As the Formula One teams arrive in Eastern Europe this week for the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, thoughts turn to the high temperatures and the effects on the drivers.
As the Formula One teams arrive in Eastern Europe this week for the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, thoughts turn to the high temperatures and the effects on the drivers. Imagine driving for two hours in these conditions, in a very small car, with all the windows closed, the heating on maximum, while wearing a thick woollen coat, gloves, hats and boots. The experience might give you a "lite" version of what a Formula 1 driver goes through during a grand prix. This Sunday's race in Budapest is traditionally one of the hottest of the year and therefore one of the toughest for the drivers.
As a professional athlete, a Formula 1 driver already has a high level of fitness and, at this stage in the year, combating the heat and humidity does not really involve looking at the driver's general level of fitness as this is something that goes on all the time, and is more of a medium to long term project.
The Hungarian Grand Prix is the second slowest race on the Formula One calendar and is located approximately 20km north of Budapest, the circuit is set in a natural valley surrounded by rolling countryside.. In the first race in 1986, drivers were shown the chequered flag one lap earlier than planned because the two-hour limit had been reached, even though there hadn't been a drop of rain.
Following on from Ferrari's dominant display in Germany, pressure comes on the other teams to step up. Hoping for repeat success McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen remembers well the victory in 2006: "The Hungarian race is like a home Grand Prix for me so I am always really looking forward to it, we get all the crazy Finnish fans that come down to watch the racing and I hope I can put in a great result for them."
"At the Hungaroring, the main factor is downforce, we don't need to worry about aero efficiency or drag. This is as a result of all the slow, tight corners, and you will see all the cars running with maximum wing. Overtaking here is tricky, nevertheless I passed two cars on the first lap last year. It is a bit better since they modified the first corner, but qualifying is very important, perhaps more so than at any other race apart from Monaco. Along with Monaco the Hungaroring is the most demanding in terms of engine cooling, as there are no real straights and the temperature is always so high. So we will run with bigger radiators and apertures to increase the cooling within the car. The race has in the past been affected by the dusty track surface however they now have a truck that cleans up the dust beforehand so track conditions are more constant over the weekend, which makes set-up less tricky."
Hungarian Grand Prix data file:
Circuit length 4.381 km
Race distance 306.663 km
Inaugural race 1986