Following the three-week August break from the FIA Formula One World Championship, the West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Budapest for round 13, the 2002 Hungarian Grand Prix. The team arrives in Eastern Europe in third place in the...
Following the three-week August break from the FIA Formula One World Championship, the West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Budapest for round 13, the 2002 Hungarian Grand Prix. The team arrives in Eastern Europe in third place in the Constructors' Championship, with 49 points. David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen occupy fifth and sixth in the Drivers' table with 32 and 17 points respectively.
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been held at the Hungaroring, which was purpose built for Formula One, since the inaugural event in 1986. Located 12 miles/19 km north of Budapest, the circuit is set in a natural valley surrounded by rolling countryside.
In recent years the West McLaren Mercedes team has secured two victories at the Hungarian race, with Mika Hakkinen taking back-to-back wins in 1999 and 2000. David also achieved podium finishes in both years. In 2001, Mika set the current Hungaroring lap record, with a time of 1m16.723.
Since the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix, which took place over the last weekend of July, the West McLaren Mercedes team has been preparing for the Hungarian race back at base in Woking, due to the ban on testing during the summer break.
"After a relaxing and refreshing break, I am now looking forward to getting back to racing this weekend. After Monaco, the 2.470 miles/3.975 km Hungaroring is the slowest and shortest track on the calendar. It also has a similar tight and windy nature and is consequently notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities. The only real possibility is under braking at the hairpin at the end of the pit straight. This increases the importance of qualifying at the front of the grid and the run down to the first corner at the start of the race. The circuit is also located close to Budapest, which is a beautiful city and one I always enjoy visiting."
"The fantastic atmosphere at the Hungarian Grand Prix really stuck in my mind last year. For some reason, there are always a lot of Finnish fans at the event, and they are very enthusiastic! It felt like a home race last year and I am looking forward to experiencing that again this weekend. The constant cornering and abrasive nature of the track can lead to a high level of tyre degradation, so strategy and tyre choice will be crucial. The hot weather and dusty conditions at the Hungaroring will also influence the race. The circuit is incredibly dirty off the racing line, which means that any slight transgression will greatly affect your lap time."
MARTIN WHITMARSH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, McLAREN INTERNATIONAL
"In total contrast to the last race at Hockenheim, the Hungaroring displays similar characteristics to Monaco, a circuit where the West McLaren Mercedes package proved to be competitive this year. The circuit poses an interesting technical challenge for the teams. Influencing factors include the set-up compromise that is required, a consequence of the combination of twisty, slow corners and the fast 700-metre straight."
NORBERT HAUG, VICE-PRESIDENT, MERCEDES-BENZ MOTORSPORT
"During the 'summer break' without testing since the German Grand Prix, the whole team has been busy preparing ourselves for the last five Grands Prix of the season. This weekend's circuit, the Hungaroring, is a rather slow one and offers only one real overtaking opportunity at the end of the front straight. Therefore we have to improve, particularly in Qualifying, to have a good basis for the race."