With an average speed of just 200 kph (124 mph), the Hungaroring is the slowest permanent circuit on the Formula One calendar. The track has 14 corners and few straights, which puts increased emphasis on downforce and mechanical grip. Likened to Monaco or a full-sized karting circuit, the Hungaroring offers few overtaking opportunities, meaning qualifying is of utmost importance. But if not at the front, drivers can attempt to emulate Jensen Button’s performance in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix where he drove from 14th to first.
In today’s era, that kind of tenacity needs to be aided by tire strategy, for it is a key cog in a driver’s upward climb. Tire management is a crucial part of that strategy as the Hungaroring is incredibly tough on tires. Typically hot weather combined with a high amount of traction, braking and lateral energy demands work the tires and the driver hard. However, these forces are all relatively equal, meaning a neutral setup is required. An extreme level of fitness is required for the drivers, who are seemingly always turning the wheel amid high temperatures with scant amounts of air flowing through the car.
But before the action starts on the Hungaroring circuit, four drivers will face the media tomorrow ahead of this weekend’s 12th round of the 2018 Formula One season. Amongst them there will also be Scuderia Ferrari Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, who will be joined by Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Carlos Sainz (Renault) and Esteban Ocon (Force India). Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene will then take part in Friday’s press conference, alongside Toto Wolf (Mercedes), Robert Fernley (Force India) and Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing.
The line-ups in full:
Thursday, July 26, 1500 hours local time
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Carlos Sainz (Renault) and Esteban Ocon (Force India), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
Friday, July 27, 1300 hours local time
Toto Wolf (Mercedes), Robert Fernley (Force India), Mario Isola (Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing), Maurizio Arrivabene (Ferrari)
The qualifying and post-race conferences with the top three drivers will take place immediately after the respective sessions.