Overheating will be key – Pirelli’s race preview

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For the third round of the 2020 F1 season, the Hungarian Grand Prix, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli will allocate teams with the same trio of compounds that were used in the opening two rounds at the Red Bull Ring.

The delayed 2020 Formula 1 season continues at the Hungaroring with the third race of a triple-header: never seen before in F1, except once in 2018. The tyre selections are the same as the previous two races in Austria: C2 as the P Zero White hard, C3 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 as the P Zero Red soft.

Like the Red Bull Ring, the Hungaroring is a short four-kilometre lap with several changes in elevation. However, it’s much slower and more flowing, putting the emphasis on mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip. Although track position is of key importance around the twisty Hungaroring where overtaking is nearly impossible, Pirelli expects tyre management to play a vital role during the 70-lap race.

The 4.38km long track presents drivers with a non-stop sequence of 14 mainly slow corners and with only one short straight at the start-finish. This means that the tyres are constantly working: some drivers even compare it to their time in karting.

Given the evolution of the 2020 cars compared to last year’s machines, Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola expects drivers to fight for track records over the weekend.

“For the first time, the Hungaroring is only the third race of the year. With the same tyre nominations and allocations as the first two races – at a venue that is well-established on the F1 calendar – the drivers should have a good idea of what to expect. Last year’s race broke a lap record that had stood since 2004, so it will be interesting to see if the times come down further with the 2020 cars, which of course still use our 2019 tyres.

The heat and the lack of long straights on the Hungaroring usually test the durability of tyres. Isola highlighted that managing the overheating of the tyres will be the main task for the drivers around the Hungaroring.

„The Hungaroring is a very demanding track on both cars and drivers, where managing overheating is always essential, and so it’s thrown up a few surprises in the past. It’s going to be interesting to see if the disrupted start to the season has any effect on the competitive order this weekend, with some teams bringing new developments as well,” he added.