Hungarian Grand Prix - Preview - 1-3 August 2008
Round eleven of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship takes the Honda Racing F1 Team to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The 70-lap race is one of the most technically and physically demanding of the year, thanks to the twisting and tortuous nature of the 4.381km (2.722-mile) Hungaroring.
Hungary has been a regular fixture on the F1 calendar since 1986, when more than 200,000 people turned up to see Nelson Piquet win the inaugural race in a Williams-Honda. Since then Honda has won at the Hungaroring on five further occasions, the most recent victory coming in2006 when Jenson Button emerged victorious from the only wet race in the Hungarian Grand Prix's history. Rubens Barrichello has also his share of success at the track, having won the race for Ferrari in 2002.
The Honda Racing F1 Team heads to Hungary on the back of a successful four-day test session at Jerez last week, where various updates for the RA108 car were evaluated, along with the latest specification of Bridgestone's 2009 slick tyres.
HOCKENHEIM - THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE
Track temperature has a big influence on car set-up at the Hungaroring.If it's relatively cool, as was the case in 2006, the overriding handlingcharacteristic of a car is understeer; if it's hot, it is oversteer.Invariably the weather has been hot during the race's 22-year history, sothe engineers will arrive at the track this week expecting oversteer andwill seek ways of protecting the rear tyres during the race.
If the ambient temperature exceeds 30 degrees, the track's lack of straightsand low average speed could make cooling a concern. However, the hightemperatures experienced during testing last week at Jerez, a track with asimilar layout to the Hungaroring, provided useful cooling data ahead of therace weekend.
The middle sector of the lap from Turn 4 through to the exit of Turn 11gives the best indication of a car's performance. The sector begins with acouple of slow corners, but ends with a very fast right-hander, which makesit hard to find a good balance. If a car is quick through this sector, youcan expect it to be quick around the whole lap.
Full throttle: 56% Brake wear: HighDownforce level: High - 9/10 Tyre compounds: Super Soft / Soft Tyre usage: MediumAverage speed: 197kph (122mph)
HONDA TEAM TALK
Ross Brawn, Team Principal
Q. The team had an extensive test session at Jerez last week. Did youachieve your objectives?"The team completed a very well executed four-day test in Jerez last weekwith an extensive programme of test items for the current season and lookingahead to the development of our 2009 car. In addition to running the finalstage of our mid-season aerodynamic upgrade, we evaluated a new suspensionsystem, brake and engine modifications and an evaluation of the 2009 slicktyres. The test went very well, with the full programme completed inpunishingly hot conditions, therefore we are very satisfied. Our evaluationof the resulting data should have positive results for the performance ofthe RA108 in the forthcoming races and for the direction of the 2009 car."
Q. What challenges does the Hungaroring present for the cars?"The Hungaroring is a low speed and high downforce track where we will facesimilar challenges to Monaco, albeit with a different layout and cornerspeeds. We frequently see high ambient temperatures during the HungarianGrand Prix weekend which, combined with a low average speed of 197kph, canmake engine and brake cooling a challenge. The supersoft Bridgestone Potenzatyre is fastest here and it is important to maintain a balance to avoidgraining and overheating. The track generates grip throughout the weekend,even during the race, therefore anticipating the best set-up for theconditions is key."
Q. Do you enjoy returning to the Hungaroring after your first win there in2006?"The Hungarian Grand Prix will always be a special race for me as the venueof my first win in Formula One but obviously I would much prefer to be goingback with the chance to challenge for the win again. The new parts which wetested in Jerez last week are a small step forward, so it will beinteresting to see how this places us in the midfield pack for the raceweekend.
"The Hungaroring circuit itself has a good rhythm and a nice mix ofslow-speed and high-speed turns. A lap around the circuit is actually quitea challenge because there is no respite and no opportunity to relax yourhands, so you are gripping the steering wheel hard the whole time. As acity, Budapest is fantastic and definitely one of the most exciting placesthat we visit during the Formula One season, with a great atmosphere duringthe Grand Prix weekend, both in the city and at the circuit."
Q. What are the challenges of the Hungaroring for the drivers?"The Hungaroring is a pretty physical track which is twisty and bumpy withslow corners. It is very difficult to overtake so you have to start from thefront to have a good race which makes having a good qualifying session onSaturday very important. The race can be incredibly hot so it is a toughchallenge for the drivers. We have to be well prepared and you need thatextra little bit of fitness to cope with the heat. Our test in Jerez lastweek was a good opportunity to acclimatise to such conditions, both for thedrivers and for the car. I won at the Hungaroring in 2002 and have been onthe podium a couple more times since then so I really enjoy returning toBudapest."