Hungarian GP: Williams preview

The Event The thirteenth round of the season takes Formula One to the beautiful city of Budapest for the 21st Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, Sunday 6 August. Hungary has been a regular fixture on the Formula One calendar since its debut in...

The Event

The thirteenth round of the season takes Formula One to the beautiful city of Budapest for the 21st Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, Sunday 6 August. Hungary has been a regular fixture on the Formula One calendar since its debut in 1986 and was the first Grand Prix to take place in Eastern Europe. Located just 20 miles to the north east of the city on the edge of Mogyorod, the track itself is nestled within the Three Springs Valley and offers some of the best spectator viewing facilities of the season.

With a record seven race wins, including two one-two victories, Williams has won more races in Hungary than any other team in the history of the sport. For the last race prior to the three week summer break, the team are determined to capitalise upon the upturn in performance demonstrated in Germany and secure a points finish.

Between the races

The second leg of a double header, time between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix has been limited so both drivers have taken the opportunity to head home for a few short days' break. Nico is spending a couple of days with his parents in Zell am See, in Austria, while team mate, Mark, has returned to his home in the UK.

Making the car go faster

With no scope for any track testing between the two races, the team will be relying upon work undertaken at the last two Jerez tests and data accrued from extensive testing carried out in the two wind tunnels. In anticipation of the track's twisty nature and lack of long straights, both FW28s will utilise the maximum downforce aero package in Budapest. This is similar to the Monaco level that was extremely competitive for Williams, but with some further revisions to the engine cover, rear wing and ancillary wings.

Hungary from a technical perspective

In stark contrast to Hockenheim, the Hungaroring is a tight and twisty race track at which the drivers have to manage 16 slow speed corners in just one 4.3km lap. Combined with some of the shortest straights seen on the calendar, a maximum downforce package and a well balanced car for riding the kerbs is essential to achieve a competitive lap time.

Engines will enjoy some comparative respite this weekend as the cars will rev at full throttle for a maximum of 51% of the lap while average speeds will range between just 90km/h and 300km/h. Torque will, however, be a critical requirement of the engine to power the cars out of such slow speed corners, as will good mechanical grip and good traction.

Another effect of the corner sequencing will see the tyres experience intense thermal loads in Hungary as repetitive braking, cornering and acceleration events over the 70 lap race will leave little opportunity for cooling. Together with the high ambient temperatures common to Hungary which will push track temperatures in excess of 50°C, the tyre war will be at its peak this weekend.

Dust can also cause problems at the Hungarian Grand Prix, particularly for the tyre selection, as the dirty track at the start of the race weekend distorts the data ahead of qualifying. Although the circuit evolves throughout the weekend, the track offers little grip off the racing line so the opportunities for overtaking during the race are few and always risky. Qualifying position and pit-stop strategy could therefore define the race result.

Mark Webber:

"Budapest is usually a tough race for the teams because it is hard to overtake even though the track layout has changed a little bit. The races are generally based on attrition while qualifying well is also crucial. Our car might be reasonably well suited to the track, but we'll see how our tyre selection goes. Although we didn't score points at Hockenheim, the car is working better so we'll be looking to improve upon our reliability and get in the top eight this weekend."

"The weather is always nice and hot at Budapest, especially at the circuit where the temperatures can really ramp up as there's no breeze. This, in turn, presents the drivers with a tough challenge as the lap is very busy, meaning lots of corners and short straights, so fitness is very important, as is the correct hydration preparation. I enjoy Budapest a lot -- we don't have many races that are so close to a city so it's always nice to get back from the circuit at a sensible time each evening and to soak up the atmosphere of a busy city."

Nico Rosberg:

"We expect to have a good race at the Hungaroring because it has similar characteristics to the Monaco track, where we were very strong this year. In addition to that, we showed that we have made some improvements in Hockenheim and we hope to carry on that momentum. Hungary is a track I like and I was fastest there last year in GP2, a whole second ahead of everyone else. We should expect very high temperatures for this race, but we have been racing in hot conditions so many times this season I am getting used to the extreme heat."

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1:

"Hungaroring is a particularly technical circuit where it is crucial for the driver to find a good rhythm round the lap as the corners come in quick succession. The track's configuration demands maximum downforce while set-up must take into account the propensity for some understeer. Throughout the race weekend, track conditions change a lot more than is usually the case as more and more rubber goes down from the cars during the practice sessions."

"Changing conditions mean the engineers will be chasing a perfect set-up in time for qualifying while, due to the lack of overtaking opportunities, a good balance is also essential. The FW28 showed a definite performance improvement in Germany which we hope to improve upon in Hungary, a track we've traditionally enjoyed success at."

Chris Jilbert, Principal Engineer, F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth:

"Both Mark and Nico will have fresh Cosworth CA2006 engines for the forthcoming Grand Prix in Hungary. Although it is not a particularly demanding circuit for the engine, the Hungaroring presents some unique driveability challenges for our calibration engineers. Following the disappointments of the German Grand Prix, we are looking forward to another strong performance, hopefully with a more rewarding ending!"


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Nico Rosberg
Teams Williams