Of all the countries in the former Easter Bloc, Hungary had the freest enterprise culture and the closest links with the West. It also had a motor racing pedigree which went back to a first Grand Prix run in 1906, while there had been racing in Budapest from 1926.
Bernie Ecclestone wanted a race in Russia, but a Hungarian friend recommended Budapest. Initially it was intended that a street circuit be built in the Nepliget, Budapest's largest park, but the government decided on a purpose built new circuit just outside the city near a major highway. Construction work started in October 1985 and the circuit was built in eight months, less time than any other Formula One circuit.
Built with state backing, and laid out in a natural amphitheatre, the Hungaroring opened in 1986 and attracted an estimated 200,000 spectators.
Though the event was well-organised, and the hosts very appreciative, it was felt that the 2.494 mile circuit had been laid out more in the style of a twisty street circuit rather than a bespoke road track. There were few opportunities for overtaking, though things were eased from 1989 when a tight corner, the 'Dirversion' was by-passed and the lap distance became 2.466 miles.
In 2003 a number of modifications were carried out to the track including the lengthening of the start-straight by 202 metres.
However, in the opinion of many, year after year after year the Hungaroring continues to provide one of the most dismal, boring races of the season. This isn't entirely down to the track, but also the 'limitations' of the new breed of F1 car, and indeed the sprint-stop-sprint limitations of the sport.
The Grand Prix is held in the middle of summer, which is usually hot and dry, indeed, the first wet Grand Prix wasn't until 2006. The circuit is normally dusty due to underuse throughout the rest of the year and its sandy soil. As the circuit is in a valley about 80 percent of it can be seen from any point.
Normally an underused circuit becomes faster over the weekend as the track surface gathers more rubber residue; however, with the Hungaroring this generally does not happen because the track can get dusty so quickly. The track frequently becomes faster during a qualifying session, which leads competitors to try for their best lap as late as possible.
The twisty and bumpy nature of the circuit makes overtaking very difficult in dry conditions. Nonetheless, the Hungaroring has been the scene of several memorable races such as the duels of Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell's lost wheel in 1987, Mansell's win from 12th on the grid after a dramatic pass on Ayrton Senna in 1989, Damon Hill's almost victory with Arrows in 1997 and maiden wins for Hill in 1993, Fernando Alonso in 2003, Jenson Button in 2006 in the track's first ever wet grand prix, and Heikki Kovalainen in 2008.
Fast Facts - Provided by the FIA
2016 will be the 31st Hungarian Grand Prix. The race, which has always been held at the Hungaroring, joined the Formula One calendar in 1986 and has been ever present since.
The most successful drivers here are Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, both of whom have four wins. Schumacher's came in 1994 with Benetton and then in 1998, 2001 and 2004 with Ferrari. Hamilton's wins have also been scored with two teams, in 2007, 2009 and 2012 with McLaren and in 2013 with Mercedes.
Behind Schumacher and Hamilton, Ayrton Senna took three wins here in Hungary, while Nelson Piquet, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button have two apiece.
Six previous Hungarian Grand Prix winners are set to compete this weekend. Apart from Hamilton and Button, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have all won here once.
McLaren is by far the most successful constructor at this race, with 11 victories, five more than next closest, Williams. Apart from Hamilton's wins for the team, Senna's three wins (1988, 1991-'92) were scored with McLaren, as were Hakkinen's in 1999 and 2000. McLaren have also won with Raikkonen (2005), Heikki Kovalainen (2008) and Button (2011). Ferrari have six wins, while Red Bull Racing are third on the list with two wins.
Button's 2006 win, his first in the sport, was also the only victory for Honda in its second stint as a constructor in the sport. The Briton's win is also notable for being the victory scored from the furthest back on the grid. Button started the race in 14th place but navigated torrential rain to take maximum points.
Kovalainen's 2008 victory was also his first in Formula One. It was to be the Finn's only grand prix victory from 111 grand prix starts. He appeared on the podium on three other occasions - in 2007 in Japan (P2) for Renault and in 2008 in Malaysia (P3) and Italy (P2) for McLaren.
Aside from Button and Kovalainen, this race has also seen debut wins for Damon Hill (1993) and Fernando Alonso (2003).
Michael Schumacher is out on his own at the top of the list of pole winners here, with seven. His first was with Benetton in 1994 and the rest came with Ferrari (1996-'97, 2000-'01 and '04- '05). Lewis Hamilton is second on the list with five pole positions at the Hungaroring (2007- '08, 2012-'13 and last year).
Apart from Hamilton, four other current drivers have started from the front of the grid here - Alonso (2003, 2009), Sebastian Vettel (2010-'11), Raikkonen (2006) and Nico Rosberg (2014).
Last year, Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat scored his first career podium finish here with second place for Red Bull Racing. Kvyat isn't the first driver to take a maiden podium in Hungary. Jos Verstappen finished third in 1994 for Benetton, Pedro de la Rosa took second in 2006 for McLaren and Timo Glock was second for Toyota in 2008.