How to do well at a much maligned circuit: Be bold at Hungarian GP
Insight
Hungarian GP start
Strategy Briefing
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jul 2014   |  4:11 pm GMT  |  86 comments

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.

Being bold is the key to doing well, as Lewis Hamilton proved with some overtakes in unusual places last year or as Michael Schumacher and Ferrari proved in 1998 with a brave strategy change mid-race, which led to one of his most exciting victories.

This year, the teams are still dealing with the aftermath of the FIA’s decision to ban FRIC suspension, which has meant them all having to work harder to set the cars up and to manage the tyres. Hungary, with its range or corners taken in second to fourth gear, will show up the absence of FRIC more than Hockenheim, so losses that were perhaps masked for some teams there will be more obvious this weekend.

This weekend Pirelli has opted for the medium and soft tyres, which at first sight looks quite a conservative choice. However high temperatures are expected on track. In Germany last weekend, when the track temperatures of 57 degrees were seen in practice the supersoft tyre was on the limit.

XPB.cc

The Hungaroring circuit is rarely used and so the track is usually dirty at the start of the F1 race weekend and the grip improves as the weekend goes on. This means that it’s very easy to be misled by the tyre performance on Friday and the only really meaningful work that can be done on car set up and planning race strategy is often the one hour session on Saturday morning.

The track is tight and twisty with generally a low grip surface and it is also quite bumpy.

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.

The other interesting aspect of the track is that it doesn’t make many demands on the Internal combustion part of the engine, so it’s normal for teams to use an engine which is towards the end of its life – on its third or fourth race.

Hungary GP circuit

Track characteristics

Hungaroring – 4.381km kilometres. Race distance – 70 laps = 306.630 kilometres. 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)

XPB.cc

Form Guide

The Hungarian Grand Prix is the eleventh round of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship and thus marks the start of the second half of the 19 race season.

Mercedes has complete control of both championships, with Nico Rosberg leading the drivers’ standings. Lewis Hamilton has had a series of setbacks and mistakes in recent races, which have prevented him taking maximum points, but Hungary offers him a turning point as he has always been exceptional at this track and has won four times in seven visits.

Ferrari and Red Bull have made progress recently and are likely to fill the ‘best of the rest’ role behind Mercedes. Williams has been in that role lately, with Valterri Bottas coming of age as a Grand Prix driver, but this circuit might not suit their car quite so well as there is only one straight and that is not very long. McLaren has improved but still struggles to match its qualifying pace in races.

As far as drivers’ form is concerned; it has been a happy hunting ground for Hamilton with four wins and Jenson Button who has won the race twice. Fernando Alonso won in 2003, Kimi Raikkonen in 2005.

Weather Forecast

The forecast is for temperatures around 30 degrees on Friday and Saturday, but there are thunderstorms forecast for Sunday, which could bring rain, as we had here in 2011.

Pirelli F1 tyres

Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Budapest: Soft (yellow markings) and Medium (white markings). This is the same as the last two years.

This combination of tyres was used in Australia, Bahrain and China. There was around 0.6s performance difference between them in Bahrain.

The performance of the tyres in the Friday practice session will indicate whether this is likely to be a one, two or three stop race, although it’s easy to underestimate the track improvement from Friday to Sunday which tends to cut the number or stops.

The crucial thing for teams to understand will be the crossover point where the medium becomes the better tyre over the long run.

In Bahrain Mercedes put Nico Rosberg on a Plan B strategy where he started on soft, took the medium tyre for the middle stint then the soft again for the final stint. So this combination allows for quite a lot of strategic variety, which should make for an interesting race.

The target for the first stop will be around lap 17-20.

The Hungaroring is notoriously hard on the front tyres, partly due to all the long corners and partly due to the balance of the car being much more forward. High temperatures will also take their toll.

In the past, overtaking was extremely difficult at the Hungaroring and it still is. But the two DRS adjustable rear wing zones, situated on the pit straight and out of Turn 1, has helped create some overtaking opportunities in the last few seasons. Last year there were 23 overtakes in total, of which 14 were DRS assisted.

Number and likely timing of pit stops

The time needed for a stop at Hungaroring is around 16 seconds, so there are a number of strategies that open up, depending on track position and traffic.

In 2012 two stops was the way to go and in 2013 it was three stops that won it for Hamilton, with a short first stint on the soft of only nine laps. This year we have seen a pattern of races on 2014 specification tyres were there was one stop less than in 2013. This could well be another, so two stops would be the fastest way.

Friday practice running will give indications, but the decisions will be made after the teams have noted the track improvement on Saturday morning.

Chance of a safety car

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.

