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Hungary GP Preview - McLaren

NEWS STORY
24/07/2018

Fernando Alonso: "The Hungaroring is a great track and an enjoyable place to finish the first half of the season before the summer break. I expect a lot of fun there, as it's always a nice event. I love the fans in Budapest because they're very passionate about the race. They're at the airport, the hotel, the circuit, even on the highway going to the track with their flags, so it's always a nice weekend to experience and enjoy.

"The track itself is a good one. It's a like a big go-kart circuit for Formula 1 so there's no time to breathe – especially in the second sector where there are a lot of corners. It's normally a good weekend, and I'm looking forward to being in Budapest and enjoying every minute there. It's a really cool city.

"Last weekend in Germany we took a gamble with our tyre choice in the rain and it didn't pay off, but racing is about taking risks and sometimes you can get a great result out of it, and sometimes you don't. We're already looking ahead to Hungary and although the weather is usually a little bit more predictable there, you never know and we'll prepare ourselves to be ready for anything and see if we can bring home some points."

Stoffel Vandoorne: "I really like driving at the Hungaroring. It's a great track that's fun to drive and the configuration is a lot of short, quick bursts of speed separated by slower corners and just one straight, so it's got a mix of a lot of different elements. I know the track well and I've won there in GP2 so I'm looking forward to hopefully a more positive weekend than we've had recently.

"Although we didn't get the result we hoped for in Germany, all things considered after such a dramatic race with the changing weather, almost retiring the car, getting back into the race and then making the right choices as the rain came down to finish P13, was actually quite a positive end to the weekend.

"I hope we can continue to make a step forward in Hungary, especially with the summer break just around the corner. I've really struggled with my car over the past couple of races and I know the team is working hard to understand why so we can start attacking the weekends again. The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a big challenge given the heat and the unforgiving nature of the track so the aim for us is to keep our heads down, keep pushing hard and hopefully we can make some progress."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "After a challenging weekend in Germany, we look ahead to the final back-to-back grand prix before the summer break. The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a popular event with the fans as well as the team and drivers, and Budapest is a beautiful host city that we all enjoy visiting.

"The key characteristic of this track is that it's relentless in nature. It's a short track with a lot of corners which makes it feel very stop-start and requires precise positioning of the car in order to get the most out of the lap. It means achieving a good balance is very important, which is something we'll be looking at very closely this weekend.

"To add to the technicalities of this circuit, the drivers deal with high temperatures in the cockpit, making it a particularly challenging test for both them and the engineers when setting up the cars. Our focus is on making steps forward race-by-race and improving our understanding of our package, as we strive to make improvements to our performance each weekend."

Focus points

The dearth of long straights at the Hungaroring has earned it the nickname 'Monaco without the walls'. But that's a misleading description because the average lap speed at the Hungaroring is 200km/h (125mph) and sections of the track are deceptively fast. It's important to focus on a car's high-speed balance, as well as traction.

Most demanding section: Many corners are inter-linked, which makes car positioning extremely important. Nowhere is this more crucial than through Turns Four and Five: Turn Four is a fast left-hander and Turn Five is long right-hander, for which the ideal entry point is on the left-hand side of the track. A fast change of direction is pivotal to being quick at this point on the track.

Biggest challenge: Heat can have a significant impact on the cars and the drivers at this race. The predicted ambient temperature on race day is 30 degrees Celsius, which is gruelling for the drivers and forces the teams to open up the cars to increase cooling. The new asphalt, which was laid prior to last year's race, is much darker than the old surface and track temperatures are expected to be in the mid-50s.

Engineer's lowdown

Braking: Medium. The Hungaroring's braking demands are roughly similar to those at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. There are three places where the braking zones extend to 2s (Turns One, Six and 12), the hardest of which is into Turn One. In total, 16s per lap are spent braking.

Power: The cars use 1.5kg of fuel per lap, which is low.

Aero: Maximum downforce. Only two circuits on the F1 calendar have a slower average speed than the Hungaroring (Monaco and Marina Bay, in Singapore), so slow-speed grip is vital to being competitive. Only two corners have apex speeds in excess of 200km/h (125mph) and there's only one long straight (908m/0.564 miles), all of which means maximum downforce on the cars.

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