|Events||Formula One; GP2|
|Record driver||Michael Schumacher|
The Hungaroring is a Formula One race-track near Budapest, Hungary, location of the Hungarian Grand Prix. It became the location for the first Formula 1 Grand Prix behind the Iron Curtain in 1986. Bernie Ecclestone wanted a race in the USSR but a friend of his of Hungarian origin advised him to try Budapest. They wanted a city-track like the Circuit de Monaco built in the Népliget - Budapest's biggest park - but the communist government decided to build a whole new track just outside the city, beside a major highway. The track itself was built in a record-breaking 8 months, and after 20 years it is still the Formula One track built in the least time.
Hot and dusty are the two best words to describe the Hungaroring. Held in the middle of a central European summer, it is a circuit in the Grand Prix calendar that saw its first wet race in the 2006 season. The circuit is generally dusty due to underuse throughout the season, and this dustiness is heightened by the circuit's location in a valley near Budapest, attracting dust and litter from the city. Its location on sandy soil also means that if a car drops a wheel off the track, it kicks up massive clouds of dust.
Normally an underused circuit becomes faster over the weekend as the track rubbers in; however, with the Hungaroring this generally does not happen, because the track can get so dusty so quickly. This is a circuit where there is often a heightened advantage to running late in qualifying.
Due to the nature of the circuit - twisty and dusty off the racing line - overtaking is rare. Despite this fact, the Hungaroring often brings the most exciting and remarkable moments of the season, like the great duels of Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell's lost wheel in 1987, Damon Hill's dramatic race with an Arrows in 1997, maiden wins for Fernando Alonso in 2003 and Jenson Button in 2006 in the track's first ever wet GP, and many more
Hungaroring has crowned two drivers in its 20 year history: although it is held in the middle of the season both Nigel Mansell in 1992 and Michael Schumacher in 2004 were able to win the World Championship title at such an early point of the season. Moreover, both Hungary's Zsolt Baumgartner and Poland's Robert Kubica made their debut on this track as the first F1 drivers of their countries. The WilliamsF1 Team also secured the constructors Championship at the Hungaroring in 1996.
The 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix was the first wet grand prix at the Hungaroring. This resulted in an even more exciting, incident packed race that saw the retirement of many drivers including championship rivals Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher and gave Jenson Button and the reborn Honda F1 team their first win. Fernando Alonso also earned his first Grand Prix victory at this in 2003, claiming it his favourite track as a result.
According to statements and interviews, drivers are divided about the track. While many like Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso etc claimed to love it, many others consider the track, and the Hungarian Grand Prix too slow, too hot and too demanding. Austrian Gerhard Berger called the Hungarian Grand Prix as a home race during his career. Thousands of Austrians hopped over to Hungary only for him each year. The technical driving centre of the Hungaroring held his name from 1998 until 2005 but it was changed to Allianz. The track also has a curve named after Nigel Mansell.
While most of the foreign fans are from Germany and Austria the Hungaroring has traditionally seen a large influx of Finnish fans too. And with the gone of the Austrian Grand Prix of Zeltweg this is the closest Formula One event for fans from other central European countries. The race of 2006 has seen many of them from Poland due to the debut of their first Formula1 driver Robert Kubica.
Some say that the Hungaroring is similar in style to Circuit de Monaco, due to its tight and twisty corners. A first change in the track layout was carried out in 1989, when the chicane after the actual turn 3 was removed. In 2003, the main straight (turn 1, see diagram) was lengthened by roughly 200 m, and the hairpin at the end of the straight was also tightened in an attempt to facilitate more overtaking opportunities, as well as a tightening of what was Turn 13. However, this is largely seen to have failed. The circuit is flat, with the only notable change in elevation being a valley in the straight after Turn 3.
The Hungaroring is the home of Hungarian motorsport. Besides Formula One there were also DTM, WTCC, FIA GT races in its short, but rich history. Even a public drag race event takes place every month.
- Hungaroring Circuit History and Statistics
- Satellite picture by Google Maps
- Ciro Pabón's Racetracks 3D views and virtual laps of all F1 circuits, including this one, via Google Earth