XPB.cc

Recent start performance

The start of the Grand Prix is absolutely vital in terms of executing the ideal race strategy. A few places gained means a team has more options, while a few places lost usually means switching to Plan B and being more aggressive to make up ground.
As far as 2014 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season, on aggregate, as follows (taken after the German Grand Prix) –

Net gained positions
20 Gutierrez

15 Maldonado
14 Bottas

14 Chilton

14 Kobayashi

13 Ericsson
12 Massa


12 Hulkenberg

12 Sutil

9 Raikkonen, Hamilton

8 Bianchi

3 Alonso

Net held Position

Rosberg, Vettel

Net lost positions
18 Vergne

5 Ricciardo

4 Grosjean

4 Kvyat
1 Button
1 Perez

1 Magnussen

Melbourne Notes: Kobayashi, Massa eliminated in a first corner accident; Perez, Gutierrez pitted at the end of Lap 1; Bianchi, Grosjean started from pit lane.

Malaysia Notes: Perez started from pit lane, Bianchi pitted at the end of lap 1

Bahrain notes: Vergne pitted at the end of lap 1 after contact

China Notes: Sutil lost power at start and dropped 8 places, retiring soon after.

Monaco notes: Maldonado did not start, Ericsson started from pit lane, Perez crashed Lap 1.

Canada Notes: Gutierrez started from pit lane; Bianchi and Chilton crashed lap 1; Ericsson pitted lap 1

Austria Notes: Grosjean started from pit lane

GB Notes: Raikkonen and Massa eliminated in 1st lap accident
Germany notes: Massa eliminated in 1st lap accident, Magnussen and Ricciardo dropped back as a result

Ferrari pit stop F1

Pit Stop League Table
Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution by the mechanics and we have seen tyre stops carried out in less than two and a half seconds by F1 teams.
This year the emphasis is more on consistency and not making mistakes.
The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their fastest time in the German Grand Prix, from the car entering the pit lane to leaving it.

1. Red Bull 18.868 secs
2. McLaren 18.916
3. Lotus 18.928
4. Ferrari 19.032
5. Force India 19.514
6. Sauber 19.638
7. Mercedes 19.710
8. Caterham 19.890
9. Marussia 20.031
10. Williams 20.115
11. Toro Rosso 20.251

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The UBS Race Strategy Briefing is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists, from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan and from Pirelli

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86 Comments
  1. Andrew M says:

    Even though it’s “much maligned”, Hungary sure has a habit of giving us decent races. Here’s hoping for another one.

    1. Andrew M says:

      Also…

      “Heikki Kovalainen in 2008″

      Think that needs an update :)

    2. Sebee says:

      It is one of those races and race tracks I actually like quite a bit. And one I’ve seen a championship closed out at.

      It feels like F1 in a village somewhere. Very much like Watkins Glen for example, except it’s closer to a big city – but far enough to still feel like a village. Simply love the natural bowl, reminds me of Interlagos – you can see tons of this track from higher up in the stands, which we all know is a hard thing to achieve with F1 track layouts. From ones I’ve been to only Hungaroring and Interlagos let you actually see perhaps as much as 75% of the circuit from one spot. And you could hear the cars for milles, as if F1 Gods were announcing their presence.

      Oops…F1 Gods are now very PC and quite concerned about the hearing of their subjects. So they changed the Godly sound of F1 into (as Steve Zodiac described right here in our little comment section) Wet Fart like engine sounds.

      1. RacingFanatic says:

        Haha I totally agree on that bit about the engines :P It’s such a shame isn’t it. I know some people say it doesn’t matter about the sound, but it really does, every single person I’ve talked to in real life thinks it matters.

    3. Rishi says:

      You know, I’m not actually sure it is “much-maligned” anymore. OK, ask everyone in the paddock to design an ideal circuit and none of them would come up with anything near the Hungaroring. But I remember in my fairly early days of following the sport in the 1990s the race was under constant threat of its place on the calendar. I think we’re past that point now and in some ways people now appreciate its idiosyncracies and surprises because, as you say, they have recently given us decent races (there were a few back in the day which were a turn-off, mind. Anyone remember 2004? Exactly!). A few years ago some people I’m friendly with went to the GP and enjoyed the bonus of low-cost weekend in a place that I’ve heard is a lovely city (Budapest).

  2. Seems Massa still saying the FIA needs to improve the quality of its stewards after last week’s accident — has he not looked at the film? Is there really an issue that needs to be sorted here which hasn’t been reviewed by competent people?

    1. Ben says:

      I have also seen the comments from massa and I have to say I’m getting a bit fed up of his finger pointing and blaming others for racing incidents. Is it a case of mind games? At some point when racing incidents keep happening to the same driver you have to wonder if it is always the other drivers fault. Has he got magnets in his car? Has he ever admitted fault for an on track incident?

