Hungary preview quotes - McLaren, Williams, Red Bull & more 25 Jul 2012
The Formula One paddock heads directly from Germany to Hungary this weekend for the second Grand Prix in a back-to-back doubleheader and the championships final round before the August summer break. Budapests Hungaroring circuit poses a high-downforce challenge, likened by some to a faster version of Monaco. Those involved in the Formula 1 Eni Magyar Nagydij 2012 discuss their prospects
Jenson Button, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 3rd, 2011 Race - 1st
The result in Germany puts us right back in the hunt. In that situation, theres nothing better than a back-to-back weekender: you return to the cockpit almost before youve unpacked your bags from the previous race, so its great to carry forward that momentum.
Of course, Hungarys a very special place for me: I won my first Grand Prix there back in 2006, I celebrated my 200th Grand Prix there on the Saturday evening with some of my oldest friends and colleagues in the paddock and I went on to win the Grand Prix on Sunday. It was the perfect weekend.
And theres every reason to believe we can get another good result this year. Our pace at Hockenheim gives us cause for encouragement - its just that, as always, well need to run flawlessly through qualifying and the race if were to be in the hunt at the end.
That high level of performance shows just how close things currently are at the top in Formula One. Im satisfied that were pushing hard enough to be up at the sharp end, so it would be fantastic to take home a winning result to reward all our recent hard work.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 2nd, 2011 Race - 4th
I rolled the dice in Germany and got two ones. Thats life, sometimes, but at least I get the chance to give them another roll this weekend - and Ill be hoping for two sixes! I think theres good reason to feel confident, too; our Hockenheim upgrade package seems to have delivered the pace we anticipated and a good result just before the summer break would be the perfect way to end the first half of the season.
Things havent always gone our way in the first half, but I certainly feel like were experiencing something of a turning point for the whole team. We've really stepped up and delivered the pace we needed, our strategy has been spot-on and our pit stops, despite a troubled start at the beginning of the year, are now consistently the fastest in the pit lane.
Of course, we still have work to do to in order to fully understand the heating characteristics of the Pirelli tyres in wet weather. The current forecast is for mixed weather in Budapest, but were gathering more and more data on the tyres, and those conditions may give us further opportunity to overcome the issues weve recently encountered. Im really looking forward to the whole weekend.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
With the halfway point in the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship now behind us, its important that we head into the second half of the season with a concerted view to picking up as many points as possible in a bid to return us to the top. I firmly believe that we have the drivers, car and team to win both titles - and I think the difficulties we encountered during the first 10 races of 2012 have strengthened our resilience and hardened our resolve to fight back to the front.
At Hockenheim last weekend, we had a car capable of taking on and beating our main rivals - the aim now is to ensure both Jenson and Lewis both score points in every race and to take as many points away from our rivals as possible. On paper, it may look a difficult task, but we are singularly determined to close down the gaps between ourselves and the championship leaders."
Our record at the Hungaroring is considerable: we have won there 10 times, more than any other team, and we go there with the clear aim to add an 11th victory to our tally. It certainly wont be straightforward, but every single individual within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is relishing that challenge.
Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 17th, 2011 Race - 16th
The track in Hungary is really slow speed and so we will need to adapt our set-up for this sort of circuit but we have shown so far this season that our car has good pace at different sorts of tracks. I have won here before so the track has good memories for me and the fans create a good atmosphere so I am looking forward to the weekend.
Bruno Senna, Williams
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
The Hungaroring is one of the most challenging tracks we visit all year. Technically its a real test and its quite a slow lap so reminds me in some respects of Monaco. Its also demanding physically because the temperature is often high and you have to do a lot of work behind the steering wheel so can get tired quickly. I have done well here in the past, particularly in GP2 in 2008, so Im looking forward to this weekend.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
Logistics of the back to back races are always a bit more difficult with less turnaround between the events and therefore less time to react to any issues. The competition is so tight at the moment that one must ensure that you extract the maximum performance from the car - there is no room for errors. Pirelli bring the same compounds as used in the previous race, namely the medium and soft tyres. The circuit layout leads to very low average speeds, with only Monaco and Singapore being lower. This low efficiency metric means that you run the maximum downforce configuration. Teams also have to deal with the potentially high ambient temperatures which necessitate larger cooling ducts.
