BMW Sauber travels to Hungary with muted expectations

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After its country outings in Northampto

  • nshire and the Eifel, Formula One is about to sniff some big-city air again. The Hungarian Grand Prix takes place from 24th to 26th July on the sinuous Hungaroring just outside Budapest.

  • Robert Kubica: “Hungary is a very special Grand Prix for me. In 2006 I made my debut there, and there are always a lot of Polish fans as Budapest is quite close to Poland. Last year was amazing – it was like being in Poland.

    “The Hungaroring is very special, tricky and physically demanding. Driving the main straight is the only time you can recover. Almost over the entire track you leave one corner and immediately approach the next. Beyond that, it is very hot in Hungary, which makes it demanding for the driver and the tyres. As a lot of corners are quite bumpy, the car’s balance will be another crucial factor.”

    Nick Heidfeld: “I’m very fond of the Hungaroring. The track suits me and I also have some good memories of racing there and achieving good results in the past. It was in Hungary in 1999 that I secured an early championship title in Formula 3000, and in 2006 and 2007 I was on the podium for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

    “We can generally expect high air temperatures in Hungary. That doesn’t bother me from a physical point of view, although the races on this twisty circuit are always exhausting, and it could help us get the tyres into the temperature window to work well. One drawback in terms of grip, especially at the start of the weekend, is always the dust that blows onto the track from the surrounding landscape.”

    Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “This year our team heads for the Hungarian Grand Prix with muted expectations. So far our car just hasn’t been fast enough for any top placings. We are nevertheless working flat-out on ongoing development of the F1.09 – for two reasons. This year’s new aerodynamic regulations will remain the same for next season. What we are learning from our present car will flow virtually 1:1 into the concept for the F1.10. Besides that, under the test ban in force, the race weekend offers the only chance to track-test new developments and components. It’s an opportunity that has to be utilised. Beyond that, we naturally want to prove to our fans and, not least, to ourselves that we are also capable of reversing a deficit.”

    Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: “After Monaco, the Hungaroring has the second-lowest average speed of all the Formula One circuits. The mainly slow and medium-fast corners follow in quick succession and the start/finish straight is relatively short. Because dust continually blows onto the track, grip levels tend to be low at the beginning of each of the practice sessions, which can lead to understeer. For the car set-up the focus is primarily on the middle sector with its variety of corner combinations. Another factor that has to be taken into account is that the rear tyres come under heavy loads during the race. Air and track temperatures are traditionally very high in Hungary, which should favour the optimal use of tyres.”