Chassis Technical Director, Nick Chester, discusses the twists, turns and temperatures of the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary.
What are the challenges of the Hungaroring?
The track is tight, with lots of low speed corners. The only long burst of full throttle is the pit straight. We run in a high downforce configuration, one of only four times over a season we will run it, along with Monaco, Singapore and Mexico. The average speed is therefore low, but it is hard on the tyres, in particular the rears. There aren’t many overtaking possibilities, and qualifying becomes even more critical than at other races.
We are in the middle of a European heatwave. How do these temperatures affect the cars?
The Hungarian Grand Prix is statistically the hottest race of the year. Rain is rare, but it was wet in qualifying last year, so it’s not unheard of. Typically, however, ambient temperatures are very high, often in the high 30s for the entire weekend. We have a bodywork package we can use for extreme heat, which is more open to allow greater heat dissipation. It is likely we will use this in Mexico too, where temperatures can also be very elevated. The heat is very tough on the drivers, who get no rest with the lack of straights. The heat and long duration of the race make it one of the most physical of the year.
A few weeks now until the next race, the Belgian Grand Prix. What are the plans over the summer break?
Everyone is tired after an intensive start the season, but the break will be a chance to recharge the batteries and focus on a significant programme of upgrades we plan to introduce in the second part of the year.