Formula 1 Hungary Grand Prix Preview Foreword from Renault Sport Racing Managing Director, Cyril Abiteboul
We head to Hungary with a positive mood brought about by the recent performance gains we have seen to the R.S.17. Budapest is the final race before the summer break and this gives us added motivation.
Silverstone had many strong positives, which occurred on the weekend of our 40th anniversary. We made a return to the points thanks to Nico's impressive drive to sixth place; our joint best finish of the season. He drove well with few mistakes and we combined that with a good strategy and pit-stop, to finish over 30 seconds ahead of the Force Indias. However, this success is tinged with disappointment for Jolyon who unfortunately could not start the race after an issue with the hydraulic system. He was in a good position on the grid in eleventh at his home race and was well on course to be in contention for his first points of the season, thus it's a disappointment.
We have shown at Silverstone that we are continuing to improve. Chassis developments, in particular the new floor, proved to be positive exemplified from Nico's eight points and both cars showing strong qualifying pace. It's critical to back up this improvement with both cars finishing in the top ten in Hungary – we want to finish the first half of the season on a positive note. To achieve this, we need to put behind our reliability problems. We know our situation and the areas which require more attention.
Our targets remain unchanged; we want to be sixth by the end of play on 30th July and fifth by the end of the season. A double-points finish is well within our reach.
The British Grand Prix weekend was also notable for other reasons. Our Academy and other drivers showcased their talent on the track. Test Driver Nicholas Latifi scored his first-ever Formula 2 win after a calm drive on Sunday, whilst Jack Aitken and also Development Driver Oliver Rowland were on the podium in Silverstone in GP3 and Formula 2, respectively. Elsewhere, Christian Lundgaard had another good weekend with two wins and a podium in Formula 4.
Ahead of Silverstone, Formula 1 held a fantastic event in London. Feedback has been universally in praise of this, so we are hopeful of similar initiatives in the future.
Tight and twisty
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What are the challenges of the Hungaroring?
It's tight and twisty throughout, aside from a big long straight across the start and finish line. It has many low and medium speed corners, which demand stability on corner entry and strong traction on the exit. It's quite hard on both the front and rear tyres so overall it can be characterised as a tough handling circuit. It's not the most frequented of circuits, so the surface starts the weekend a bit green, then improves through the weekend.
What are your post-Silverstone thoughts?
We had significant aero upgrades in Silverstone and we expected to see improvements in overall grip and stability. We made the car more drivable with more downforce. It took a big step forward and we could see that in the measurements made in the car, so we are reasonably confident this will carry forward.
What caused Jo to miss the race?
It was something as simple as an O ring in the hydraulic system. We've been investigating thoroughly to determine why it failed to ensure we don't see this again.
What new parts are there for Budapest?
Both cars will have the new floor we validated. We will evaluate updated front bodywork and a modified cooling package.
Nico Hülkenberg made a welcome return to the points at Silverstone, and he wants to build on that positive weekend in Budapest on a physically demanding Hungaroring circuit.
What do you make of the Hungaroring?
I like Hungary, it's a good Grand Prix. The track is cool and technical with lots of good corner combinations which come one after the other. It feels like all of the corners combine, one error means you will suffer in another corner; you need a good flow and harmony. It's a physical track, very hot too which is hard on us drivers. I like the track: it's a demanding circuit, you don't get too many breaks on the lap, so it's a Grand Prix which comes down to fitness, more so than others.
And what about the Hungarian culture?
I think the city of Budapest is pretty especially with all its architecture. In terms of food, they have the Hungarian goulash which is very popular. It's certainly an interesting and pretty country and usually very hot there. There are lots of things to do and see, it's a cool and buzzing weekend which means it's usually good fun for the fans.
You must be delighted with your Silverstone weekend?
I was happy with Silverstone, it was a very positive weekend. The new floor worked well and took the car a step forward. We managed to translate a good starting position into a strong finish. The pace was really good, we were faster than the midfield competition, so best of the rest which is nice. We rewarded ourselves with some points which is important. Sixth is good for me, and good for the team who have been pushing hard. Now it's time to reboot and go again in Budapest.
A change of luck
A luckless British Grand Prix for Jolyon Palmer means he has extra grit to seek a change of fortune on a technical Budapest circuit.
What are your thoughts on the Hungaroring?
I really like Budapest, it brings up some good memories such as when I won there in the GP2 Series in 2013. The track is different in nature to many others in terms of having a lot of slow speed corners. Once you brake for the first turn you don't get much of a breather until you're back round again and on to the straight.
The entire circuit flows together and makes for an exciting lap, there is little room for error in terms of braking and turning points, everything has to go smoothly. It's difficult to overtake there and it's important to find a good rhythm. It's fun to drive a lap, it's usually good for racing, so hopefully I can have a change of luck and finally get some points.
How are you going to find that change of luck?
I have burnt the unlucky underpants, so they are now out of the way! I'm not superstitious, but you have to say this run of bad luck has to end.
What were the positives from Silverstone?
