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“The Hungaroring is like Monaco” – Get ready for the Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix

Get ready for the Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix The Formula 1 race teams come to Mogyoród this weekend as the second part of the season kicks off with the 11th race at the Hungaroring. A lot of tension and excitement can be expected on the track, which is “like Monaco without walls” according to the pilots of Toro Rosso.

Most of the times, the Hungaroring is defined as a traditional track. According to the official website, the track that was built three decades ago used to be a curiosity due to the fact that it was the first track behind the iron-curtain, while its curiosity today is that it is the third track (after Monte-Carlo and Monza) that is always included in the racing schedule.

Legendary moments, like the victory of Nelson Piquet at the first ever race, the misfortune of Damon Hill, the battles of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, Jenson Button’s victory in rain, or the four and five triumphs of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton can all be connected to the Hungaroring and the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The track was originally 4014 metres long, but it was reconstructed to 4381 metres in 2003. Most people say that the track is dusty and the race is burning. But then they add that it is one of the toughest races for the pilots. Winning is a real challenge on the technical, serpent-like track, which lacks straight sections. Still, teams love this traditional track, which represents the classic style.

According to Motorsport.com, it is currently Sebastian Vettel who is in the lead, but he’s only one point ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas is slowly catching up to them. Regarding the race of the teams, Mercedes seems to be very secure in the leading position, but Ferrari might be able to take over control at the Hungaroring, because the track might favour their cars. At the same time, the Mercedes team is not too worried, because it is still Lewis Hamilton who is the most successful pilot of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Something else that made F1 lover hearts beat faster was the announcement about Renault entering the returning Robert Kubica for the second test day at Hungaroring. It’s going to be the perfect opportunity to see what kind of role he can play in the team in the upcoming years. Featured image: MTI/EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj

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Alonso took Silverstone penalty for Hungary preparation

Fernando Alonso has admitted that he was thinking of the Hungarian GP weekend two weeks ago, before the British GP weekend got underway.

Alonso took a 30-place grid penalty for the race at Silverstone, meaning he started the Grand Prix dead last.

Hungary will theoretically be a stronger track for the Woking-based squad, as the circuit is not heavily dependant on power. With McLaren still struggling with engine supplier Honda, Hungary cold provide an opportunity to leap from the bottom of the standings and past Sauber.

“The important thing for us, as always, is reliability,” Alonso said. “Even if our car could perform better in Hungary, we need to have a trouble-free weekend to take advantage of every opportunity for points. We made some big decisions in Silverstone in terms of taking grid penalties in preparation for this race, and hope that’s paid off so we can put ourselves in the best possible position for points this weekend.”

He continued: “On paper, the Hungaroring presents one of the best opportunities for us this year. The short, twisty circuit means we are less reliant on outright power, and the drivers have to really depend on the capabilities of the chassis to get the best out of the lap.

“I always like returning to Budapest – we get to stay in the centre with great views of the river, and you feel like you’re really part of the city all weekend. The temperatures are high and it’s a testing weekend for the teams and drivers – especially since the summer break is so close, but a good result can be a great boost for everyone going into the shutdown period.”

(Fergal Walsh)

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Grosjean claims Hungarian GP is “not an easy race”

Romain Grosjean claims that despite the Hungarian Grand Prix being at a relatively low speed, it is not an easy race. This weekend, the Hungaroring hosts round eleven of the 2017 world championship.

The track brings some nice memories for the Frenchman, who finished on the podium there in 2012.

“I’ve had some great races at the Hungaroring. I had my first pole position in GP2 there in 2008. I had some good races after that in GP2. I also qualified on the front row of the Hungarian Grand Prix back in 2012.”

This weekend, the weather is set to soar high into the 30’s, meaning the driver’s endurance and concentration will surely be tested as much as their skills. Grosjean understands that the air can indeed get hot, contributing to the already difficult race.

“I’ve always had a good feeling in Hungary. I’ve always liked the track. It used to be very bumpy, but they resurfaced it last year. It’s a low-speed circuit. How the car handles is important. I’ve been lucky to have had cars that have performed well there over the years.