Remi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations
The Hungaroring has the second lowest average speed of the year, after Monaco. The high number of corners and lack of straights means one lap is taken at just over 180km/h, therefore requiring extremely good low speed torque response. Cooling also becomes critical due to the lack of opportunity for the engine to breathe and the high ambient temperatures, plus the high level of dirt and grit from the dusty surrounding fields that can be ingested into the inlets and radiators.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 6th, 2011 Race - 5th
"The Hungaroring is a good little venue and weve had some good races there in the past. Obviously overtaking has not been easy on that circuit, but it will be interesting to see how the cars perform there as its a hot race. The middle sector is very, very busy and you need to have a good balance over the top of the hill. In general, its a track that I enjoy, I like driving there and of course were looking forward to doing well before the summer break."
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 2nd
The race in Budapest is very popular and the city and the Danube offer many opportunities for fans off the track. I like the city a lot and I made my debut in 2007 with Scuderia Toro Rosso at the Hungaroring. The track itself is one of the slowest on the calendar, but as a driver you shouldnt underestimate it, as there are a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. It can be very hot and that means the track can be very demanding physically. In addition, the surface has many bumps which shake you around a lot.
Paul di Resta, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 11th, 2011 Race - 7th
I had a great race in Hungary last year when I finished seventh just before the summer break. It was the best way to end the first part of the season because there had been a few races up to that point where things hadnt gone our way. Getting the result in Hungary helped make up for some of the bad luck earlier in the season. I had a great race there last year when I finished seventh just before the summer break. It was the best way to end the first part of the season because there had been a few races up to that point where things hadnt gone our way. Getting the result in Hungary helped make up for some of the bad luck earlier in the season.
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
I have some very good memories, especially looking back to 2010 when I finished sixth, which at that time was the best result of my Formula One career. Also, in 2009 I won the GP2 race at the Hungaroring. So Im looking forward to going back there, especially because I like the city of Budapest: its just a nice place to visit. I think we should be able to fight for points because we recently looked quite strong on circuits that dont have so many fast corners, such as Valencia. Although its quite a slow circuit, its very difficult to get a good lap time because you need to hook up all the corners perfectly, so its quite challenging.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
People suggest that Hungary might play more to our strengths, but regardless of whether it suits us we just need to be ahead of the teams that we are fighting with in the championship and score points. If you take our immediate competitors, Sauber have had three races without points so far, Williams have had four, and weve had three. Thats what we need to address: we need to be scoring at every race.
Timo Glock, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - 20th, 2011 Race - 17th
Ive always had a bit of a special feeling about the Hungarian Grand Prix, to the point where it almost feels like a second home race. I have quite a lot of fans, particularly since I got the first podium finish of my F1 career there in 2008. Every time, I look forward to going there because for some reason I always seem to come to terms with the track very quickly and Ive always enjoyed good races because of that. I think the weather will be a lot hotter - and drier - than in Hockenheim; sometimes the heat can be quite fierce, a little like Valencia. Physically it can be quite exhausting because of this, especially if it continues all weekend. Its a back to back with Germany, so a tight turnaround for the team who have to cope with the heat as well. We all have the summer break to look forward to though; we all love to race but it has been a very demanding season so far and we need to get ourselves ready for 2012 - Part Two.
Charles Pic, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
I came away from Hockenheim with a positive feeling. It is reassuring that the new package seems to have been performing consistently in Silverstone and Germany. For this reason Im happy that we go to Hungary directly because we have everything fresh in our mind and we can see how well the car is suited to another different type of track. I really enjoyed the Hungaroring on the four occasions that I raced there in other series and had a good performance there last year in GP2, so I am comfortable with the circuit already, which always helps. After that, everyone in the team deserves to have a nice break to prepare for the many long haul races which follow later in the year, so I hope we can have another positive race this weekend.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Whilst we aim to get to the bottom of the problems Timo has experienced with his car, we shouldnt let that overshadow the otherwise positive route we appear to be taking with our development overall. We have had two races with the new aerodynamic package and the signs are that it is performing consistently and in line with the targets we set for ourselves relative to the other teams around us. Lets hope we can make it three out of three in Budapest, to provide further confirmation. This week provides a challenging turnaround for the team with just a few days to transport our trackside operation across Europe and be up and running for Thursday. Its a track and city that weve come to enjoy over the past couple of years though. In terms of the racing challenge, the circuit is always very dusty due to lack of use throughout the rest of the year, so it will take a little time to clean up. Timo enjoys the tight and twisty nature of the track and Charles is also reasonably familiar with it from previous formulae. Were looking forward to the final race before the summer break, after which we will turn our minds to the second half of the season.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 9th, 2011 Race - DNF
The race in Hungary is the last before the summer break and also marks the beginning of the second half of the season - which means it is time for a half-time analysis. As so often in life, this is, in my opinion, a question of perspective: if we only look at the points standings, it doesn't seem so good; but if you look a bit deeper, and at certain results, then the overall picture is much better. We have taken a clear step forward and already achieved a few highlights. I'm looking forward to this weekend's race because I really enjoy the Hungarian Grand Prix. It's a circuit where the drivers are always busy around the lap, it's really demanding and there are barely any opportunities to catch your breath. Let's wait and see what we can achieve here, before the team heads off for a well-earned break.