      1. W Johnson says:

        I was tired of Massa’s finger pointing while he was at Ferrari.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      I suppose it beats him screaming at the sky, ‘why God? Can I not get to lap 2 this weekend?’

      1. Thompson says:

        Reminds me of 09 & 10 when he was constantly driving into Hamilton. His spacial awareness abandend him a while back, he refuses to accept it.

        The drivers press conference they were asked about this – they all played coy with only Kobayashi and Perez attempting an answer (English is a hard language for the Japanes) but from what I could gather koby suggested he was an idiot…… I think.

        Maybe Ant should show him the footage and explain why it was his fault.

    3. Kristiane says:

      Yer agreed.

      Getting a bit fed up here as well.

      That event between him and K.Mag last week was more of a racing incident, but the fault lay more in Massa due to him driving into another car’s line when Mag had nowhere to go other than plough into the Williams. Typical racing incident in my opinion as it happens when cars fight on the same piece of tarmac especially on lap one when a dozon cars are on within the same 50-metre space.

      I reckon Massa being so vocal these days is due to being supressed for so long at Ferrari. Or could just simply him being him. Either way, I’d say everyone can do with a bit less talking from him.

  3. goferet says:

    The Hungaroring must remind the drivers of the good old days as the track is usually referred to as an over grown kart track.

    Anyway, Hungary is one of those places the fans don’t look forward too as overtaking has always been difficult and the big overtakes for the big points usually take place in the pits.

    Ironically, the race is always well attended as the Finnish & Polish fans cross the border, so much so that that first race in 1986 was attend by 200,000 fans despite the ticket prices being expensive.

    Right, despite Hungary’s short comings, the fans can at least look forward to a championship battle as Lewis & Nico resume hostilities.

    Not only that, the likes of Ricciardo, Alonso, Vettel and Bottas have scores to settle too.

    On the topic of the weather, I doubt the heavens will let up as Hungary has the record of having gone the longest before a wet race i.e. from 1986-2006.

    Overall, with the lack of many straights, I expect Red Bull to give us a race and with Williams good performance at Silverstone, they may surprise too.

    1. Matthew M says:

      It’s always been one of my favourites…

      1. goferet says:

        @ Matthew M

        Aah, I guess you must be a Monaco fan too.

      2. Matthew M says:

        yea,
        guessed right

  4. Gaz Boy says:

    I was watching some classic Hungary races via the BBC Classic F1 website and noticed a couple of things. Firstly, past Turn 2 there was an extra chicane/loop that fed onto the small-ish back straight, so the track was even slower and tighter than it is now! Secondly, the grass and dust was the run off areas for the circuit – no tarmac run off areas in the late 80s/early 90s. Can you imagine that in todays F1? If a driver made a mistake in the late 80s/early 90s he didn’t have acres of tarmac run off! Apparently, the reason for the extra loop was because there was an underwater spring that needed redirecting before it was tarmac-ed over…………
    Looking ahead to this weekend, this could be one of the few circuits where Red Bull can exploit its downforce, as the Hungaroring is not a power circuit. It’ll be interesting to see whether Williams momentum in the last few races can continue at Budapest. The last time F1 was at a high downforce, bog slow track was Monaco and Williams was well off the pace there. We’ll see. As for Ferrari, in dry weather conditions, more mediocrity to be expected.
    I suspect the banning of FRIC will be more of an issue at the tight, bumpy Budapest circuit than it was at Hockenheim. We’ll see.
    I was going to say Kimi is something of a Hungaroring specialist: 4th in 2002, 3rd in 2008, 2nd in 2003, 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013, not to mention a well merited win in 2005. However, I doubt he can get on top of his issues in Hungary – if anything the nature of the track will aggravate his issues he has with his wayward Ferrari steed.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      PS In the British media, there has been a lot of hoo-ha about Mr E and how he is vehement that the Russian GP will go ahead.
      I don’t know about other western countries and their media coverage, but Mr E and Formula 1 motor racing is coming in for some hard criticism, not just from the UK media, but even at government level. I suspect behind the scenes the UK government is lobbying the British F1 industry not to compete at Sochi. I would imagine other western governments are doing the same.
      Most people who work in F1 are from the European Union and Commonwealth nations, and I suspect behind the scenes there is some serious talking go on. Also, in F1 there are also a few notables from Japan, Brazil and Mexico. I don’t know about the foreign policy of the Japanese, Brazilians and Mexican governments towards Russia, but as these aforementioned countries are aligned with NATO, I suspect they will side with the EU and Commonwealth and possibly ask the drivers/personnel to collectively boycott Russia.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        There was a lot of serious government lobbying behind the scenes against Bahrain as well – didn’t do much – though I suppose the Bahraini government was only fighting its own population and not getting civilian airliners blown up so who knows? [mod]

      2. James Allen says:

        Your comment was libellous, we don’t appreciate that.

