MICHELIN ENTERS THE LABYRINTH Although Hungary is often perceived as a relative Formula One newcomer, this year's grand prix will be the nation's 20th. The event has been ever-present on the calendar since 1986, when Nelson...
MICHELIN ENTERS THE LABYRINTH
Although Hungary is often perceived as a relative Formula One newcomer, this year's grand prix will be the nation's 20th. The event has been ever-present on the calendar since 1986, when Nelson Piquet (Williams-Honda) made a little bit of history by winning the first F1 world championship race to be staged in eastern Europe.
Host venue the Hungaroring is located a short drive from capital city Budapest and is renowned as one of the most physically demanding of all F1 tracks - a by-product of its tight, twisting nature and habitually ferocious ambient temperatures. Previous races have always been scheduled in mid-August, but this year's event has been brought forward to late July as part of a calendar shuffle to accommodate the new Turkish GP.
Michelin did not take part in the Hungarian GP until 2001 and scored a landmark victory here two seasons ago - the first race on a lengthened, but still labyrinthine, circuit - when Fernando Alonso (Renault) spearheaded a clean sweep of the top seven places.
That day the Spaniard also became the youngest driver ever to win a world championship grand prix, at the age of 22 years and 27 days. Alonso - who leads the 2005 title race - was also Michelin's highest finisher in last season's corresponding fixture, when he took third place.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"The Hungarian track is quite distinctive and features lots of corners and relatively low average lap speeds - about 190km/h (less than 120mph). The circuit's labyrinthine nature and traditionally high ambient temperatures mean we favour harder race compounds in order to optimise consistency over a full race distance."
"Although the Hungaroring is a permanent racetrack, it is used far les than many other grand prix venues. Add that to the naturally dusty surroundings and you have a recipe for very slippery conditions at the start of a race weekend, although things naturally evolve once a little rubber has been laid down."
"The modest main straight apart, drivers are constantly turning, accelerating and braking- and that makes it a relentless environment for tyres. We had that very much in mind when conducting our preparatory work and finalising appropriate compounds."
Günther Steiner, technical director, Red Bull Racing:
"For Hungary you need to be confident that your chosen tyre won't wear too quickly. The main issue is potential blistering of the rears due to the high track temperatures. Budapest is a very demanding circuit for tyres, but we recently evaluated a range of compounds in Jerez, where conditions were similar to those we'll face in Hungary. I believe the tyres we have selected will be ideal for the conditions."