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 7th, 2011 Race - 9th
The Hungaroring is a very challenging track and it's definitely one that I enjoy. It's like a street circuit but on a normal track because of the many tight and twisty turns and not so many straights. The layout should suit our car but you just can't make predictions this year and you never know how it will work out over the weekend. Tyre wear will again be critical for the race so we will work hard to manage that properly. It would be nice if we can make a step forward and have a good weekend before the summer break.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
The final race before the summer break concludes an intense period for the team, coming on the back of our two home races in Silverstone and Germany. After our performance peaks and podium achievements in China, Monaco and Valencia, the last month has been tougher and we have not achieved the results that we would have wanted. There is a limited amount of work that can be done between back-to-back races but we will work hard to find the necessary improvements. Everyone always enjoys visiting Budapest which is a great city, and the Hungaroring track is a real technical challenge for both the drivers and engineers. It would be a nice reward to have a strong weekend there before a well-deserved mid-season break for the team.
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
The Hungaroring has the slowest average speed of any permanent circuit on the calendar and the cars actually spend a lower proportion of the lap at full throttle than even in Monaco. The corners are predominantly medium and low speed, which require good traction, downforce and braking stability. Hungary is also the start of the second half of the season and, following the relatively cool conditions in Silverstone and Hockenheim, we can expect really hot weather and perhaps the highest temperatures of the season so far. The verdict on the first half of our season would be: much achieved, much still to do. We have been the pace-setters at a number of race weekends and Nico scored the first win for our new Silver Arrow works team in China, while Michael set the fastest time in a prestigious qualifying session in Monaco and Nico then finished second in the race. Two races later, in Valencia, Michael also scored a podium finish. Our team has scored over one third more points than at the same time last season, in spite of Michael suffering a run of technical retirements. The last two races have shown that we currently lack around half a second a lap to the pace-setters. This is clear to all in the team and we'll be doing our maximum to develop the car further and close the gap.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Hungary will provide a very stark contrast to the circuits that we have just come from, being the slowest permanent track on the calendar. This does not make it any less demanding on the tyres though: in fact a twisty and slippery circuit will often put more heat through the tyre than a fast and flowing layout as the tyre is moving around more particularly when the ambient temperatures are high. Having said that, in Hungary last year we saw some wet weather, so its important not to make any assumptions. Consequently, we are still lacking some information about the performance of our slick tyres under race conditions at the Hungaroring. Balancing the demands of speed and durability will be key to getting the most out of the tyres in Hungary, in order to keep degradation under control. Overtaking is traditionally difficult, so the drivers have an opportunity to use strategy in order to gain track position. Because of this, the work done in free practice will be vital when it comes to preparing the race strategy: an opportunity that has been denied to the teams recently because of bad weather in the build-up to the last two Grands Prix.
Jaime Alguersuari, Pirelli test driver
Hungary is a bit like a go-kart track: its very good fun but a really tough race for the tyres and also the driver: your heart rate is at the highest that it is all year because of the high temperatures and not much cooling. In terms of set-up we run the highest downforce of the season, so we really maximise the aerodynamic potential of the car and this has an effect on the tyres too, with the front-left working particularly hard. With all the low to medium speed corners, combined traction and braking stability is very important: there is only one high-speed corner and that is really the only overtaking opportunity as well. Last year was a very complicated race where we started on the intermediate tyre and then moved onto the slick, but I think it should be quite different this year. The cars that should do well in Hungary this weekend are the ones that generate most downforce, because that is the most important factor there.
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
It is always nice to go to Hungary. The circuit is not the most difficult of them all, but it is still quite challenging. It is also the last race before the summer break and its a great city to end the first half of the season. I have won once in Hungary and finished second three times. It is very hot and very demanding race. Its only when you win that you dont suffer at the Hungaroring. I hope I dont suffer this time.
The team has been working hard in developing our car and we are confident we should be competitive in Hungary. Usually we have a hot weekend at the Hungaroring, and thats what we have been looking forward to during the whole summer. Its such a slow and twisty track that you there are two things most of all which are really important for fast lap times; these are good turn-in and good traction. If you have those, you have a competitive car there.
