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Hungarian Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 02 Aug 2006

David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006 (L to R): Ossi Oikarinen (FIN) Toyota Race Engineer talks with Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006 Scott Speed (USA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, 27 July 2006 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, French Grand Prix, Race, Magny-Cours, France, 15 July 2006

Just a week on from Germany and the Hungaroring is preparing to welcome the Formula One paddock. So as Budapest beckons, the men behind the wheel explain why they can’t wait for the Hungarian Grand Prix to get underway…

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - 4th, 2005 Race - 1st

“The MP4-21 was definitely quicker in Germany than the previous race, and it had great balance. We have made a step forward and I am looking forward to getting back out on track again this weekend and racing for another podium finish. At the Hungaroring, the main factor is downforce, we don’t need to worry about aero efficiency or drag. This is as a result of all the slow, tight corners, and you will see all the cars running with maximum wing. Overtaking here is tricky, nevertheless I passed two cars on the first lap last year. It is a bit better since they modified the first corner, but qualifying is very important, perhaps more so than at any other race apart from Monaco. Along with Monaco the Hungaroring is the most demanding in terms of engine cooling, as there are no real straights and the temperature is always so high. So we will run with bigger radiators and apertures to increase the cooling within the car. The race has in the past been affected by the dusty track surface however they now have a truck that cleans up the dust beforehand so track conditions are more constant over the weekend, which makes set-up less tricky. The Hungarian race is like a home Grand Prix for me so I am always really looking forward to it, we get all the crazy Finnish fans that come down to watch the racing and I hope I can put in a great result for them. The car ran well in Monaco, so we will see. ”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“Of course for me it was a disappointing end to the race at Hockenheim, but the car felt really good and with the strategy I was running we could have been just behind Kimi at the end of the race. We get to race again already this weekend and hopefully I will be able to make the most of the pace we have found with the package. The Hungaroring is characterised by slow, tight, twisty corners and it is also fairly short. As a result, it feels a lot like a karting track. With all the cornering and constant gear changing in the hot temperatures you have in Hungary at this time of year, it is a race of endurance, but all the testing of late has been in similar conditions so it will not be a problem physically. The constant cornering also places a demand on the tyres, as this generates high temperatures, and this combined with the extreme track temperature has the potential to lead to issues with blistering. In addition there are a number of long duration corners that tend to put a lot of load on the rear. We have been working with Michelin for this race over the past couple of tests, evaluating a range of compounds on track temperatures of over 50 degrees centigrade. We completed our programme with Michelin and are comfortable with the tyres we will have available to select from.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2005 Qualifying - 1st, 2005 Race - 2nd

“Many think that we should do well but, as you know, I prefer not to get carried away too easily and make any rash predictions. In this case it is not even necessary as the important thing is be stay focused on our objectives.

“Budapest will be tough from a technical point of view but, in my opinion, more enjoyable to race than in the past. Even overtaking should be easier this year. I think that we can expect an exciting race before the summer break.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 5th, 2005 Race - 3rd

"Budapest is a beautiful city that I always like returning to for the race. There are plenty of things to do and see waysides of the track. The race itself has always been one of my favourites on the calendar, especially because there are so many fans there. One thing is always certain at this race and that is the extreme heat. You have to be really fit to drive in such high temperatures and still be able to concentrate at the end of the race. The Hungaroring is known for being one of the hardest circuits for overtaking, so it will be very important for us to secure a good grid position. Last year at this race I took my first podium with Toyota and I am hoping that we can repeat these results again this year."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 3rd, 2005 Race - 4th

"After my race at Hockenheim, I'll be looking for a better finish in Hungary. I am not too familiar with the city of Budapest, but I have heard that many drivers like the nightlife outside of the track. I am sure we can expect another very hot weekend and therefore it will be very important for us to make sure the car's entire system temperatures are monitored and kept in line. The track is also challenging because it is very narrow, with lots of corners and although it's very difficult for overtaking it is still quite a fun circuit to drive. The track is known to be dusty but this can change as the dust blows around, thus making it quite tricky to get the car handling well and going quickly. We had good results here last year."

Mark Webber, Williams
2005 Qualifying - 7th, 2005 Race - 16th

“Budapest is usually a tough race for the teams because it is hard to overtake even though the track layout has changed a little bit. The races are generally based on attrition while qualifying well is also crucial. Our car might be reasonably well suited to the track, but we'll see how our tyre selection goes. Although we didn’t score points at Hockenheim, the car is working better so we’ll be looking to improve upon our reliability and get in the top eight this weekend. The weather is always nice and hot at Budapest, especially at the circuit where the temperatures can really ramp up as there’s no breeze. This, in turn, presents the drivers with a tough challenge as the lap is very busy, meaning lots of corners and short straights, so fitness is very important, as is the correct hydration preparation. I enjoy Budapest a lot - we don’t have many races that are so close to a city so it’s always nice to get back from the circuit at a sensible time each evening and to soak up the atmosphere of a busy city.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“We expect to have a good race at the Hungaroring because it has similar characteristics to the Monaco track, where we were very strong this year. In addition to that, we showed that we have made some improvements in Hockenheim and we hope to carry on that momentum. Hungary is a track I like and I was fastest there last year in GP2, a whole second ahead of everyone else. We should expect very high temperatures for this race, but we have been racing in hot conditions so many times this season I am getting used to the extreme heat.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 6th, 2005 Race - 11th

“I have fantastic memories of Hungary and that first win. It is a circuit I really like, very challenging physically and mentally because of the heat and the circuit configuration. There are so many corners that you are very busy in the cockpit, always fighting with the steering wheel, and at times it seems almost like a go-kart circuit! I enjoy every lap I drive there.

