Hungarian GP: BMW Sauber preview

The recent drama-packed race on the Nurburgring sparked memories of the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix on a similarly wet track. Budapest is the next stopping-off point for Formula One: on 5th August, the 11th of 17 World Championship rounds will be...

The recent drama-packed race on the Nurburgring sparked memories of the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix on a similarly wet track. Budapest is the next stopping-off point for Formula One: on 5th August, the 11th of 17 World Championship rounds will be held on the tight and twisty Hungaroring.

In terms of the technical demands this winding track makes on cars, it bears closest comparison with the Monaco circuit. In the past the Budapest race has made a name for itself as a hot contest in the most literal sense, yet last year the Hungarian capital turned out to be cool and rainy.

Whereas back in Germany and Switzerland people were wondering whether they would see any more summer weather in 2007, the test team with Robert Kubica in Jerez were also able to prepare for potentially hot conditions in the high summer temperatures they encountered at the Spanish track.

Nick Heidfeld:

"Last year I came third in Budapest - it was the first podium place for our team. It was a chaotic race. Normally Budapest in August means very hot weather, but last year it was raining. The circuit was wet at the start of the race, and it remained cool throughout the weekend."

"I have a lot of fond memories of the Hungaroring. It was there that I also secured an early title win in Formula 3000 back in 1999 - and celebrated in style. The city is beautiful. I love the old buildings, the bridges across the Danube and the whole atmosphere. In summer there's always a lot going on; it's a great place for going out at night."

"The circuit itself is short, twisty and usually very dirty at the start of the weekend. The races there are often pretty exhausting as there are no long straights where you can catch your breath. But I enjoy driving there and hope we will be as strong again as in 2006."

Robert Kubica:

"It is good to be back in Hungary because I made my F1 debut there last year. I feel my first full season in Formula One will be completed. I am really looking forward to it, especially because it is close to my home country, so probably a lot of people will come. Last year I finished in the points, but we were disqualified."

"Honestly, I like the track. It is special because nearly all the time you have some steering angle, so you never have a break and the straights are very short. I think it is a difficult track, but we performed very well in Monaco so I hope our performance in Hungary will be at least as good or even better."

"If it is hot probably it will have been a good preparation for this at the Jerez test as I was driving there on all the days, so I will be well prepared and am not really worried. Of course it will make life harder and specially for tyre usage and degradation, but let's see. Last year we were testing for very hot conditions and it was under 20 degrees and raining, so anything can happen."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

"In a similar scenario to the last race on the Nurburgring, the weather during the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix made for an extremely exciting race with lots of incidents. The miserable weather in Budapest at the height of summer was quite unusual, but we nevertheless have glowing memories of that Grand Prix as it was there that Nick claimed the first podium place for our new team, and Robert made his impressive racing debut in Formula One."

"In terms of its full-throttle percentage, the twisty Hungaroring is at the lower end of the scale. But with the high air temperatures there, we have often experienced extreme thermal conditions for the engines because the heat builds up in the valley and there are no long straights where the engines can cool down. Both our cars will be given fresh BMW P86/7 engines, according to schedule."

"BMW Hungary is a young and dynamic subsidiary of the BMW Group. It was only set up in May 2004, and in the first two years sales figures have grown by a total of 86 percent."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:

"After Monaco, the Hungaroring has the lowest average speed. There's one turn after another and the start/finish straight is fairly short. As a result, maximum downforce is the order of the day. There are hardly any passing opportunities, which makes it very important to get a good starting position The track picks up a lot of sand from day to day and the grip level is low, making good traction a crucial factor."

"The circuit's characteristics, in conjunction with frequently high air and track temperatures, demand maximum cooling. We have prepared for this race by developing a particularly efficient cooling system."

"When it comes to the car's set-up, the focus is primarily on the middle section with its various turn combinations, where a balanced set-up is crucial. As the BMW Sauber F1.07 proved to be fast on the last three high-downforce circuits, I expect we will be very competitive in Hungary as well."

-credit: bmw sauber

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber