HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
HUNGARORING - BUDAPEST
Hungarian GP: all you need to know
The Hungarian Grand Prix was first held in 1986 and has been staged continuously since then with all races run at the Hungaroring in the height of summer. This event is usually the final round prior to the season’s summer break, when racing and all factory activity has to stop, creating a watershed moment in the year.
That means everyone wants to do well there, because there’s no better way to go on holiday than with the winner’s trophy from the Hungarian GP in your hands.
Fun and frustration at the Hungarian GP
When the Formula 1 circus first came here in ’86, Hungary wasn’t quite the Forbidden City, but it did provide a tantalising glimpse of life in “Eastern” Europe, with armed border guards, austere living conditions and a sense you were stepping back in time. It was often said that Budapest was a great city to go shopping if there was anything you had forgotten to buy in the Sixties!
These days, it’s a bustling modern city, apart from the magnificent historic buildings and its most appealing natural feature, the River Danube that cuts it into Buda and Pest, the two sides joined by some spectacular bridges.
The actual Hungaroring circuit is fun and frustrating all at the same time: driving a single lap of this twisty “Monaco without the barriers” is a challenge enjoyed by all the drivers, but on race day, the difficulties of overtaking, despite the main straight being lengthened a few years back, can make for the occasional traffic jam.
A glorious past.
The Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix has been held at the Hungaroring since 1986. But the first real motor race to take place in Budapest dates back to 1936, long before Formula 1 was created. It was held in the Népliget park and was won by Tazio Nuvolari.
The track is very narrow and twisty, with overtaking being far from straightforward, but not impossible. The most famous charge up the order took place in 1989 courtesy of Nigel Mansell, who managed to win in his Ferrari, having started from 12th on the grid.
A lot of corners!
The particularly curvy nature of this circuit prompts comparisons with a karting track. For the drivers, it’s all about getting into a flowing rhythm to tackle the endless corners, with no chance to catch your breath! The cars run with a lot of aerodynamic downforce, almost on a par with Monaco.