Pirelli Hungarian Grand Prix Preview
Following the flat-out straights and fast corners of Silverstone is the tight and twisty Hungaroring: two circuits that could not be any more different.
The medium, soft and supersoft tyres have been nominated for Hungary: statistically the most popular combination of the year so far, which was last used in Baku. The Hungaroring has been described as being like an oversized go-kart track, and adding to the challenge of the first circuit ever to stage a grand prix behind the Iron Curtain exactly 30 years ago are weather conditions that can range from extremely hot (a common occurrence) to rain (which was the case two years ago, as well as 2011).
THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:
• There’s only one real straight on the Hungaroring, which means tyres are constantly working.
• It’s a well-balanced track, with traction, braking and lateral energy demands roughly equal.
• High temperatures make thermal degradation a factor.
• The emphasis is on mechanical grip, as a low average speed means there is little downforce.
• Drivers describe the Hungaroring as one of the year’s most physically demanding circuits.
• Hungary starts another back-to-back weekend, with the teams then going straight to Germany.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
• White medium: a mandatory set that must be available for the race, low working range.
• Yellow soft: another mandatory set whose versatility will make it a popular race tyre.
• Red supersoft: used for qualifying but it’s not yet clear how much they will figure in the race.
HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:
• Incidents and safety cars influenced strategy last year. Race winner Sebastian Vettel stopped twice: starting on soft, completing a middle stint again on soft, then finishing on medium.
• Best alternative strategy: Nico Rosberg would have finished second with a one-stopper (soft- medium) but lost time right at the end of the race following contact with another competitor.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:
“Hungary provides a very different type of challenge to what we’ve seen at Silverstone, but some of the teams used the recent Silverstone test to try out a few ideas that could be relevant to the Hungaroring, so it will be interesting to see what effect this has. The track has been completely resurfaced, and we saw in Austria that this had quite a profound influence as well: we will need to see if this is case in Hungary too, so free practice will be very important.”
• The track has been entirely resurfaced and the circuit infrastructure upgraded this year.
• There is also some new curbing and run-off areas while the effect of the resurfacing has additionally been to smooth out some of the bumps. This should culminate in faster lap times.