No sooner had the BMW Sauber F1.06 cars returned to the pits after the Hockenheim GP than they were being packed up ready to set out in the early hours of Monday morning on their 1,000-kilometre journey east to Budapest, where the 13th of 18 ...
No sooner had the BMW Sauber F1.06 cars returned to the pits after the Hockenheim GP than they were being packed up ready to set out in the early hours of Monday morning on their 1,000-kilometre journey east to Budapest, where the 13th of 18 World Championship races takes place this coming Sunday.
The German and Hungarian Grands Prix are the fourth of a total of five back-to-back pairs of races in the 2006 Formula One season. This coupling could hardly be more of a contrast: whereas the Hockenheimring is renowned as an engine circuit, the full-throttle ratio on the tight and twisty Hungaroring is the second lowest of the season, and it demands maximum downforce.
I really enjoy Hungary. I like the Hungaroring and I like Budapest. Its a wonderful old town with beautiful old buildings and theres always something going on there. Budapest is a good place for going out and for eating. It was on the Hungaroring in 1999 that I claimed an early title win in Formula 3000, and we certainly celebrated that in true style. Thats something I like to think back on, naturally."
"After Monaco, the circuit is the slowest on the Formula One calendar. It has a lot of turns and hardly any straights. The circuit layout in itself makes driving there a strain, and at this time of year it tends to be very hot in Budapest. Away from the racing line the circuit is always really dirty and its easy to lose time. Its extremely difficult to overtake there.
I have some good memories of the track as I have won there. I always sleep in the motorhome at the track so I dont have many memories of the city. It is always a very physical and long race, and it is exhausting. They have not made much of a change to the circuit and it has not made it any more interesting to drive. Im not sure how competitive we will be. This is the one track we have got left to go to this season that is a bit of a worry for me.
I have competed there once, in 2001 in my first year of racing in Formula Renault, and actually it was my first race when I got closer to the pace. Its a Mickey Mouse track, stop and go all the time. I have never driven a Formula One car there. I went there in 1997 it was the first and last Grand Prix I visited as a spectator. I said to everybody: I dont like to watch and I will never go to another Grand Prix unless I am driving. Its funny, I was twelve, and Jacques won there, and now were working together. So life has changed.
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:
Two races in eight days is always a huge strain. A lot of the crew dont even make it home between GPs. Dismantling, assembly, vehicle preparation and transportation all have to be done under intense time pressure. Theres no time for testing. In terms of its full-throttle percentage, the Hungaroring barely rates higher than Monaco."
"But in Budapest weve often had to contend with extreme thermal loads on the engines. The heat builds up in the depressions of the race track, and theres no long straight either. Cool air is in short supply. After the races in Hockenheim and Budapest, Formula One will take a well-earned rest. The next test sessions dont start until after the Turkish Grand Prix.
Willy Rampf, Technical Director:
Even after switching to the smaller V8 engines, this tortuous circuit demands maximum downforce. The track takes on a lot of sand every day and grip is low as a result, which can cause understeer. Generally the choice is in favour of soft tyre compounds. When it comes to set-up, you have to focus on the second sector with its many medium- fast corner combinations."
"Cooling is invariably an issue in Hungary: on the one hand its due to the high air temperatures you usually get there, on the other hand there are hardly any passing opportunities, so you often get several cars slipstreaming behind one another. That doesnt allow for much cooling air either.