The Hungarian Grand Prix will be the final event before the F1 fraternity takes its annual summer break. Held at the Hungaroring outside the vibrant Hungarian capital Budapest, it’s a popular event on the calendar, but one that still requires some serious concentration. The twisty 4.381km circuit is often compared to a kart track, with one slow speed corner leading into another in very quick succession. This sinuous nature gives rise to the second lowest average speed over a lap (after Monaco), so engine engineers work to deliver good low speed torque response and driveability.
Renault engines have historically performed well at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Williams-Renault package won the race five times in the 1990s, with Fernando Alonso taking the Renault F1 Team’s first-ever victory in 2003. Mark Webber won for Red Bull Racing in 2010. This year’s race also marks the 20th anniversary of the first Williams-Renault championship success; Nigel Mansell secured his first drivers’ title in 1992.
Power sensitivity and outright engine power is not a major concern at the Hungaroring as the race has one of the slowest average speeds on the calendar, just 182kph. In fact the start-finish straight and the 790m straight between turns three and four are the only parts of the track where the engine is used at maximum revs. Only 55% of the lap is taken at full throttle, very similar to Singapore.
Average temperatures over the past years have been around the 26°C mark, putting an emphasis on efficient cooling solutions. These high ambient temperatures are compounded by the point-squirt nature of the track, where the engine has little time to ‘breathe’.
Sector two is the twistiest part of the track as cars will not reach any more than 245kph as they negotiate mainly third gear corners. All the corners seem to link together — turn five is a radial corner and patience on the throttle is rewarded as there are lots of bumps that upset the balance of the car.
The Hungaroring is set in a very dusty amphitheatre and the levels of airborne dust and sand will be very high. The particles will be very abrasive for the engine internals, but the high grade filter developed by Renault, which is based on desert rallying filters, should avoid any undue wear and tear.