Hungaroring: A Race Engineers guide to the Hungarian GP

Hungaroring. Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

Sahara Force India F1 Team Chief Race Engineer Tom McCullough explains the intricacies and unique nature of the Hungaroring circuit, as the F1 calendar heads to Hungary this weekend, for the final race before the summer break.

The Hungaroring is a twisty track, almost street race like in its layout, and one that the drivers enjoy driving, as long as they get into a good rhythm.

For engineer McCullough, his focus will be on ensuring the drivers have a car underneath them that allows them to take the circuit’s many corners as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

“The final race before the summer break takes us to Budapest.

“The Hungaroring is one of the shortest circuits of the year, at 4.381km, and a high percentage of this short lap is spent cornering. Low and medium speed corners dominate this grip-limited circuit.

Hungaroring Track Map
Credit: Force India

Due to the short length and design of the Budapest track, it is nigh on impossible to get passed another car easily, so ensuring the drivers have a car set-up to take advantage in qualifying, will be key this weekend.

“The main straight is quite short in comparison to other circuits and the layout doesn’t promote overtaking – qualifying well and getting a good start are crucial.

Another factor that will need to be taken into consideration by teams this weekend is the heat, which can soar to 50 degrees Celsius on track, and can play havoc with cooling and getting the tyres to work in the optimum performance window.

“We travel to Hungary at the end of July, which means the weather can be very hot: track temperatures can reach above 50C, making it a thermally difficult circuit for the tyres and a challenge for brake cooling.”