McLaren Hungarian GP preview

The Hungarian Grand Prix sees the return of the FIA Formula One World Championship following the August break from the 2001 race and test schedule. The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives at the twisty Hungaroring aiming for...

The Hungarian Grand Prix sees the return of the FIA Formula One World Championship following the August break from the 2001 race and test schedule. The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives at the twisty Hungaroring aiming for a repeat of last year's victory to strengthen the second positions currently held in both the Constructors' and Drivers' World Championships, the team with 66 points and David Coulthard on 47.

Since the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix, which was held during the last weekend of July, the West McLaren Mercedes team has been preparing for the thirteenth race of the season at its Woking headquarters due to the three-week ban on testing.

The Hungarian Grand Prix was introduced in 1986 at the Hungaroring, a modern facility which was built with Formula One in mind. Since the inaugural race, McLaren has won the event five times, the first of which was in 1988 with Ayrton Senna at the wheel. Recent years have seen success for the West McLaren Mercedes team at the Hungaroring, with Mika Hakkinen securing two consecutive victories in 1999 and 2000 with David also achieving podium finishes in both years.

DAVID COULTHARD
"The Hungaroring offers limited overtaking opportunities, with the only real chance under braking at the end of the pit straight, so Saturday's qualifying session is very important. The hot weather and dusty conditions add to the challenge of the race, however we are well prepared and determined to improve on the results of the last race"

MIKA HAKKINEN
"I am looking forward to Hungary as it's a special race for me. With the number of enthusiastic Finns who attend each year, the atmosphere is always fantastic, it's almost like my home race and I am hoping to achieve the same result as last year. Car set-up is particularly important at the Hungaroring in order to maximise performance in the twisty sections and the contrasting fast pit straight."

RON DENNIS
"The Hungarian Grand Prix always poses an interesting technical challenge and the West McLaren Mercedes team has been working hard at the factory during the August break, focusing on the optimisation of the teams performance for Hungary and the remaining four races."

Track Trivia
Located 12 miles / 19km Northeast of Budapest, the Hungaroring is the second slowest circuit on the calendar, due to its narrow track and slow, tight corners.

The 2.470/3.975km track has a bumpy and dusty surface. This abrasive nature, coupled with constant cornering, can lead to high levels of tyre degradation.

Lap of the Hungaroring -- Alex Wurz, West McLaren Mercedes third driver

A lap of the Hungaroring starts with hard acceleration along the start-finish straight, reaching the fastest speed on the circuit, 183mph/296kph in seventh gear, as you approach of turn one. The long, downhill right-hander is entered at 75mph/120kph in third gear and sees your speed increase as you exit in fourth gear at 135mph/217kph. As the circuit drops through the corner you can suffer from understeer, it's crucial to ensure you stay on the racing line as the Hungaroring is very dirty offline. A burst on the throttle along the short straight, which takes you to turn two, sees you reach 140mph/225kph in fourth gear before braking for the long left hander, which you take at 60mph/96kph in second gear. The exit of turn two takes you into the sweeping right-hander of turn three, which leads onto the back straight. Working your way up through the gears, you reach 175mph/280kph in sixth gear along the straight before dabbing the brakes as you enter the fastest corner on the circuit. The left-hander is taken at 120mph/192kph in fourth gear before climbing uphill, reaching 140mph/225kph in fourth gear, on the approach to turn five. This long, bumpy right-hander is taken at 85mph/128kph in third gear. On the exit you push hard on the throttle along the short straight which leads to the chicane of turns six and seven. Reaching 140mph/225kph in fourth gear, you brake hard for the tight right-left flick of the chicane, which is negotiated at 60mph/96kph in second gear. The chicane is followed immediately by turn eight, a third gear left-hander. Taken at 80mph/128kph its leads you into the right hand of turn nine, which is negotiated at the same speed. On the exit you push hard on the throttle, accelerating through the slight left kink of turn ten and reaching some 155mph/248kph in fifth gear, before braking to 115mph/185kph in fourth, for the right hand of turn 11, which tightens as you drive through the corner. Exiting turn 11, you reach 150mph/240kph in fourth gear along a short straight towards the downhill, right-left chicane of turn 12. On the approach to turn 13, you reach 135mph/217kph in fourth gear, before braking hard for the slowest corner on the track. The long left-hander is taken at 55mph/88kph in second gear. The final right-hander, which mirrors turn one at the other end of the pit straight, is negotiated at 84mph/136kph in third gear, and takes you back onto the start-finish straight.

-WMM-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Alexander Wurz
Teams Mercedes , McLaren