        Please be more moderate or we will delete your comments – Mod

      3. AuraF1 says:

        Apologies James, feel free to delete as appropriate, I didn’t notice anything libellous given the BBC news and investigative tv arms have mentioned some of the facts but obviously as your site is subject to libel laws I would not want to jeapordise your excellent reputation.

      4. sarcosuchus says:

        As with 90% of the sheeple in the West, you’ve just jumped to the conclusion that Russia is culpable for MH17 because that’s what the propaganda tools (BBC, CNN, politicians) tell you. The yanks admit themselves that they spent 5 billion $ to topple the legitimate ukranian government (Look up Victoria Nuland – she of the “F** the EU” statement). They created this civil war and instability in Ukraine, against Russian warnings. So why blame Russia? You don’t even ask why a passenger airline was directed (by Kiev) over an active warzone where even military jets are being shot down. Aren’t you even in the least bit curious about that? You dont even ask what the Russians would gain from this event. Do yourself a favour and educate yourself – look up what “False flag” means. Look up Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin. Find out which country likes to use this trick (hint: it has the letter U, S, and A in it). At the very least, understand that there’s never just one side to any non-trivial story.

        Cant believe Western Europeans plebs and ruling elites are stupid enough to get egged on into a bogus pointless war by yanks. Western Europe will be first to turn into a glass parking lot.

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Sarcosuchus: I feel your comments are misplaced, but you’re entitled to your opinion.
        I don’t think is a case of the “decadent, capitalist West” ganging up on Russia for the sake of it. At the end of the day, 300 poor souls are dead – including many known to the F1 community – because the aircraft they were on was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile. The area it was shot down was in a disputed zone where the Russians have been supporting a separatist movement, and that support includes arming the separatists. If Mr Putin and his chums hadn’t had such an aggressive foreign policy nobody in the West could point the finger of blame (partially) towards him.
        Having a race in Russia would be a slap in the face towards the victims families and would be a sign for F1 that “its business as usual” and this appalling tragedy has been brushed aside. I personally wouldn’t support that. Holland and Australia are NATO members and important allies against the aggressive foreign policy of Russia, China and the extreme Islamic countries.
        I’ll be honest, in regards to the United States, yes, some of the Yanks foreign policy makes a lot of people in the UK and Western Europe. including myself, dismayed, particularly during the Bush Junior era. The USA foreign policy creates a lot of anger and bitterness even amongst people in the UK and Western Europe, who are our allies in NATO.
        However, it must be remembered that the blame for the bad decisions of US foreign policy lies with the White House/Capital Hill, and not necessarily the citizens of the USA – its important not to conflate the two. Same with Russia: I don’t blame ordinary Russians for the actions of their despot leader – but I do blame Mr Putin and his cronies.
        I just hope for justice for the victims families, and it would be the right thing to honour their memory by removing the grand prix from Russia. The West must stand firm on this.
        Hope that clarifies my comments.

      6. JSpeed says:

        The F1 ever had boycoted the South African Grand Prix? So, why they would do in Russia?

      7. nusratolla says:

        Please… Let Sports be Sports and not Politicize everything.

      8. C63 says:

        @GazBoy

        please, please, please, for the love of God, can you stop with these long political rants.
        They have no place on a site devoted to F1.
        Thank you.

      9. aezy_doc says:

        I thought this was an F1 site? Can we leave international conflicts to one side? I’m all for debating whether or not f1 should go to Russia, but I’m unwilling to play the blame game. If I wanted that I’d be on a political blog.

      10. Bryce says:

        It is ridiculous to suggest that political issues should have no bearing on sport, especially when it is on the international stage. I obviously like F1, but sadly, there is also a lot about it to hate, and it is capitalism at the pointy edge.

        Foreign policy of many countries has a major effect on the world that F1 operates in, so the two are intertwined, like it or not. I am fairly sure that there are plenty of Dutch F1 fans, along with mechanics and other personell that are feeling loss at this very moment.

        I as an Aussie that has lost thirty eight (at latest count) of my fellow citizens/permanent residents as a result of a missile that is not able to be fired by an average Joe, but from an area controlled by Russian backed rebels, am dismayedcertainly want F1 to cancel the Russian GP. To see such looting and general lack of respect for the dead is extremely disturbing, particularly when Putin and co could have immediately provided security and access to the crash area.

        Pretty sure that Malaysians, their government, national airline, circuit personell, petroleum company and their Mercedes partners etc,etc, would think that it is relevant as well.

    2. Andrew M says:

      “…not to mention a well merited win in 2005.”

      He only won because Montoya retired…

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Didn’t Monty have a snapped driveshaft in 2005? Probably his bulky frame put too much strain on the rear axle!!!!!!

      2. Elie says:

        He still had to beat Michael Schumacher to win…It was no walk on the park..Besides he probably would have caught Montoya anyway, Kimi was the pole sitter by almost 1/2 sec and had the pace all weekend. He just had a part start – too much wheelspin.

      3. Andrew M says:

        @ Elie not sure what race you’re thinking of, but in 2005 Schumacher was on pole with Montoya second, because this was back in the days of race fuel qualifying and Montoya was on two-stop fuel with everyone else around him (Schumacher, Trulli, Raikkonen) on three-stop fuel. Kimi had a good start, probably because he was so light on fuel (11 laps), beating Trulli and Montoya off the line. And frankly, beating Schumacher in a 2005 McLaren vs a 2005 Ferrari wasn’t a major challenge, after he got ahead of Schumacher he pulled away at about a second a lap.

        True, getting up to net second from his position (having to qualify first after his retirement in Germany the previous race) was a good achievement, but Montoya had him covered when he retired (although the way things were in the Championship McLaren probably would have asked Montoya to move over for Kimi anyway).

      4. Pete says:

        @Gaz Boy – Sorry to be a killjoy but do you have to joke about JP Montoya (and his weight) quite so often. It feels like you mention it every third thread! Such jokes did wear thin (boom boom) after a while and the guy must’ve been out of F1 for seven or eight years now..

    3. Adam says:

      James,
      can you confirm FRIX is now banned or did the teams just agree in Germany not to use it. The distinction is important. Could RBR for example put it back on with no fanfare and just hope like hell no one spots it is on the car and mounts a challenge OR will the stewards reject any car with any form of FRIC? If it is not BANNED but gentleman failing to agree, so it was removed to avoid issues, then someone could sneak it back in and hope they don’t get caught for a protest. No one has been saying it is off this weekend so where does this stand, is it a ban or a gentleman’s agreement?

      1. James Allen says:

        It was from Germany onwards

    4. James says:

      Kimi’s third place in 2008 was weak. He only made it on to the podium after Hamilton then Massa hit trouble. Beaten by a Toyota I seem to recall, in the joint best F1 car of the year. His qualifying really let him down that year. His 2nd in the poor Ferrari of 2009 must have been pretty good – a reasonable return after Massa’s severe bad luck in qualifying.

  5. Pkara says:

    Could be a Tricky Sunday with changeable weather.
    Quite a technical track for racers regarding overtakes
    Didn’t realisr how rare a safety car deployment is
    around this race.

    Come On Lewis :-)

  6. goferet says:

    Some Hungary stats:

    Begun racing since 1986.

    a) Lewis + Schumi = 4 wins, Senna 3 wins, Piquet + Damon + Jacques + Mika + Jenson = 2 wins

    b) Mclaren 11 wins, Williams 7 wins, Ferrari 5 wins

    c) The back to back winners are Piquet, Senna, Jacques, Mika and Lewis.

    d) No driver has won the race in 3 consecutive seasons

    e) Lewis, Jenson & Schumi are the only pilots to have won in different teams.

    f) The only wet races in Hungary were won by Jenson i.e. 2006/2011 >>> however, in the dry, JB has never finished higher than P5.

    g) Jenson has the record of longest gap between wins i.e. 4 years

    h) Schumi 7 poles, Lewis 4 poles, Senna 3 poles, Patrese + Mika + Alonso + Vettel = 2 poles

    i) In the last 10 years, 5 have won from pole, whereas in 20 years, 10 have won from pole.

    j) In the last 10 years, only once has the victor gone on to win the title, whereas in 20 years, 5 victors have gone on to win the title (3 of these being Schumi)

    Overall, 8 out of 28 winners have gone on to win the title i.e. Piquet, Senna, Schumi, Jacques, Mika

    k) The only two people to have won the race more than once and gone on to win the title twice are Senna & Schumi.

    l) The only drivers to have won Hungary but never the title include Bousten, Rubens, Heikki and Webber.

    m) The only champions to have raced in Hungary and not won are the 4 times champions Prost & Vettel.

    Fun fact:

    Schumi equalled Prost’s 51 wins and 4 titles in Hungary 2001.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      The Hungaroring holds the record for the being annually the hottest grand prix (excluding the wet and cold 2006 and 2011 races) for the European season.
      In modern times, Budapest has broken the European record for heatwaves: the 2003 race the air temp was around 34C, in 2005 held in July 31 it was 35C, while last year it was a sweltering 37C……….making the 2013 Hungarian GP the hottest grand prix in the European continent in modern F1. Hot stuff………………………..no wonder grand prix drivers have to be so fit.
      The 1989 race was the last held under the Iron Curtain – with Russia being isolated from the West at the minute it seems like history is repeating itself unfortunately.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Gaz Boy

        Lol… Perhaps it’s time the Hungary race became a night race.