“It can get very hot in Budapest. It’s not an easy race, but on the other hand, there’s not many high-speed corners on the track, so it’s more about keeping your focus and concentration all through the race. Regardless, we’re always keeping fit to prepare ourselves.”

Overtaking to be difficult

The track is also much more narrow than others on the calendar and with only one straight that is relatively short, overtaking is quite difficult around the circuit: “It’s very difficult to overtake at the Hungaroring,” Grosjean continued. “To be fair, I made one of the best overtakes of my life there in 2013, outside of turn four, on Felipe Massa. I got a drive-through penalty for that one for having four wheels off the track.

“That didn’t matter to me as it was one of my most beautiful overtaking moves ever, because it came at a corner where nobody is expecting you to overtake. It was an outside overtake on a high-speed corner. The penalty, I thought, was questionable, but I just enjoyed the move. It was a key time in the race for me to be able to try and win. I really had to push hard and I just really enjoyed that overtaking manoeuvre.”

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Robert Kubica’s test session with the current Renault Sport

Robert Kubica’s test session with the current Renault Sport R.S.17 has now officially been confirmed by Renault, by way of Auto Motor und Sport.

Kubica will drive on the second day of the test, August 2, succeeding Nicholas Latifi, who will drive day one. Renault Sport F1 admitted only last week that it considered Kubica a valid choice for the 2018 season, after playing hard-to-get in the weeks following the Valencia test in the Lotus-Renault E20.

If Kubica, who has shown he is faster than current leading Renault driver Nico Hülkenberg in the race simulator, can prove himself capable at this test session, rumors say he could replace Jolyon Palmer. Whether the replacement would happen midseason or between seasons is the subject of speculation.

Robert Kubica was sidelined from motorsport after a catastrophic rally crash crippled his right arm in February 2011. Though he was contracted to race for the team that year, his injuries prevented him from doing so. To add insult to injury, Kubica broke his leg early the following year, further delaying his return to motorsport.

When he did return to racing full time, he competed in WRC2, winning the 2013 title. He continued rallying through 2015, though his funding partially dried up in 2016. Though he signed a deal to compete in WEC this year, it later fell through, due to what one would now presume to be the chance to climb back up to Formula One though a series of Renault-sponsored open wheel tests meant to gauge Kubica’s abilities and physical limitations.

The ascent has been arduous, but Kubica is being cheered on from all corners of the globe. Even his former competitors can’t stand to see him separated from the sport any longer— 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg lamented early this year that Kubica was still gone. You and I needn’t wait much longer, Nico. He’s on the right track.

(James Gilboy)

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Timetable for the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

The Hungarian Grand Prix will take place this weekend, hosting the eleventh round of the 2017 world championship.

The Hungaroring has served up a number of fantastic races in the past and will hopefully do so later this week. There will also be a number of support series throughout the weekend, and you can view the full timetable below.

All sessions are in local time;
Friday Series Session Time
Formula 1 Free Practice 1 10:00 – 11:00
FIA Formula 2 Practice 11:55 – 12:40
Formula 1 Free Practice 2 14:00 – 15:30
FIA Formula 2 Qualifying 15:55 – 16:25
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Practice 16:45 – 17:30
GP3 Series Practice 17:50 – 18:35

Saturday Series Session Time
GP3 Series Qualifying 09:45 – 10:15
Formula 1 Free Practice 3 11:00 – 12:00
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Qualifying 12:20 – 12:50
Formula 1 Qualifying 14:00 – 15:00
FIA Formula 2 Feature race 16:00 – 17:05
GP3 Series Feature race 17:35 – 18:20

Sunday Series Session Time
GP3 Series Sprint race 09:10 – 09:45
FIA Formula 2 Sprint race 10:20 – 11:10
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Race 11:30 – 12:05
Formula 1 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix 14:00 – 16:00

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VERSTAPPEN LOOKING FORWARD TO BUDAPEST RETURN

Max Verstappen has said that he is excited to return to the Hungaroring – a circuit where he has a 100% scoring record – for the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend, even if he is not fully confident about Red Bull’s chances there as a team.

