Hungary GP: Preview - Pirelli


The first half of the 2021 season concludes in Hungary, before Formula 1's traditional summer break, with the three compounds in the middle of the range nominated: C2 as the P Zero White hard, C3 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 as the P Zero Red soft. Following the sprint qualifying format pioneered at Silverstone, the usual weekend format and tyre rules return in Hungary.

The Hungary nomination is exactly the same as it was last year. The circuit doesn't place particularly heavy demands on tyres, with the compounds in the middle of the range well-suited to the tight and twisty track, especially if the weather is warm.

Track Characteristics

In contrast to the sweeping and fast corners of Silverstone, the Hungaroring feels almost like a kart circuit: the track is narrow, old-school, and has a non-stop series of corners that means the tyres are constantly working, with no rest.

Overtaking is tricky, and this is an important factor when planning the race strategy, as track position is key.

The high summer temperatures, alongside the fact that the circuit is situated within a natural amphitheatre, means that there's very little airflow: making the Hungarian Grand Prix hard work for both the cars and the drivers.

The Hungaroring has seen a number of different strategies in the past: last year the wet and intermediate tyres were run at the start of the race because of rain, but before then in 2019 (with the same C2, C3 and C4 tyre nomination) both one-stop and two-stop strategies were used, with a two-stopper from Lewis Hamilton winning the race in a thrilling finale. The teams have plenty of experience and data on this track, as it's formed part of the calendar since 1986.

The 2022 18-inch slick tyre test programme continued after the British Grand Prix with Aston Martin, Haas and Red Bull taking to the track. It carries on after Hungary, with Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes driving on Tuesday and Wednesday after the grand prix.

Mario Isola: "Tyre-wise, we're not expecting any particularly big surprises from the Hungaroring, which has been a constant on the calendar and signals the end of the first half of the season. The defining characteristic of the track are all the tight corners in quick succession, with no long straights to cool down the tyres, and hot weather. This makes the Hungaroring actually more demanding on tyres than it initially seems, so some degree of management is likely to be needed on the soft compound in particular. As a result, the best strategy is not always obvious - with different approaches often yielding a similar overall race time, depending on the individual circumstances. That's why we've often seen some tactically intriguing races at the Hungaroring, keeping the final result in doubt right up to the end and providing an interesting challenge for the engineers."

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Published: 26/07/2021
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