Everything you need to know about the Hungaroring circuit
This weekend, the Formula 1 circus makes its way to the Hungaroring in Hungary for round 11 of the 2021 Formula 1 season. The Hungaroring is quite unique when compared to other tracks in the calendar, as it resembles a traditional circuit with characteristics of a go-kart circuit — plenty of twists and turns with not too many long straights. High downforce and a well-balanced chassis are preferred by most of the teams, over pure speed. But what makes this circuit so special? And what can we expect at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix? Let’s find out!
The Hungaroring was the first track to host a Formula 1 race from behind the Iron Curtain in 1986. To the people who may not know what the Iron Curtain is, let us paint you a picture. USSR (Modern Russia) thought it would be cool not to let anyone into their country and to successfully do this, the USSR decided to capture a few neighbouring countries as a buffer. The captured countries were collectively called the Iron Curtain.
However, Bernie Ecclestone peeked through the Iron Curtain in 1985 and managed to push the Hungaroring project to reality. The first Grand Prix at the Hungaroring in 1986 attracted a staggering crowd of 2 lakh people, even after the relatively high entry fee. The Hungaroring has been a part of the Formula 1 calendar ever since that race, and even made it to the 2020 calendar where quite a few of the regulars were dropped. In its life span, the Hungaroring has been modified three times with the most recent change being done in 2003.
In total, the Hungaroring has 14 turns, two main straights and two DRS zones. Both straights are quite narrow which will hamper the true potential of the DRS. Turns 5 to 11 are a string of mid- to low-speed corners and demand high downforce and a well-sorted chassis from the F1 cars. The race distance decided for the weekend is 306kms which will be completed in 70 laps around the circuit. Lewis Hamilton has won at the Hungaroring a record eight times and also holds the lap record at 1:16.627 (2020).
Now that you’re well versed with the past, let’s talk about what you can expect from the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. Well, we expect the Ferraris to be strong here as their recent performance in the Monaco Grand Prix showcased their strengths in the low speed corners. Their main rivals, McLaren Racing, have not performed well on this circuit in the turbo-hybrid era, but with the Mercedes engine on the car, their true competitiveness will be revealed during the free practice and qualifying sessions. Aston Martin Racing might struggle here as the AMR21 has looked uncomfortable with the low rake philosophy all through the 2021 Formula 1 season. And with that, we come to the two frontrunners — Red Bull Racing Honda and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. Red Bull has had an upper hand on the Mercedes in terms of sheer downforce and with the unstable rear-end looking sorted, they could prove to be a handful for the German manufacturers. But that’s without taking into account Lewis Hamilton who has won at the Hungaroring a record eight times, and with the championship battle heating to a boil, we should get to some really close battles between him and Max Verstappen.
The Hungarian GP weekend kicks off with Free Practice 1 on July 31 at 6:30pm with the Grand Prix being hosted on August 1 at 6:30pm IST. Stay tuned to evo India for updates over the race weekend. You can also follow the live updates over the weekend on Motorsport India’s twitter handle. You can watch the race on Star Sports Select HD2, Hotstar and the F1TV app.