The big negative was obviously not being able to start the race. That was unbelievably frustrating, especially as it was my home Grand Prix and I had a lot of support. I couldn't believe it. But, on the positives, there were certainly a couple of good things from Silverstone. My qualifying pace was decent and I managed my second best run of the season. I drove with the new floor in FP1 and it was working nicely, meaning I'm happy to have it for Budapest. Nico showed the benefit of the floor across last weekend with his strong qualifying and race pace. It's exciting for the team as we looked competitive and ahead of our midfield rivals. That's all I hope for in Hungary.
Podium for Aitken on home turf
Jack Aitken moved up to fourth in the GP3 Drivers' standings after a positive weekend at his home Grand Prix in Silverstone.
Jack sealed a second place finish in Sunday's second race adding to his fourth position the previous day.
An extended weekend for the GP3 series meant practice started on Thursday with Jack comfortably running in the top three.
A challenging qualifying session on Friday saw Jack put his ART machine in fifth but he gained a place in the opening race to take home 12 points. Sunday proved stronger for the 21-year-old who was battling for the lead for most of the race before falling narrowly short to Giuliano Alesi.
Jack Aitken: 'I'm a bit gutted not to come away with a win at my home Grand Prix but we fought back from a tough start to the weekend to get another solid haul of points. We got the car more to my liking by the end of the weekend and we were on for the win in Race 2 before the safety car came out. I enjoyed putting a few moves out there and the support has been amazing from the fans. I'm looking forward to getting out to Budapest.'
Two wins for Lundgaard in Moscow
Christian Lundgaard won two races and added a podium in an impressive weekend in Moscow.
In the process, the Dane extended his lead at the top of the SMP F4 NEZ Championship to 55 points after another dominant weekend in the series.
Christian qualified on pole for race one where he led from lights to flag to take a sixth win of the season. And the teen made it a seventh triumph as he took the second race after weaving his way through from seventh on the grid.
Christian almost had a perfect weekend following pole positions for races one and three, but missed out on the hat-trick of victories in the final race and settled for a solid third.
Spanish youngster Marta García also raced in Moscow as her regular Spanish F4 series does not resume until September. Marta had a testing weekend on her debut in the championship but shone in the final race by taking sixth place and a number of points.
Christian Lundgaard: 'The weekend overall was fantastic, we made a massive points gain on Alexander Smolyar in the championship which was what we needed. Difficult conditions meant we had to work hard and get it all in place and we managed to do that. I have a good lead in the standings now, but it's time to work hard or go home.'
Marta García: 'I had lots of ups and downs in Moscow. I didn't qualify too well which meant starting low down in the first two races and a couple of crashes put me out of those. In the second qualifying, I was seventh and closer to the top and I managed to finish in sixth. Overall I am happy with my performance, I feel I have made a step forward and I will keep working to get to the top.'
Eurocup trio endure challenging Nürburgring weekend
Max Fewtrell took home 14 points after finishing sixth and seventh in Round Six of the Formula Renault Eurocup series at the Nürburgring.
Max qualified fifth for race one and went back a position after dicing with fellow rookie Dan Ticktum. Sunday morning's second race was under wet conditions as Max drove to a sensible seventh with the safety car restricting the racing for most of the 25 minutes.
Jarno Opmeer secured two sixteenth place finishes, with the Dutchman showing his wet race skills after working his way from 30th on the grid on Sunday.
Sun Yue Yang finished 26th and 21st and will go in search of a first points finish of the season at the Red Bull Ring (22nd-23rd July).
Max Fewtrell: 'It was a frustrating weekend as we showed good speed in practice and qualifying. I was targeting a podium as I had the pace for it. We just need to put it all right and get some good results in Austria.'
Jarno Opmeer: 'It was a difficult weekend, but I learned a lot about the car and where we need to make improvements. I am confident for this weekend and we will come back stronger.'
Sun Yue Yang: 'Germany was a difficult and challenging weekend. I pushed too hard in qualifying and made mistakes, which meant I was low down on the grid. I showed improvements in the second qualifying and closed the gap to the front. In the races, I improved my overtaking techniques and made a couple of moves. I need to move higher up in races.'
Latifi takes first Formula 2 victory as Rowland seals another podium
Renault Sport Formula One Team Test Driver Nicholas Latifi drove his way to a maiden Formula 2 victory in Sunday's Silverstone Sprint.
The Canadian was on pole for the race after finishing eighth in the Feature race on Saturday. A late safety car threatened to spoil Nicholas' party, who remained cool and composed to take the chequered flag and a first visit to the top step of the podium in the class.
Renault Sport Formula One Team Development Driver Oliver Rowland finished a solid third in the Feature race for his sixth podium of the season. The Sheffield man, racing at his home Grand Prix, was given a 20-second time penalty in the Sprint, wiping out his fourth place classification.
Nicholas Latifi: 'Silverstone was a good weekend, and I was delighted to get a first Formula 2 win. I was confident heading into the weekend; I made a mistake on my qualifying lap but my race pace is usually my strength. I had a problem in race one, I felt something funny, but eighth was a good finish and put me on pole for the Sprint. I knew I needed a good start, I was a bit nervous there, but I managed to defend my positon well and managed the gap to take the win, which is pleasing. Budapest is a tricky track so we need to work hard and ensure we keep the form going.'