“It was a funny race last year. I had an accident at the first corner, and then I was running at the back with cooling problems. But it shows how quickly things can turn around in Formula 1, because one week earlier I had won in Germany. It will be a different picture this year I think, and the V8 engines and softer tyres will mean we are much quicker in the corners. I am expecting a good race, and there is no reason why Renault cannot come out on top.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 9th, 2005 Race - 9th

“The circuit is slippery and dusty at the beginning, so you need a good feeling to understand what changes you need to make to improve the performance of the car. Then, as we run more and the circuit rubbers in, the grip gets better and better.

“There are a lot of chicanes where you need to use the kerbs - but not too much. We have long corners which make it tough physically towards the end of the race, and lots of braking into very slow corners. You also need to avoid mistakes because the circuit is very dusty off line, and getting the tyres dirty can make it hard to defend your position.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 7th, 2005 Race - 10th

"I love to visit the city of Budapest when we go to Hungary for the Grand Prix. It's one of the most beautiful and exciting cities on the calendar and the fans always give the whole place a great atmosphere. The Hungaroring is just like Monaco because it is so slow and twisty and it is also very difficult to overtake. You have to start from the front to have a good race so qualifying will be very important on Saturday. For the last few years, the race here has been incredibly hot so we have to be well prepared and for the drivers, we need that extra little bit of fitness. I won at the Hungaroring back in 2002 and have been on the podium a couple more times so it's a circuit that I enjoy racing at. Although I didn't have a good race in Germany, we can look at our overall performance from that weekend and take a lot of positives to Hungary."

Jenson Button, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 8th, 2005 Race - 5th

"The Hungaroring and the city of Budapest are always places that I enjoy visiting. The track itself is pretty physical because it's very twisty and bumpy, which combined with the high temperatures, make it a tough race for the drivers. However the hot conditions should suit our tyres as the Michelins seem to work very well in those temperatures. Our new aero parts and a few of the other developments that we had in Hockenheim should also help us in Hungary. I'm looking forward to the race and hopefully we can replicate the strong performance from last weekend with another points finish, and maybe even go one better."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - 12th, 2005 Race - 6th

"I really enjoy Hungary. I like the Hungaroring and I like Budapest. It's a wonderful old town with beautiful old buildings and there's always something going on there. Budapest is a good place for going out and for eating.

“It was on the Hungaroring in 1999 that I claimed an early title win in Formula 3000, and we certainly celebrated that in true style. That's something I like to think back on, naturally. After Monaco, the circuit is the slowest on the Formula One calendar. It has a lot of turns and hardly any straights. The circuit layout in itself makes driving there a strain, and at this time of year it tends to be very hot in Budapest. Away from the racing line the circuit is always really dirty and it's easy to lose time. It's extremely difficult to overtake there."

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"I have competed there once, in 2001 in my first year of racing in Formula Renault, and actually it was my first race when I got closer to the pace. It's a 'Mickey Mouse' track, stop and go all the time. I have never driven a Formula One car there.

“I went there in 1997 - it was the first and last Grand Prix I visited as a spectator. I said to everybody: I don't like to watch and I will never go to another Grand Prix unless I am driving.

"I had prepared myself for a whole year without actually competing in any races, so I'm even happier to get this opportunity. And I'm proud that the BMW Sauber F1 Team has such confidence in me. I'm determined not to let them down."

Tiago Monteiro, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 20th, 2005 Race - 18th

"I love Budapest! It’s such a beautiful and fantastic city, so everybody likes coming here, although I remember from last year that it’s always very hot, so fitness will be a factor. The track sits in a valley, so dust and humidity also play a role during the race weekend, and the course is tight - a bit like Monaco without the barriers! I had a good race here last year and hope that we can continue our improved performances of late. The track here should suit our car fairly well - much better than Hockenheim, that's for sure - so I think we'll have a good race."

Christijan Albers, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 17th, 2005 Race - 21st

"The circuit in Budapest is a real challenge: it’s tight, twisty and undulating, making life very difficult for the drivers. When combined with the high track temperatures, racing at the Hungaroring is always very tough. However, I love coming to this circuit because the course is a real test for a driver’s skill and the reliability of his car. We’re going to have to be at the top of our game if we expect to challenge our rivals again this weekend, so I'm going to go for it and do everything I can to push us up the grid."

Markus Winkelhock, third driver, Midland
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"I am really happy that the team has given me the chance to once again be the Friday test driver at the Hungarian Grand Prix. After the good weekend I had in Hockenheim, I’ll try to do a good job in Budapest. Unfortunately, I don’t know the track - having never raced on it - but that shouldn’t be a big problem; I should be able to learn it fairly quickly. So I am really looking forward for the upcoming weekend and giving the team all the valuable data it needs to have a successful weekend."

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - 10th, 2005 Race - 8th

“It will be hard for the team this week as we are travelling straight to Hungary for the next back-to-back race. This is especially so as we have the new car and a lot of work to do to improve our performance. However from a personal point of view it is good for me to get back into the car and racing as soon as possible. The circuit in Hungary is very different from the Hockenheimring; it is a very high downforce and demanding circuit with a lot of slow and medium corners. We will have a specific Hungarian aero pack for this race and it will be interesting to see how the SA06 performs with another step. Hopefully we will be able to solve the problems we encountered over the German Grand Prix weekend and so I am very much looking forward to seeing how we progress at the Hungarian race this weekend.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“I have never been to Hungary so it will be my first time visiting there. However, it was also my first time visiting Canada and America so I am preparing for the Hungarian race in the same way as I did for those tracks. I am really looking forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix because in Germany I was not able to show the SA06's potential. I want to do my best in Hungary and hope that we can keep the momentum going following the encouraging pace shown by the new car last weekend.”