        Interestingly, when it comes to humidity and discomfort, the Hungary race is never mentioned for it’s always Malaysia and Singapore that the fraternity are worried about.

      2. James Allen says:

        That’s actually a very good idea

        It would help with TV ratings as well – 7pm UK time would be very good

      3. Doug says:

        Lousy time for Australians though!

  7. Stephen Taylor says:

    James if both Azerbaijan and Mexico make it onto the final 2015 calendar could a race like Hungary be facing the axe in order to make it a 20 race season? Also is there any news on the potential New Jersey race?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Hungary has a contract to host the race during the Euro season until 2022, so it’s safe for a decade.
      New Jersey GP looks like its clinically deceased – if it was going to happen, it would have happened by now…………….
      Mexico looks like being a back to back with Texas GP.

    2. D1M0NST3R says:

      Well, Méxicos GP is confirmed.

  8. Michael says:

    If his car doesn’t break down again Hamilton should win this race. He seems to own this place. Winning 4 out of 7 races is a great strike rate.

  9. Richard says:

    Ditch this race, bring back Magny Cours, or Fuji.

  10. Phil Glass says:

    Hungaroring 1998

    No one who was there can ever forget the constant chant of the Finnish fans in their gothic outfits:

    Mi
    KaHak
    Innen
    Mi- ka Hak-innen !

    apologies to those not wishing to be reminded

    1. glennb says:

      Not at all mate. Mika was one of the most exciting & competitive drivers ever imo. Sometimes he even cracked it for a smile during interviews ;) Hard to imagine Finnish crowds ever getting excited :)

      1. Phil Glass says:

        …not sure your comment relates to mine but never mind.

      2. glennb says:

        Hmmm. When you apologised for reminding us of Mika I was saying that I was a fan of his and always enjoy a Mika story.

  11. cometeF1 says:

    Thanks for a well detailed pre-race report as always. I would like to request an addition to the informations you share with us every race week James, previous year Pole lap time and best race lap time as well as the track lap record seem interesting facts to add.
    By the end of the 2013 Hungarian GP race, many people on this site thought that when the second half of the season starts, Hamilton would be a major contender. Remember? Little did any of us know that the second half of the 2013 season was going to be the Vettel show.
    I will add that I enjoyed seeing that particular record being broken (most consecutive wins.). Mercedes are still in for most win in one season. At some point this year many again thought it was possible for Mercedes to score all of the season’s available wins.
    Funny to think that the F1 pendulum can swing so radically in a matter of 12 month no? Marc

  12. Random 79 says:

    “losses that were perhaps masked for some teams there will be more obvious this weekend”

    Not good for Lotus then.

    1. glennb says:

      Lotus? Do they still compete ;)

  13. AlexD says:

    I suspect Rosberg will take pole and will control from there. Did you not notice that so far Rosberg won all the races where Hamilton was expected to dominate him? Hungary will be the same case. You read it here first:-)

    1. Thompson says:

      Lol……hmmmmm

      Going by the form this season you could be right. having learned this season though, there is no Hamilton track.

      Just more ‘pressure’ added for no good reason. But if all stays reliable it’ll be an interesting weekend.

      Game on baby! Game on!

    2. C63 says:

      ‘Rosberg won all the races’ – like Canada and Britain? ;-)

  14. Tlux says:

    James,

    Every year we hear about how this circuit is rarely used, but it feels to me that it is used quite a bit. Every time I turn on Eurosport there’s touring cars or auto GP or other lower formulas using the track.

    If that means rarely used, what is a well used circuit?

    1. James Allen says:

      Silverstone, Hockenheim, Monza, Barcelona

    2. iceman says:

      It’s probably on as many of the international/European championship calendars as other tracks, but without the national and club level events in between. Somewhere like Silverstone will be in use almost every weekend from March to October, and during the week for track days too.

  15. Craig in Manila says:

    James,

    Can you confirm/advise if it is (essentially) now okay for Teams to run one set of brake discs in Quali and then, as per Merc in Germany, change them in Parc Ferme ?

    My understanding is that Teams could have protested against Merc but decided not to. I’m guessing that was becoz they were quite happy for the stewards/FIA to set the precedent that changes in Parc Ferme were now indeed allowed.

    Seems to me that this issue is being massively overlooked and that, if allowed to occur again, it opens up a whole heap of possible changes that can be made after Quali ?

