Hungary 2019 - GP preview - Renault F1
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Renault F1 Team
We left Hockenheim with a bitter taste as, in exceptional races like Sunday’s, you can really pick up some big points.
We have another chance in Hungary to demonstrate what we can do, and I know both drivers are motivated to deliver on the potential and go into the summer on a positive.
We continue to be focused on our objective to build a more competitive car. We had a small taste of what it feels like to be up at the front on merit and this is just the motivation we need heading towards the summer break. The championship is open and, quite clearly, we need to score good points in Hungary to stay in the race.
Chassis Technical Director, Nick Chester, discusses the twists, turns and temperatures of the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary.
What are the challenges of the Hungaroring?
The track is tight, with lots of low speed corners. The only long burst of full throttle is the pit straight. We run in a high downforce configuration, one of only four times over a season we will run it, along with Monaco, Singapore and Mexico. The average speed is therefore low, but it is hard on the tyres, in particular the rears. There aren’t many overtaking possibilities, and qualifying becomes even more critical than at other races.
We are in the middle of a European heatwave. How do these temperatures affect the cars?
The Hungarian Grand Prix is statistically the hottest race of the year. Rain is rare, but it was wet in qualifying last year, so it’s not unheard of. Typically, however, ambient temperatures are very high, often in the high 30s for the entire weekend. We have a bodywork package we can use for extreme heat, which is more open to allow greater heat dissipation. It is likely we will use this in Mexico too, where temperatures can also be very elevated. The heat is very tough on the drivers, who get no rest with the lack of straights. The heat and long duration of the race make it one of the most physical of the year.
A few weeks now until the next race, the Belgian Grand Prix. What are the plans over the summer break?
Everyone is tired after an intensive start the season, but the break will be a chance to recharge the batteries and focus on a significant programme of upgrades we plan to introduce in the second part of the year.
It was heartache for Nico Hülkenberg at home in Germany, but he’s ready to put that to one side and focus on a positive result in Hungary; the final race before the summer break.
How much do you enjoy racing in Hungary?
Hungary is always a good Grand Prix weekend. It also marks the end of the first part of the season as we have the summer break, which I’m looking forward to. It’s been a busy few months tackling this European part of the calendar so it’ll be nice to recharge after the race.
The Hungaroring is a very technical circuit and almost non-stop. Corners come one after the other and they all combine in a way. A small mistake on one corner means you’re off for the next one and it’s therefore quite challenging to string together a lap. You need confidence in the car. It’s a physical race too, not only because it’s busy at the wheel, but also because of the heat. Fitness is very important, but it’s a challenge I enjoy.
Do you have time to visit Budapest?
I like Budapest as a city. It’s one of my favourites on the calendar actually. It’s nice and picturesque with some cool buildings and the river flowing through. The local food is also nice, especially goulash! The fans are always passionate for Formula 1 there, so all in all, it makes it a fun weekend. We’ll be aiming for a good result on track to ensure we head into the summer with something to smile about.
Talk us through your feelings after Germany…
It was a bitter one and I’m very disappointed for the team and myself. We were doing a very good job in difficult conditions. It hurts, but we have the opportunity for an immediate comeback this weekend in Hungary. I’m determined as ever for a strong result.
Daniel Ricciardo exited the German Grand Prix prematurely with an exhaust issue. The Australian now has his eyes firmly on Hungary this weekend, determined for a strong result.
What do you like about the Hungarian Grand Prix?
The Hungarian Grand Prix is a lot of fun. Budapest is a really cool place; it has awesome scenery, there’s good food there and, when there’s time, it’s a great city to have a look round. Everyone has a bit of a spring in their step in Hungary because the summer break is around the corner!
How challenging is a lap of the Hungaroring?
People liken the circuit to Monaco without walls, but it’s tricky to make that reference as it is its own track with its own challenges. It’s fast there, quite tight, but that doesn’t mean overtaking isn’t possible. Plenty goes on at the wheel at the Hungaroring. The middle sector is up there with the best of the whole season. It’s very fast, with changes of direction and a lot of hard work in the cockpit. It’s a good drivers’ track and a real challenge. I have always liked racing in Hungary and I have a good record there, including a memorable victory in 2014 after an epic race.
What’s there to say about the German Grand Prix?
There’s not a lot we can say about Germany as our day ended quite early in the race. Things were becoming interesting out there but an exhaust issue put us out. The team will look into it to ensure we’re not in that position again. I’m looking forward to Budapest and we know how important it is for a strong team result so we’re heading into the summer on a positive.
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