“It’s a great track, especially in an F1 car,” the Dutchman said. “It’s always a bit too early to say how we’ll do in Hungary. We’re constantly improving, trying to get a better balance and more downforce on the car. Luckily there are not too many long straights.”

Indeed, the Hungaroring is notable for its tight and winding nature, to such an extent that it is sometimes described as “Monaco without the walls”. It has a tendency to punish small mistakes in much the same way as the Principality, and is equally as challenging for the drivers. Verstappen, however, seems to disagree with this comparison: “I wouldn’t say it’s Monaco without the walls,” he added. “But it’s definitely a bit more narrow than other circuits we go to.”

In terms of lap times, which fell significantly last time out at Silverstone thanks to the faster 2017 cars, Verstappen believes that we will not see such a big drop in Hungary – but also that there may be minimal changes in the ways the drivers approach each lap. “We do have more grip this year so maybe you have to do a few different lines compared to the previous year. But all in all that’s manageable and quite straightforward.”

Budapest does, of course, provide more than a tough test for the drivers; the city is a must-see location, and Verstappen is keen to experience as much of it as he can. “We’re always staying in the city centre for the race week,” he revealed. “We do get to see a little bit of Budapest.

“Unfortunately we never have time for a lot of sightseeing. But I’ll hopefully have one day to walk around and get to know the city a bit more after the race.”

(Mason Hawker)

Photo: Getty

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HULKENBERG PRAISES RENAULT STEP FORWARD AHEAD OF HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX

Nico Hulkenberg has been in buoyant mood ahead of this week’s Hungarian Grand Prix after an impressive performance at the British Grand Prix last time out.

Hulkenberg praised the new floor introduced on his Renault which saw a marked improvement in his fortunes, after two poor races in Baku and Austria. He finished 6th equalling his best race of the season and was also the best placed of all the midfield, finishing ahead of everyone outside of the three fastest teams.

He said ahead of Hungary: “I was happy with Silverstone, it was a very positive weekend, he new floor worked well and took the car a step forward. We managed to translate a good starting position into a strong finish. The pace was really good, we were faster than the midfield competition, [making us] best of the rest which is nice. We rewarded ourselves with some points which is important. Sixth is good for me, and good for the team who have been pushing hard. Now it’s time to reboot and go again in Budapest.”

He then went on discuss the physical demands of the Hungarian Grand Prix with the newer cars. He went on to say: “It’s a physical track, very hot too which is hard on us drivers, It’s a demanding circuit. You don’t get too many breaks on the lap, so it’s a Grand Prix which comes down to fitness, more so than others. It feels like all of the corners combine, one error means you will suffer in another corner; you need a good flow and harmony. I like Hungary, it’s a good Grand Prix, the track is cool and technical with lots of good corner combinations which come one after the other.”

(Sam Gale)

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RICCIARDO EYES CHANCES OF WINNING IN HUNGARY

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has said he is looking to his 2014 victory for inspiration for another good weekend in Hungary

In 2014 he scored his second ever F1 victory in dramatic fashion taking the lead in the final laps after passing both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso with only two laps to go.

He is now eying another good result and perhaps his second win of this season, at a track where Red Bull are thought to be able to have a good race and get closer to the Ferrari’s and Mercedes’ than in most races due to the low power effect at the Hungaroring.

“Hungary 2014 was a cool victory,” he recalled. “Of course I love winning but that was an awesome race. In order to win I had to pass Hamilton and Alonso, pretty much the best two – so that was cool! I love that track and it has always been a good one for me. I’ve had some great weekends there even before Formula 1. The Hungarian Grand Prix is always at the point of the season where summer is approaching, so I’m always in a pretty good place and the car is normally getting better as well. It all kind of comes good by the end of July.”

He went on to discuss the nature of the track, with the higher downforce in this years car leading to a more physical race than usual this year. He went on to say: We’ve got lots more grip this year so it’ll be a bit more fun, the second sector is going to be amazing. That’s one of my favourite sectors in Formula 1, this track means elbows out for sure as there are three key places where you can overtake. I’ve made some good moves in turn 1 in the past. turn 2 you can go inside or outside, as both lanes work and the hairpin is fun too. If Sunday is hot it’ll definitely be a physically demanding race, so I can’t make the mistake again of eating too much meat on Saturday night!”