This is one of those circuits where its very difficult to overtake. Obviously, you need to get to the front in qualifying and you also ideally want to avoid the dirty side of the track on the grid. We havent been the best in qualifying so far, but we have been good in the race in hot conditions and able to make different strategies work. It wont be the end of the world if we dont qualify at the front, but it wont make things easy for us either. Lets see what happens.
Its the closest we Finnish drivers get to a home race and a lot of Finns turn up every year. It is always nice to see the blue and white flags waving. Hopefully I will be able to celebrate with a win for them.
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
Its a familiar story; we need to achieve a good qualifying performance. We have a few updates coming which is good news and Im sure we are going to be better than we were last time out. In terms of conditions, it should be hot and hopefully sunny which will suit our car better than the cold weve seen recently, and certainly better than in the cold and wet! The Hungaroring is a circuit that I quite like and one where I have had good experiences in the past. I scored my first GP2 Series pole position there in 2008 and last year I won and finished third, which was a pretty good weekend. Hopefully my past history at the track will help me to have a proper race weekend. Having all sessions in the dry, so we can work properly from beginning to end, will also be very helpful! Im heading to Hungary with a positive attitude.
James Allison, Lotus technical director
If the first ten races of the year are a guide then we will be competitive in Hungary. It is a bit of a broken record, but for us to really live up to the promise we are sure exists in the team we need to qualify on the first two rows of the grid. This is even more important than normal on the twisty Hungaroring circuit.
We will continue to dial in the new device that we ran in Hockenheim with Kimi. Despite the difficult weather conditions, we did get a good feel of its performance potential from the free practice session and we aim to take it on a step at the Hungaroring.
Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"The Hungaroring is the permanent Monaco and a circuit where I have very good memories since I achieved a podium there in 2006. Im really looking forward to going this year because its a circuit where our car should adapt pretty well, as there are many slow corners. Its similar to Monaco, and we were pretty competitive there, so Im full of hope. The asphalt evolves a lot throughout the weekend and the track gets quicker so its very important to interpret this. In Germany we had a good performance and a good race so were looking forward to Hungary because we should do better there.
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"Ive only raced once in Hungary, in 2005, and I remember it being quite a technical and challenging track. Seven years have passed since then so Im going to have to work hard and make the most of the practice sessions to get used to the track. The car should adapt well and were also arriving with a good feeling after the German Grand Prix, so the ideal thing would be to finish off that good work with another positive result in Hungary so that we can go on holiday feeling good about ourselves.
Dani Clos, HRT test driver
"Im really excited about having another opportunity to drive the car in the first free practice session in Hungary. It will be the third consecutive Grand Prix and the fourth time this season that I get into the F112, and I hope to transform that continuity into a good rhythm and a positive result on the track with which to make my contribution to the team. To not compete is something new for me so I have to enjoy and make the most of these opportunities presented to me to continue learning.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"We arrive at a different kind of circuit to the one in Germany because the Hungaroring has a lot of slow turns and few straights, meaning that overtaking isnt easy. Dani will drive in the first free practice session once again and his work, just like in previous events, will definitely be of great use to the team. Both Pedro and Narain are in a good moment of form and given that in theory our car should adapt better to the characteristics of this track, I hope that we can continue with this progress to achieve a good result before heading out on holiday.
Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 19th, 2011 Race - DNF
I had my first Formula One win in 2008 in Hungary so its always good to come back to the Hungaroring. It's fair to say I have some pretty good memories from here and I always have great support from the Finnish fans in Hungary. Theres always a lot of Finns in the crowd as I think its a bit easier for them to get to Hungary, and whenever theres Finnish fans around theres always a great atmosphere!
Technically the circuit is quite tricky as it is a mix of fast and slow corners and even though the cars run with maximum downforce you have to get the setup right for the quick and the slow stuff. The first sector is mostly about straight lines and outright speed but then you get into Sector 2 where it starts to get tight and twisty. The car is generally set up for those corners and if you have a good flow through there you can usually gain some time in that sector and improve on your lap time, if you set yourself and the car up correctly. You need to have good balance over the kerbs so that you can attack them, build up a good rhythm, and maintain your speed over the whole lap.
"The track also evolves a lot throughout the weekend. It usually starts off in quite a slippery state, but by the time we reach qualifying the grip levels can be pretty decent, assuming the weather has remained hot and dry. You just have to keep the evolution in mind during the first practice session and if the balance isnt quite right you shouldnt worry too much or dramatically change the set-up of the car - when the circuit starts to rubber in the car will improve. The rear of the car starts to become more stable and the track always improves as the weekend progresses.
