(Renault Sport F1)
This weekend Formula One is back in action, this time the teams travel to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Renault head to Hungary with Infiniti Red Bull Racing having finished the race in 4th place (Vettel) and 6th place (Ricciardo).
The Hungaroring circuit is very similar in characteristics to the temporary street circuit in Monte Carlo. The circuit in Hungary has often been described as an extended Go-Karting circuit. There are a number of extremely slow corners with the main straight giving driver's one of the best opportunities to overtake. There is also a good overtaking opportunity out of Turn three as the driver's fly down to the heavy braking zone of turn 4. Speaking about this weekend's race Renault Sport's Head of Track Operations Remi Taffin said:
'The Hungarian Grand Prix stands in total contrast to the previous Grands Prix. It is a very slow track, with one lap taken at just 55% full throttle as opposed to the 65 – 70% of the last four races. The average speed is expected to be a touch over 180kph, with each corner taken from second to fourth gear. It’s therefore not particularly power sensitive and the ICE will have a relatively easy time at this race. For these reasons we concentrate on delivering the most driveable Power Unit rather than looking at top end speed. In the V8 era it was standard practice to use a unit on its third race and the same principle will be applied this year as we will use V6 ICEs on one of the last races of their lives, if possible.
The turbo, MGU-H and MGU-K will be highly solicited, however, as driveability is crucial to minimising lap time due to the high volume of slow speed turns. The heavy braking zones will provide the K with the opportunity to recover energy. Sector two, the twistiest part of the track, is the main chance to do so since the cars negotiate mainly third gear corners, with a top speed of no more than 245kph at any one time. The small bursts of power between the corners will likewise give the H the chance to recover the heat energy from the exhaust. These intense periods will however be extremely unforgiving on the internals and we may well use a part in the earlier stage of its life to give improved performance and reliability.
Of all the races in the first part of the season, this is the one where the turbo will be the most obvious. 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.
All round, the Hungaroring may be a slow track but it’s definitely not an easy place to finish the first part of the year!
© Ben Johnston 2014