It’s almost time for Formula One to pack up for its summer break, but not before the small matter of the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Hungaroring has thrown up no shortage of dramatic moments throughout its 36-season stint on the calendar, producing five first-time winners in the process.
You only have to cast your minds back 12 months to recall the 2021 edition which saw Nicholas Latifi and George Russell lock in the team’s first double points finish in three years.
The tight 4.381km circuit, located 20km northeast of Budapest city centre, is often known as Monaco without the walls thanks to its narrow nature and constant barrage of turns.
The track is no wider than 10 metres throughout its layout, aside from the 15-metre wide pit straight, which doubles up as the first of two DRS zones, presenting the best opportunity for overtaking.
Hosted in the height of the European summer, it can get pretty warm – in fact, the first wet Hungarian Grand Prix didn’t occur until its 21st race, bringing with it a maiden victory for Jenson Button who had started the afternoon in P14.
But, as 2021 proved, the weather can change quickly and it is certainly not a venue where you’d want to get caught with the wrong tyres fitted.
Built in a natural valley, the track features plenty of undulation which is a stark contrast from our venue last weekend. Most of this is found in the opening and closing sectors as the circuit rises up and then falls away from the pit straight and main grandstands.
What are the drivers saying?
Nicholas Latifi has very fond memories of the Hungarian Grand Prix after picking up his first-ever F1 points there last year, and is understandably looking forward to returning:
“I’m excited to go back to Hungary! Last year we had some good memories there with a double points finish.
“It was a track that we seemed to go quite well on so hopefully we can carry over the same this year.
“This is the second time for me using the upgrade package and we’re looking to take the learnings from France to optimise it a little bit more.
“The weather looks unpredictable for Saturday which could present some opportunities that we can take advantage of and have a good weekend.”
WATCH: The Williams Warm-Up, Ep.15 | Budapest beckons
Meanwhile, Alex Albon is clearly a fan of the Hungaroring and is hoping to build on an encouraging display in France, saying: “I’m looking forward to Hungary as it’s a nice, proper driver’s circuit with lots of twists.
“Because of this, qualifying is quite important compared to other circuits. I’m excited to see what we can extract from the new package, as it felt like we had a positive weekend in France so can hopefully build on that for Hungary.
“Some rain is predicted for across the weekend so this will play a part, however last year Williams played a good strategy and it paid off with some points so hopefully we can do something similar.”
From the Pit Wall
Our Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, recognises the potential role that the weather could play in Budapest and is also eager to gather new data and learnings about our upgraded FW44:
“The Hungaroring is a short and twisty circuit where overtaking is difficult and tyre management critical.
“In contrast to the last few races, most teams will run high downforce in Hungary, and we are unlikely to see the swings in rear wing choices that we saw at Silverstone, the Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard.
“The weather forecast looks typical for Budapest at this time of year, with generally hot conditions prevailing but a chance of thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday.
“Tyre compounds are the same as for the French GP, but the nature of the track will mean that we will need to deal with some different limitations this weekend, some of which will be dictated by the weather.
“The long corners will challenge both the tyres and the car balance and will provide a new test of the recent upgrades that we have brought to FW44.”
"The Hungaroring is a short and twisty circuit where overtaking is difficult and tyre management critical."
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Did you know?
In 2021, Nicky became only the fourth Canadian driver to score in World Championship history. Three of these drivers achieved this feat whilst driving for Williams (Nicky, Jacques Villeneuve and Lance Stroll).
Alex Albon comes into this weekend aiming to reach Q2 for the third successive race. In two previous visits to the Hungaroring he has never failed to score points.
Although no Hungarian has ever won a World Championship Grand Prix, Ferenc Szisz wrote
his name into history when he was the victor at the 1906 French GP, the first Grand Prix
event ever held. The 12-lap race around a 103-kilometre track took more than 12 hours for
Szisz to complete. As if to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he also finished second in the 1907 race.
The racetrack itself is found in Mogyoród, a word that derives from the propensity of hazelnut bushes formerly found in the region. Prior to the construction of the Hungaroring the area was most famous for the Battle of Mogyoród which took place on March 14 1074.
One of the most famous structures in Hungary is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. It crosses the Danube river in central Budapest and is actually a larger scale version of a bridge in Marlow, England, located some 45km from our Grove headquarters as the crow flies.
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1992. The FW14B. Words that trigger a real sense of nostalgia here at Williams Racing and beyond.