performance of the SF1000.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
Hungary brings the curtain down on the first triple-header in this very compressed season. The Hungaroring is a very different track to Spielberg in Austria, which hosted the first two races. It will be interesting therefore to see how the cars behave on a track that requires maximum aerodynamic downforce. Given that overtaking in Hungary, unlike Austria, is usually a rare occurrence, it means that tyre management over a single lap and being well prepared for qualifying will be of vital importance.
We know that the performance level of our car has not matched our expectations, nor that of our fans, but we are working flat out on every area to improve as quickly as possible. Our aim this weekend is simple and straightforward: to score as many points as possible. To do that, we must work perfectly in every area, from the drivers, to car preparation to how we operate on track, to reliability.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“After the poor showing last weekend in Spielberg it's good that I can get straight back on track.
The Hungaroring is quite a physically demanding circuit for the driver, because with hardly any straights. In fact there are so many corners and usually, the Grand Prix is held at a very hot time of year.
It’s also a track that attracts a lot of Ferrari fans and supporters from Germany too, so it will be very strange racing without seeing them cheering in the grandstands.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“I’m really looking forward to being back in the car. I like the Hungaroring, which is a very technical circuit, featuring several tricky areas where you pay for the slightest mistake with lap time. That’s why, especially in qualifying, you have to put together the perfect lap.
Budapest is one of my favourite stops on the calendar, because the city is so beautiful and we usually meet lots of enthusiastic fans there. It will be a bit different this time and we will do our best to put on a good show for them.”
Last week in the team
Last week was far from perfect. The team got down to analysing data from the Austrian Grand Prix and assessing the aerodynamic updates that had been rushed to the track in record time to be ready for a first run during Friday free practice for the Styrian Grand Prix, to be held at the same track.
The three hours of free practice were used to compared different configurations of the SF1000 and to gather as much data as possible to analyse carefully to see how the new components were working. With FP3 a washout, further comparison work was impossible on Saturday morning and with the race over for both cars almost immediately after the start, things were about as bad as they could get.
The work of studying the data continues and the team has worked on a programme for Hungary that will allow for a greater understanding of the SF1000 on a slow track, with very different characteristics to the one in Austria.
GP contested 993
Seasons in F1 71
Debut Monaco 1950 (Alberto Ascari 2nd; Raymond Sommer 4th; Luigi Villoresi ret.)
Wins 238 (33.97%)
Pole positions 228 (22.96%)
Fastest laps 254 (25.58%)
Podiums 771 (77.64%)
FERRARI STATS HUNGARIAN GP
GP contested 34
Debut 1986 (Stefan Johansson 4th; Michele Alboreto ret.)
Wins 7 (20,59%)
Pole positions 8 (23.53%)
Fastest laps 9 (26,47%)
Podiums 25 (73,53%)
Hungarian GP Facts & Figures
1 – The number of Hungarian drivers who have taken part in a Formula 1 World Championship event. Zsolt Baumgartner made his debut right here in Budapest in 2003, standing in for the injured Ralph Firman at Jordan. Born in Debrecen on 1 October 1981, he raced the following season for Minardi, finishing eighth in the United States Grand Prix, thus becoming the first driver from Eastern Europe to score Formula 1 points.
4 – The number of one-two finishes for Scuderia Ferrari in Hungary: the first came in 2001 with Michael Schumacher finishing ahead of Rubens Barrichello. It was a special day for the Maranello team, as Ferrari took its third consecutive Constructors’ title, its eleventh in total. The same two drivers did it again the following year, but with the Brazilian first and then in 2004. The last time dates back to 2017 when Sebastian Vetten won from Kimi Raikkonen.
14 – The furthest back on the grid from which anyone has won this race. That’s what Jenson Button did in 2006 at the wheel of the Honda. The previous record was Nigel Mansell’s who won in 1989 in a Ferrari, having started 12th. Three times, the winner has started from fourth: Kimi Raikkonen in 2005, Lewis Hamilton in 2009 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2014, but 62% of the wins have gone to drivers starting on the front row.
49 – The record number of overtaking moves on track in a Hungarian Grand Prix. It happened in 2014 in a race won by Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) followed by Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (McLaren). The 2002 saw just a single pass, when David Coulthard (McLaren) overtook Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) for tenth place on lap 2.
1936 – The year of the first ever Hungarian Grand Prix. It was run at a 5-kilometre track in Budapest’s Nepliget park. Tazio Nuvolari won in a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo ahead of the Auto Unions of Bernd Rosemeyer and Achille Varzi. That was the last time the race was run until 1986.
This week in our history
15/7 In 2006, Michael Schumacher took his 68th and final pole position, his 58th with Scuderia Ferrari. It happened at Magny-Cours in a time of 1’15”493 at the wheel of the 248 F1. The following day he won the race from Fernando Alonso in the Renault and his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. It was the German’s 22nd and last hat trick.
16/7 In 1978, Carlos Reutemann took his fourth and penultimate win with Scuderia Ferrari. At the wheel of the 312 T3, the Argentine fought tooth and nail to go from eighth on the grid to the top step of the podium at the British Grand Prix.
17/7 Juan Manuel Fangio passed away in 1995. The Argentine won five Formula 1 World Championships between 1951 and 1957. In 1956, he took his fourth title at the wheel of a Ferrari with three wins that season. On the same day, 20 years later, Jules Bianchi also passed away at the age of 25 years and 348 days. The Ferrari Driver Academy’s first student succumbed to the injuries sustained during the terrible accident in the Japanese Grand Prix on 5 October 2014. Jules never regained consciousness after sustaining serious head injuries and died 285 days later. The youngster had been cutting his teeth with Marussia and was tipped to join the Scuderia at some point.
18/7 In 1953, Alberto Ascari dominated the British Grand Prix as he headed for his second consecutive world championship title, which he secured two races later in Switzerland. The Italian laid the groundwork for his 12th and penultimate win during qualifying when, the Ferrari 500, he was a full second ahead of Jose Froilan Gonzalez’s Maserati. Apart from the win, the Ferrari driver took the fastest lap beating his nearest rival, Juan Manuel Fangio in another Maserati, by a minute.
19/7 In 1952, Alberto Ascari whipped his rivals at Silverstone. The Italian started from second, but soon took the lead in the Ferrari 500 and led from then on, lapping the entire field, including his second placed team-mate Piero Taruffi. In third place, Englishman Mike Hawthorn, in the Bristol-engined Cooper, was even two laps down.