(Sam Gale)

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MCLAREN RUNNING OUT OF OPTIONS AS MERCEDES, FERRARI SAY NO TO ENGINE SUPPLY

It was bad news for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team this week as both Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari ruled themselves out of helping the Woking based squad by supplying them with engines next year.

McLaren, whose struggles with the reliability and power output of the Honda engine has continued for a third season, were believed to be seriously considering breaking ties with the Japanese manufacturer, with improvements and solutions to their performance deficit not looking likely any time soon.

Although discussions have been held with other manufacturers as to the likelihood of a supply deal, it has become clear to McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown, that neither of the top two engine suppliers are willing to pass any advantage the Woking team’s way, as he explained in an interview with Sky Sports recently.

“We’re a great team, McLaren has shown the ability to win races and championships, but I think several other teams enjoy seeing us where we are today.

“They fear we can go back to being a threat, a fear which is understandable.”

The only other current option on the table for McLaren, assuming they do decide to split with Honda, would be to switch to Renault power. However, although this scenario has not been put off the shelf just yet, it is believed the French manufacturer are not looking to add to their customer supply chain.

The F1 summer break is almost upon us, and after the Hungarian Grand Prix in one week’s time, there will be a three-week time out for the teams. It is during this time that Brown has stipulated McLaren will need to have made their minds up on whether to continue on with the Honda partnership, or look elsewhere.

“We’ve spoken with Honda about a variety of different scenarios, we ultimately think that Honda can get the job done, they have in the past.

“We need to make sure the development comes at a faster pace. We’re starting to work on our 2018 car now and you can only go so far before you need to know the architecture of what you’re doing.

“So I think around the summer time, which obviously isn’t far away, we need to finalise what we’re doing with Honda moving forward.

“We can’t continue to be uncompetitive – that’s not what McLaren race for. It’s been three years, so we need to see some drastic power adjustments or some different ways to get there.”

It is believed driver Fernando Alonso is pushing for answers sooner rather than later, most likely so he can make plans for his own future, whether that be with or without McLaren, because a driver of his calibre can only languish at the back end of the grid for so long.

“We, like Fernando, want to be winning races and being on the podium and in the current state we can’t do that – so some things need to change.”

Holding onto the double world champion will be a key objective for McLaren, whether they can realistically do that if things remain as they are, is another prospect entirely.
(RACHEL HACK)Octane Photographic Ltd

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RED BULL AERO UPGRADE NOT A BIG DEAL – HORNER

Red Bull Racing are set to introduce what driver Daniel Ricciardo has described as a “significant” aero upgrade at the Hungarian Grand Prix, however Team Principal Christian Horner has been quick to quash the suggestion that it is that big a deal.

The Milton Keynes based squad had hoped to be able to take the fight to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari at Silverstone last weekend, but they were somewhat off the pace, the reasons behind which they are yet to fully understand.

Horner is of course eager for the cause to be established as quickly as possible, as he explained to Autosport recently.

“I think we felt that we were a bit off.

“I am not sure we got the most out of the car this weekend. We struggled a little bit in the low speed corners, so there is quite a bit to go and understand, analysis wise, why that is.”

Ricciardo started the British Grand Prix from nineteenth on the grid, having suffered a turbo failure during the first part of qualifying, and brilliantly made his way through the field, to finish fifth by the end of the race.

However, neither the Australian or team-mate Max Verstappen had the pace to get close to the top two teams, and following the event, Ricciardo made reference to a substantial upgrade in Hungary, which should be an opportunity to improve their performance.

Horner is playing down the significance of the update however, stating that it is just a planned progression.

“It is all part of the evolution.

“I wouldn’t call it significant. I would say it is again relatively subtle in terms of a constant process of trying to get performance on the car.”
(RACHEL HACK) (Octane Photographic Ltd)