Just five days after narrowly missing out on points in Hockenheim the Sauber team, along with the rest of the F1 field, will be out on track at the Hungaroring.
Pedro de la Rosa has fond memories of the Hungarian Grand Prix from three seasons ago when he was racing for McLaren as a replacement for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Spaniard says that Budapest reminds him of home but doesn’t have high hopes of the C29 enjoying this low speed circuit.
“Budapest is one of my favourites because I achieved my first and – so far – only podium there,” he said. “This was back in 2006 when I finished second.
“The city is extremely interesting and offers a lot. “The architecture of the bridges, houses and castles is just beautiful. When I was a test driver I used to go running along the river on Saturdays after qualifying. You can feel the history, but at the same time the city is very much alive. In a way it reminds me of Spain.
“I like to describe the track as the permanent version of the Monaco street circuit. You need maximum downforce and a good car in slow corners, while efficiency is less important.
“It is a nice track but it is very hard on the drivers, especially when it is hot, which has quite often been the case at the race weekends. Perhaps it is not the best track for our car, but we have improved it a lot for slow corners and we have also proved if we finish races we can fight for points.”
Kamui Kobayashi, who finished the last race eleventh but scored points for the team in his previous two outings, is also a fan of this track. However, he knows that qualifying will be key on this narrow circuit.
“I have good memories of the Hungaroring,” said the Japanese driver. “Despite not achieving the best results there, I like racing on this circuit a lot. I find it nice and exciting, and I certainly enjoy the city, especially the restaurants on the side of the river.
“Also the circuit has a good tradition and a nice atmosphere. It is very narrow and windy, which might be tough for us this year. Overtaking is very difficult on that track, and therefore our chances on the Hungaroring depend a lot on if and how much we can improve our qualifying performance.”
Sauber technical director James Key has plenty of comments about the track, what is required for a good lap time, and things that the team need to be aware of as they head into this grand prix weekend.
“If we look at the last four races Hungary is a different type of circuit again,” he explains. “We've had Montreal with reasonably long straights and slow speed corners in Valencia, high speed corners in Silverstone, a mix in Hockenheim and mainly low and medium speed corners in Hungary.
“It's a fairly winding circuit which requires a high downforce level. You can get away with a slightly less aerodynamical efficient car there as well. It also requires a good mechanical grip, while there are some kerbs and some high and medium speed chicanes where the car needs to be stable.
“The track is also quite bumpy. The last corner is quite tricky, as is turn one the downhill right hander where you've got to get that right not to lock up your inside wheel. In qualifying you also have to look after your tyres for the end of the lap, because graining can be a problem.
“There are two other things to consider: It's normally very hot so you have to watch coolinglevels and how that affects the tyres, secondly it's a place where overtaking is very difficult so qualifying is very important.”