July 17th, 2020

Robert's guide to the Hungaroring

After the unprecedented spectacle of two consecutive races at the Red Bull Ring, Formula One travels across the border to the Hungaroring, a track used for the first time in 1986 and a regular on the calendar ever since.

The circuit in the outskirts of Budapest is a special place for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver Robert Kubica, who made his F1 debut with the team in Hungary back in 2006.

That debut race produced a superb seventh in a dramatic rain-hit race, only for the result to be voided when the car was deemed to be marginally underweight, a discrepancy caused by the slight difference in weight between wet and slick tyres. Kubica made amends by finishing fifth in the same venue the following year.

Having enjoyed a run in this year’s Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN car in FP1 at the Styrian Grand Prix, Robert will have another chance to log miles in the car on Friday morning. Here he gives us his guide to this weekend’s venue.

“The Hungaroring is one of the closest circuits to my heart, partly because I made my debut here in 2006, but also because there has been always massive support from Poland. It all contributes to make this a very special place for me.

“The track is one of the trickiest circuits on the calendar, with a lot of corner-into-corner sections. There is not really any time to breathe or to rest. The start/finish line is actually the only place where we go straight for a bit, otherwise there are always sections where you finish one corner and you have to think straight away about the next one. It’s a demanding track from a driving point of view but it’s also a big challenge mentally.

“From a car point of view, we have seen in the past that having a well-balanced car makes a massive difference here. If it’s warm, and it tends to be very hot here, then this difference is even bigger, because the tyres are suffering a lot more. They have a really hard time around this track.

“It’s a high downforce track, there aren’t really any fast sections and there are just two fast high-speed corners. Most of the corners are medium- to low-speed corners where you need a good balance and good general mechanical grip from the car. You need to focus more on extracting the maximum grip from your car, and not really about the top speed or efficiency.

“We were among the quickest cars on the straights in Austria, but I don’t think that will necessarily affect us negatively in Hungary. We have a package which can work well here, but a lot will depend on the conditions we find.

“Of course, this is not the track that rewards efficiency the most. If you have downforce, that’s obviously a positive, but being far from perfect in this aspect will not lose you a massive amount of time. The key is purely about the downforce and mechanical grip.”