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 12th, 2011 Race - 12th
I have very good memories of Hungary and am really looking forward to getting back to Budapest. In 2010 I out-qualified my team mate Robert Kubica there and I finished fifth in the race, plus its the country where I won my first race in Formula 3000.
Its a challenging circuit for a few reasons. First, its pretty physical as its usually very hot, and second it's a very technical track with tight sections so you need the right setup for each session on track. Physically, despite the heat, it isnt too bad although you need some serious concentration behind the wheel for all 70 laps of the race!
"Hungary will be the last race before our summer break in August and we all need a good break. Before we go on vacation itll be important to stop, analyse and discuss how the season is going with the guys so we can make adjustments for the remaining races. But then itll be time to switch off our own engines for two or three weeks, before coming back for training with recharged batteries for the next half of the season.
Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
The Hungaroring is an interesting challenge for the engineers as it is a low-efficiency circuit, like Monaco or Singapore, so we run high downforce levels across the whole car and that requires a specific approach to setup to give the driver maximum grip around the whole lap.
Hungary is what we call a lateral circuit, which means it is most demanding in cornering, but having good traction is also important as there are a lot of low speed corners where you need to get the car out as efficiently as possible. The track evolves over the weekend, generating more grip as the rubber goes down, so we must always take this into account, particularly during the earlier practice sessions, and manage our car setup and tyre strategies accordingly.
Climate wise, Hungary is usually hot and the track temperatures are relatively high. They often go above 35 degrees Celsius and this adds to the high tyre degradation levels we see. With that in mind, this year in particular, the teams that can keep their cars out on track as long as possible on each set of tyres will benefit the most.
Tony Fernandes, Caterham team principal
The Hungarian Grand Prix marks the mid-point of the F1 season and it is always good to pause for a moment and collect your thoughts before we all head off for a well-deserved summer break. In terms of progress on track we have definitely gained in pace and development but there is obviously more work to do. We are yet to really unlock the whole potential of this car and that will only come with more hard work and more time, but we are absolutely determined to achieve what we have set out to this year.
"On the wider growth and development of the team I could not fault where we are now. We have started moving in to our new home in Leafield and that is a huge step for the F1 team and the whole Caterham Group. Our investment in that facility is a clear sign of how determined we are to join the F1 establishment but it does not stop there. In addition to Leafield we continue to attract well respected people from much bigger teams who are excited about the vision we have for our F1 team and all our automotive operations and we will be making more announcements on the commercial front in the very near future.
Now the team heads to Hungary and the aim there is to get back to the levels of performance we saw in Valencia. We know we can do it, we have the people to put us where we want to be and another week of hard work should be rewarded by a strong performance at the Hungaroring.
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 13th, 2011 Race - 11th
In the past our car has not been brilliant on tracks like the Hungaroring, but with this years car its different. The Sauber C31 has proven to be quick on such twisty tracks as well, so I believe we can be strong there. Recently we were struggling a bit in the rain, but in Hungary the weather has been excellent for the majority of the Grand Prix weekends. Im looking forward to what I hope will be a dry and hot race. The Hungarian Grand Prix is the final race before the summer break and therefore its particularly important. If you achieve a good result you can enjoy the break a lot more and I think after our strong performance in Hockenheim we have all the chances to manage that.
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 10th, 2011 Race - 15th
The Hungaroring is a very special track. It is a bit like the Monaco street circuit with many changes of direction, and the middle sector is especially tricky. I quite like the circuit and also the city of Budapest. We still have to improve our qualifying performance to get better grid positions as, for one reason or another, it went wrong at the recent races. I am sure our car can be as good at the circuit in Budapest as it was in Hockenheim. Last year I made it into Q3 in Hungary and this year we have got a much better car. I will give my utmost this coming weekend. I believe it will be important for the entire team to get in another good result in Hungary because we then disappear into the summer break and we should be able to do that in a positive mood.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
The Hungaroring is traditionally a high downforce circuit, and it requires almost the same level as Monaco. This is mostly because of the time the drivers spend cornering compared to the time they spend on the straights. So the main focus is on downforce. The difference to Monaco is that the corners - mainly slow and medium speed - are flowing. Therefore its important to work on the balance for these kinds of corners. Also the changes of directions are important. There are several of those at different speed levels from the slow chicane at turn six to the high speed corners two and three. Also important is the fact there is only one racing line, which makes qualifying even more important. Left and right of the line its often dirty. It can be windy overnight and blow the sand back on the track. So the way the tyres behave changes a lot from Friday to Sunday. Pirelli is allocating the soft and the medium compound tyres, which is one level higher than one year ago. With lower temperatures this would be a conservative choice, but for the race weekend hot weather is expected, so this should work out well.
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