Oliver Rowland: 'I had a slightly slow start in the Feature race and third was all I could manage. Being on the podium was great especially at my home Grand Prix. The Sprint was disappointing as I crossed the line fourth with the penalty taking me out of the points.'
Important points for Renault e.dams in New York double-header
Renault e.dams extended their lead at the summit of the FIA Formula E Team's Championship to 65 points as Pierre Gasly, stand-in for the absent Séb Buemi, and Nico Prost took home 30 points in New York.
Séb, despite not racing in Brooklyn, has a slender advantage of 10 points ahead of Lucas di Grassi at top of the Drivers' standings ahead of the final two races in Montréal, 29-30 July, the same weekend as the Hungarian Grand Prix.
In Saturday's opening race, Pierre, on his Formula E debut, made a great charge from nineteenth on the grid to take seventh place. Nico finished eighth after a challenging qualifying session.
On Sunday, Pierre soon got to grips with the car and qualified in fourth with Nico in fourteenth. The young Frenchman had to work to maintain his fourth position whilst Nico sensibly worked his way up to sixth and another haul of points.
Montréal sees the third season of Formula E conclude with both Séb and Renault e.dams having their sights set on a Driver and Team championship double.
Alain Prost, co-owner of the team: 'We ended a stressful weekend in the best way possible with a positive result. This is thanks to a great achievement from Pierre and a strong recovery from Nicolas, who started the race in 14th. We are satisfied leaving New York with an important advantage in the Teams' standings. I would like to thank the whole team for their work, for being calm and to the drivers who did exactly what we asked, in order to score these important points.'
The 4.381km Hungaroring circuit provides Formula 1 drivers with a real test of skill and precision. A slight error can seriously dent a lap-time with the track boasting frequent medium speed corners and a chicane at turns six and seven. The circuit will be a bit green in the early running on Friday with the speeds set to soar under the scorching Budapest sun as the weekend progresses.
T1 - Heavy braking from over 300kph on the main straight to under 100kph at the first turn creates the most likely overtaking opportunity on the circuit.
T2 - The track runs quite noticeably downhill into T2. With high potential for drivers to out-brake themselves here, they will need to keep their wits about them.
T5 - Moderate braking from around 240kph to 150kph at T5 follows the slight kink of T4; a tricky series of corners taken at medium/high speed.
T6-7 – A tricky chicane with big kerbs. The track narrows here and has seen some ambitious overtaking manoeuvres in previous years.
T8 - There's little braking here and no room for error, as a small mistake at any stage can have a big effect on overall lap time. The drivers need a well-balanced car with good change of direction capabilities through this section.
T13 - The second slowest corner on the circuit, T13 is a tight left hander taken at around 100kph before launching the car into the final turn.
T14 - A good exit from the third gear T14 is crucial, as it leads on to the circuits' only straight and subsequently into T1; the best overtaking opportunity around the lap.
Power Unit Notes:
The Hungaroring is not considered a power sensitive track since one lap is taken at just 55% full throttle. The average speed is just over 195kph during qualifying, with each corner taken from second to fourth gear.
The turbo is highly solicited in Hungary. The driver is constantly on and off the power and having a turbo that can kick in instantly with accurate power will greatly reduce lap time by improving driveability. Sector two is critical for turbo response since the corners are mid to low speed, with rapid braking events. Delivering power when needed is important to overall lap time reduction.
The heavy braking zones will provide the K with the opportunity to recover energy. The main energy recovery points for the MGU-K will be the first corner, where the cars will brake from almost 310kph to under 90kph, and almost the entirety of sector two. Turns six and seven (the chicane) in particular feature another heavy braking zone that gives further opportunity to recover energy.
The MGU-H is really put through its paces in Budapest, possibly more so than at any other circuit so far this year. This is due to the small bursts of power between the corners which are very intense.
Ambient temperatures are expected to be hot, with the mercury well over the 30°C mark. Advanced cooling and heat dissipation strategies are to prevent overheating.
Medium (white) – Palacsinta – A version of crépes, Hungarian style. Versatile, durable and made to specific liking.
Soft (yellow) – Lángos – Can never go wrong with a sheet of fried dough; ever reliable with its flexibility to smother in sauces.
Supersoft (red) – Goulash – The popular Hungarian soup, packs a punch with its spice and fiery taste.
44 – The Hungarian alphabet has 44 letters.
1000 – Number of tonnes of Paprika produced annually in Hungary.
1500 – Hungary has around 1500 thermal water springs.
July 16th 2017 marked a special day for the Renault Sport Formula One Team family. Exactly 40 years to the day, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, pioneer of the RS01, steered around the Silverstone circuit for the first time, announcing Renault's presence in the sport.
Of course, the team has gone on to achieve plenty of success and achievement across the four decades including back-to-back world championship wins in 2005 and 2006. To celebrate the memories and glory, Renault hosted a party in the garage and even served tea out of the 'Yellow Teapot'…
Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester explains the demands of the challenging Hungaroring circuit as the R.S.17 continues to demonstrate improved pace.