crowd scene in hungary with lots of ferrari flags flying

Did you know that despite being one of the slowest tracks on the calendar, the Hungarian Grand Prix can be one of the most strategic and tactical? With limited opportunities to overtake, anyone behind the grid must use their driving skills to move up. But do you know the history of this famous track?

If not, then we can give you its background. Read on as we discuss the essential history of the Hungarian Grand Prix. 

Origins of the Formula One GP in Hungary

The first Hungarian Grand Prix took place in 1936. Situated in the National Park area of Budapest, the event was a massive success for the three teams that entered and the spectators. However, the war meant that it vanished soon after and did not return for fifty years. 

When it did return in 1986, it became the first event to be held behind the Iron Curtain. Bernie Ecclestone had been trying to negotiate a regular race in Russia for some time. With his attempts failing to come to fruition, Hungary took up the offer. 

This Grand Prix was planned to be a street circuit around the capital Budapest. However, planning complications meant a purpose-built track was constructed outside the city near the town of Mogyorod. It took only eight months to build. 

ariel view of the hungarian gp track

The Hungaroring Hungarian F1 Track

The Hungaroring has been the home of the Formula One GP in Hungary ever since, though it has undergone three significant changes since 1986. Initially, the circuit measured 4.014km and was notoriously tough to overtake. In 1989 the third turn changed from a right-left-right chicane to a corner better for overtaking, reducing the size to 3.975km. 

In 2003 further alterations took place. A new straight appeared between turns eleven and twelve. The main straight was also extended to add a sharper corner, taking the track length up to 4.381km. 

An announcement in 2013 stated the track had its F1 contract extended until 2021. A resurfacing took place in 2016, and the contract was extended until 2026, with a further contract pushing this to 2027.

Must-Know Hungarian Grand Prix Facts

In an average race on the track, a car will spend 44% of its time at full throttle. The average speed of a vehicle will be 200 kph. Around 70,000 fans will be in attendance, a large contingent coming from Finland because of the easy air links and relatively low cost. 

The Hungaroring has one of the longest strings of races on the F1 calendar, having hosted races since 1986. This has only been eclipsed by the Monza Circuit, which has held races consecutively since 1981.  

In 2006, Jensen Button won the race despite starting in 14th place. He had been given a 10-place starting penalty, and it was his first win after 113 races without one. It was considered an outstanding achievement as overtaking is known to be particularly tough at the Hungaroring. 

To put into perspective how hard overtaking is, only two of thirty-five previous winners have come from starts beyond the first two rows. Other than Button, the only other person to have done this is Nigel Mansell, who came from a 12th position start to win for Ferrari in 1989. 

The record for wins on the track goes to Lewis Hamilton, who currently has eight wins at the Hungaroring. He is closely followed by Schumacher with four and Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Damon Hill, and Jacques Villeneuve all on three. 

Constructors that hold the most wins are McLaren, with eleven wins on the track. Ferrari and Williams follow this with seven. Mercedes have four. 

f1 cars racing around a corner in hungary

A Race of Firsts

There have been many firsts at the circuit over the years. Jaime Alguersuari, Robert Kubica, Anthony Davidson, and Zsolt Baumgartner are the only four drivers to make their first appearances at the Hungaroring. 

Several drivers have also had their first F1 wins at the track. Damon Hill took one in 1993, followed by Fernando Alonso in 2003, Jensen Button in 2006, and Heikki Kovalainen in 2008. 

Max Verstappen also had his first pole position in 2019. In 2009 Mark Webber also had his first fastest lap. 

Memorable Moments

As well as being notorious for overtaking, the track is well known for its arid, dusty summer conditions. The first wet race to ever occur here was in 2006, when Button claimed his spectacular win. 

The 2007 Grand Prix was a particular highlight. Despite racing for the same team, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were in a heated battle. 

Despite team orders, Hamilton refused to let Alonso pass in the qualifying stages. Alonso would return the favour by blocking Hamilton in the pitlane, preventing a high-speed lap. The result was that Hamilton ended up starting in pole position, yet Alonso had his taken and was moved to sixth on the starting grid. 

Another memorable moment at the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix came in 1989 when Nigel Mansell was two seconds ahead of the field. This helped him move from 12th in the running toward the head of the race. Ayrton Senna was at the front of the race, with Mansell hot in pursuit. 

At the end of the race, Senna made an error while trying to lap the other racers. Mansell sped past on the inside, soon taking a 25-second lead and clinching the race. 

Attending the Formula One GP in Hungary

Now you know the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix, consider visiting this exciting event. As one of the most cerebral races on the calendar, it can be a battle for drivers to get the results they need. 

Your first stop should be Grand Prix Adventures. We have a range of hospitality packages for all the world Grand Prix events. Contact us here to book your next trip, and let us get you trackside.  

red bull screeching its tyres and burning rubber


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