    1. James Allen says:

      There will now be a bit of clarifying as teams jostle for advantage etc -the usual thing

      It’s hard to see how brake discs from two different manufacturers have the same “function” unless you take it in its widest sense which is to slow the car down

      Brembo and CI discs perform very differently, I’m told

      1. C63 says:

        Mercedes argued the change was on safety grounds (at least that is what I read) + crucially, Rosberg had Brembo’s on his rear axle and Mercedes wanted to change them as well. Obviously, it goes without saying, the stewards were not going to spoil the Rosberg/Mercedes/Germany party – hence the somewhat curious decision to allow a change under Parc Ferme conditions without penalty.

      2. Kristiane says:

        Hence Hamilton have always preferred CI as far as I remember.

      3. James Allen says:

        Yes for that massive initial bite on brake application, that’s true

      4. Thompson says:

        ?????

        Sorry James but you”ll have to expand – what else do brakes do apart from slow you down?

      5. kenneth chapman says:

        james, if any team attempts to replicate mercedes actions by changing discs under parc ferme conditions will they be allowed to do so? i gather that the FIA may well have shot themselves in the foot here. another part of the overall F1 problem is the constant changing of the rules and the interpretation of same. i refer here to the ‘off circuit’ racing in germany as opposed to austria? i know the rationale of the FIA but it does seem to be too ‘ad hoc’ and this only helps to distract from the overall selling of F1 as the ‘pinnacle’ that changes race by race.

      6. Thompson says:

        @craig in manila

        A brake disk explodes at close to 150mph and you think it’s wrong they be changed.

        Wow maybe you expect a bit much, how much sense would it make to protest something that is directly and necessary regards a drivers safety?

    2. glennb says:

      You make a good point Craig. I can imagine a qualifying type disc being advantageous like the qualifying tyres from days gone by. No wonder the others thought twice about protesting.

    3. Bob says:

      Was that not allowed as a Safety critical issue?
      As I understand it Mercedes didn’t have time to investigate properly why Lewis’ brakes failed before the race. it might just have been a dodgy set that got put on or there could have been a systematic flaw in the design or manufacturing process. Therefore the only action they could take in the time they had to ensure safety was to use a different set of brakes.

      1. Craig in Manila says:

        Yeah, I understand the ‘safety’ point but surely, if Brembo don’t have time to work out what failed, that’s their problem and the rules should not be re-interpreted to allow for them. If Merc (or any other team) is unsure whether the car is safe because a supplier isn’t sure that a part is safe then they should not run the car.

        It seems that they were allowed to go back to the older Brembo purely on their ‘word’ that they were not really much different from the newer Brembo (that failed).

        That, to me, is a pretty dubious method of rule enforcement.

        For all we know, the Brembo discs that were used during quali were a ‘special’ that heated-up faster whereas the older Brembo’s that they were allowed to use in the race were longer-lasting…

  16. Kristiane says:

    My wish list of the kind of surprises I hope to see from Hungary:

    1. Either Bottas; Dan Ric or Alonso take the win (though less likely for Alonso I reckon);
    2. Kimi returning to his old self and perform well;
    3. Massa stop complaining (and keep driving well);
    4. Hamilton also stop being so vocal (though I admit he has improved a little recently in that respect, but can still do with less talking from him)
    5. Better luck for Hamilton.

    1. C63 says:

      @Kristiane
      4. Hamilton also stop being so vocal …..

      Hamilton is no more, or less, vocal than any other driver – although,possibly Kimi says less :-)
      The problem is the media report every little thing he says and the public just lap it up.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        RE C63: Sorry about the “long political rants”, but unfortunately as long as the Russian GP goes ahead then F1 will be mired in criticism from governments, media – and forums, such as this. That’s democracy for you…………
        You are right in some respects: lets enjoy the racing this weekend, and perhaps after it we can discuss the future and direction F1 is heading…………….

    2. glennb says:

      I suspect, with regards to Point #4 that Lewis gets more microphones pushed in front of his face than most during a GP weekend. If you push a microphone often enough you must eventually hit paydirt.

      1. James Allen says:

        He doesn’t get it any more that any of the top guys

    3. aezy_doc says:

      It always amuses me how people are critical of vocal drivers. They are asked questions so give answers as per their contracted media commitments. Kimi being a remarkable exception.

      1. Kristiane Cyrus says:

        Don’t get me wrong, aezy_doc, I am not critical of vocal drivers just for the heck of it, nor am I aiming only at Hamilton regarding vocal drivers either.

        When I say I prefer Hamilton not to be so vocal, I don’t simply mean answering questions to the media, so please don’t come to that conclusion.

        Let me give you a few examples of what I mean (and this applies to any driver that I am critical of in terms of being vocal actually):

        Alonso: Massa was a better teammate (indirectly referring to Raikkonen not being up to speed)

        Hamilton: If that’s the way it goes, then it’ll be Senna vs Prost again (after the incident in Monaco)

        Rosberg: I really dislike coming second to Lewis (of which he repeated 4 races in succession)

        Massa: New kids should be more careful in their driving (of first lap incident in Germany, which I feel he was more at fault than Kev Mag)

        These are the ‘vocals’ that I talked about, mostly mindgame talks, not simply answering questions to media as you suggested, I feel these are unnecessary.

