Hungarian GP Benetton preview

Pat Symonds, Technical Director of the Mild Seven Benetton Playlife team: Pat Symonds: "As it is not possible to test at the Hungaroring, the team has spent three days in Valencia which is felt to be the nearest simulation that can be made...

Pat Symonds, Technical Director of the Mild Seven Benetton Playlife team:

Pat Symonds:
"As it is not possible to test at the Hungaroring, the team has spent three days in Valencia which is felt to be the nearest simulation that can be made to the Hungarian Grand Prix. During this testing the new bodywork package was evaluated and found to be satisfactory and will therefore be used at this weekend's grand prix. In addition, a lot of general chassis and engine set-up work was carried out and a concentration made on starts with Giancarlo and Alex carrying out around 80 starts during the three days of testing. The test was very successful, a good balance was found and the results bode well for the weekend."

"Going from Hockenheim to Budapest is always a challenge as we go from the second fastest to the second slowest circuit in the Formula 1 calendar. At 3.9 km the circuit is also very short which keeps the drivers busy and this, coupled with the normal high temperatures of Central Europe in August, can lead to a high rate of driver fatigue."

"The circuit is one of the most difficult to overtake on. One of the few opportunities is at the end of the pit straight, however it is very difficult to follow a car through the last corner and due to the circuit being dirty off line, even if it is possible to pass into the corner, the leading car often drifts wide and is re-overtaken on the exit. Therefore qualifying positions and the start are all important and hence our concentration on starts at the test last week in Valencia."

"The nature of the circuit is very low grip and this coupled with the slow average speed leads to maximum downforce being used. The race is generally a two-stop race, although some success has been had with three stops and last year there were also some attempts at a single stop. It is a difficult circuit to set the cars up for, the long 180¡ corners tending to give a lot of understeer and compromises have to be made to minimise this."

"Tyre choice will not be obvious as performance between the soft and the extra-soft Bridgestone's is likely to be quite similar. It is expected that there will be more variety of tyre choice on the grid than usual."

Alexander Wurz:
"The lap of Hungary starts on the main straight which is quite low speed as we only reach 285 km/h although this is the highest speed attained on this circuit. The first corner is a very long third gear right-hand hairpin which is taken at about 120 km/h. The length of the corner and the fact that the circuit drops down makes the car understeer quite badly here, but it is important to keep on line as the circuit is very dirty off line."

"Having exited the corner I reach around 235 km/h in 4th gear before braking again for a 2nd gear 100 km/h left-hand corner. This leads into a right-hander which is taken flat in Qualifying and on to the back straight where I reach 280 km/h. I then brake for the fastest corner on the circuit, the185 km/h 4th gear left-hander which leads immediately into a 3rd gear right-hand 125 km/h corner. Again I briefly accelerate up to 235 km/h before entering the tight 2nd gear chicane the first part of which is taken at about 90 km/h and the second left-hand part at around 135 km/h. This then leads into a left-right sequence taken in 3rd gear, both corners being taken at around 135km/h."

"A flat left-hand curve leads into the 180 km/h 4th gear corner which starts a long sequence where 4th gear is held through a 240 km/h right-hand corner and a short straight which leads down to the penultimate left-hand 2nd gear behind the pits which is taken at 88 km/h. Finally I climb back up through the final 3rd gear turn which is taken at c120 km/h, a good exit from this being important to get speed on the pit straight."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Alexander Wurz
Teams Benetton