Hungarian GP, the race strategy and the qualifying are very important
Formula 1 (where many teams involved are equipped by BMC) returns to the Hungaroring (Hungary) from July 28 to 30, for the 11th stage of the 2017 World Championship. The Hungarian track was one of the greatest intuition of Bernie Ecclestone: he was the person who wanted to take Formula 1 to Eastern Europe countries.
The Hungarian circuit was inaugurated on March 24th 1986, and five months later it hosted the first Formula 1 GP. Compared to the original version, a chicane has been taken out and the Turn 12 design has been changed. The record on the track belongs to Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) in 2010, the only one able to complete a lap at an average speed of 200 km/h.
A low average compared to the other circuits (except for Munich), which shows the extreme windingness of the track and the need to use high aerodynamic load. The main exception is represented by the first turn after the finishing line which is preceded by a 790 meter straight.
According to Brembo technicians, who classified the 20 tracks in the World Championship on a scale of 1 to 10, the Hungaroring circuit falls into the category ofcircuits presenting medium difficulty for the brakes. The Hungarian track has been given a difficulty level of 7, the same as Munich, Barcelona and Sepang circuits.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
So, as at Baku, brakes are used 11 times every lap; but the Azerbaigian track is 1.7 km longer. At the Hungaroring only 3 braking areas are extended to 2 seconds and they are all concentrated in the part of the track that is visible from the main stand. Every lap the brakes are in operation for 16 and a half seconds, that is the equivalent of 22% of the length of the race. Only the Munich GP has a higher percentage, at 23%.
Average deceleration per lap is 4g, the same as at Baku and Spa-Francorchamps, but compared to them the Hungarian track stands out because it does not have even one braking area with deceleration less than 3g.
The presence of so many bends results in the energy dissipated in braking being very high: 206 kWh, almost three times as much as Silverstone. This is the equivalent of the energy required for all the public lighting in Budapest for nine minutes!
From the start line to the chequered flag, each rider puts a total pressure of 100 tons on the brake pedal, the second highest in the World Championship after Munich. A considerable effort for riders, in addition to the high temperatures in this period. This value is the equivalent of the weight of 170 grey Hungarian cows!
The most demanding braking sections
Of the 11 braking sections at Hungaroring, 2 are classified as demanding on the brakes, 7 are of medium difficulty and the remaining 2 are light.
The hardest for the braking system is the first turn after the finish: the single-seaters arrive at a speed of 320 km/h and slow down to 91 km/h in just 65 meters, less than twice the length of a water polo pool. Riders exert a load of 156 kg for 2,69 seconds, and undergo a deceleration of 4,8 g.
The braking section at turn 12 is also very hard: speed plummets from 288 km/h to 118 km/h in only 1,91 seconds and 49 meters. The drivers are required to apply a remarkable amount of force: 4,7 g in deceleration and 158 kg load on the brake pedal.
On turns 8, 9 and 11 the brake is crucial to lose 35 km/h to 55 km/h of speed downshifting a gear: for each of these braking sections only 10 to 16 meters are needed, although the load on the pedal is not at all insignificant, ranging between 75 kg and 121 kg.
The GP from a tyre point of view
The Hungarian Grand Prix will use P Zero White medium, P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft: exactly the same selection that was chosen in Hungary last year, and the fifth time that this particular combination has been used in 2017 (including at the last race in Great Britain). The Hungaroring presents a big contrast to Silverstone though: while it is another well-established permanent venue, it actually has some of the characteristics of a street circuit, such as tight and twisty corners, quite low grip, as well as contained average lap speeds. The weather can be extremely hot, increasing thermal degradation, which is one reason why the medium tyre is brought to Hungary.
The circuit from a tyre point of view
The Hungaroring is an unremitting series of corners, with the tyres constantly working.
Hungary produced some of the hottest track temperatures of 2016 after a wet Saturday: two stops was the winning strategy last year.
Teams run quite high downforce levels to maximise corner speeds but emphasis is one mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip.
In the past, we’ve seen that safety cars can affect race strategy in Hungary.
There’s only one real straight, meaning the tyres don’t get much chance to cool down.
Overtaking is notoriously difficult, putting the emphasis on qualifying and strategy.
Handling and agility are key to a quick lap rather than outright power.
The analysis of…
Mario Isola – Pirelli Motorsport – Head of Car Racing
“The track was resurfaced in time for last year’s Grand Prix and it will be interesting to see the effect of this change one year on, as the new asphalt matures. We noticed last year that it was smoother and generally faster than the previous surface. The team’s tyre selections have leaned in favour of soft and supersoft, so we obviously expect that to form the basis of their strategies. Hungary is traditionally a race where strategy makes the difference, also because of the difficulty of overtaking, so the data collection process on Friday and Saturday should be even more important than usual with this brand-new generation of faster cars”.
Numbers & curiosities
18.5 psi(1.275 bar) minimum starting pressures (front slick)
17.5 psi(1.206 bar) minimum starting pressures (rear slicks)
–3.75° camber limit (front)
–2.00° camber limit (rear)
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