        Of course it’s good for them to speak their mind out, i.e. like how Webber did and he was quite a popular figure in the paddock, but there is a difference between talking your mind out and talking stuff that plays with your teammates’ or rivals’ mind. I personally prefer seeing drivers do the talking on track. And actually, I did mention this on Rosberg’s fan page. Guess what? After that he HAS been doing his talking on track and heard no more of him moaning about hate coming second to Lewis. I also left similar messages on Hamilton’s fan page. Guess what? He has improved and talk less about things being Senna vs Prost. I am not suggesting I have direct influence in any of their actions, but they are evolving to focus more on the game than just talk talk talk and talk off track which have no influence on the outcome of the championship. That’s what I meant.

        So, if by any chance you came to the wrong conclusion about what I said, please don’t.

        And just for the record, I support Hamilton as much as I do for Rosberg, Alonso, Raikkonen, Bottas, Dan Ric and the lot. In fact there are quite a number of drivers I like up and down the grid bar one or two nut cases. So I’m not simply voicing out my opinion just to support one driver or attempt to downgrade another.

  17. nusratolla says:

    It would be safe to assume its a Hamilton Track… he is wonderfully quick on it…. The point of interest is Kimi & Vettel Resurgence…. Its long over due if you ask me… but I did read on the net that Ferrari are bringing in parts to Spa that would make Kimi feel better in the car… Its not that he has lost his talent or something… of course there is a rumor that he has not been rehabilitated post his surgery and the effects of general anesthesia might have resulted in some nerves responding slowly… but it is rather far fetched if you ask me.

    1. Kristiane says:

      Being a Kimi fan here (as well as an Alonso fan), it’s absolutely painful to see how Kimi’s doing this year. Yes, I agree that it’s not like he has lost his talent, nor has he suddenly forgotten how to drive over the winter, I’d say Kimi’s just not having the car he needs, where he is unlike Alonso who can wrestle the car around any problem.

      I read somewhere that James Allison is going back to push-rod next year and make the car handle more like last year’s Lotus. If that’s true, then we can expect some fantastic driving from Kimi, and hopefully some fireworks between the two Ferrari drivers (though how you can light a match on ice… that’s up to Alonso to figure out :P ).

    2. H.Guderian (ALO Fan) says:

      “a rumor that he has not been rehabilitated post his surgery and the effects of general anesthesia might have resulted in some nerves responding slowly…”

      hahah..

      I’ve seen several excuses from Kimi’s fans but this one is *great*.

  18. sergio says:

    if I was RAI
    I would do the training not at the simulator

    but driving an FXX at Fiorano
    with worn tyres

  19. kenneth chapman says:

    todays times are of very little consequence and FP2 & 3 are what will give us a guide. it also appears highly likely that it will be a wet race from what i have seen. this will definitely mix these ‘non fric’ cars up somewhat.

    i would hesitate to pick any car out bar the two mercedes which will no doubt be 1 & 2 across the line given that neither of them suffer mechanical problems.

    as for the sochi GP i would be happy to see it postponed for no other reason than it would be in ‘bad taste’ given the russians unsavoury venture into another nations sovereign territory. i have always supported the theory that if an F1 race is planned then it should simply go ahead irrespective of the local political situation. arrive, race then leave. job done. however this time it is different. vastly so. F1 should not attend as this only gives succour to the russians who at the very least have created a situation where an atrocity like this could and would happen.

    1. C63 says:

      todays times are of very little consequence and FP2 & 3 are what will give us a guide….

      please can you clarify which day they run FP2? :-)

  20. JakobusVdL says:

    It looks like another factor thatsis going to become significant in the race strategy and outcomes from hungary will be the penalties for using the sixth and subsequent power unit elements – see;
    http://www.formula1blog.com/f1-news/power-unit-use-update-prior-to-hungary/
    Lots of Renault power units on their 5th of some elements, a couple of Ferrari units too.
    How the teams manage the penalties will be a big influence on the second half of the season, and it looks like the Mercedes poweredcteams have a significant advantage.
    Interesting to see that despite Hamiltons ‘bad luck season’ he and Rosberg are used almost identical numbers of elements.

  21. Chris says:

    1997 race was the best!! Loved it!!

  22. warley says:

    The link in JakobusVdL’s post above explains that component use exception can be made if a driver drives for another team in a season. I can’t remember the last driver to drive for more than one team in a race in season – I don’t think that Kovileinen actually did a race for caterham last year though he may have tested for them before driving a Lotus at the end. So, thinking caps on, who was the last double dipper?

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