Hungarian Grand Prix: PreviewJuly 26, 2022
Haas F1 Team is heading to the Hungaroring, Budapest, for Round 13 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
The Hungarian Grand Prix joined Formula 1’s schedule in 1986, as new territories were explored, and the Hungaroring has since established itself as a mainstay on the calendar. Only Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza has a longer unbroken spell on Formula 1’s roster. The circuit lies on the outskirts of capital city Budapest, which straddles the iconic Danube River, and features hilly and historic areas alongside vibrant districts that are often popular ahead of Formula 1’s annual summer recess.
The Hungaroring is a tight and twisty venue, with an abundance of narrow medium-speed turns, and little in the way of lengthy full-throttle sections. That often places a greater emphasis on grid position, tire usage and race strategy. Hot conditions frequently influence proceedings but so to can central Europe’s fickle summer storms. The races in 2020 and 2021 were both affected by wet weather that shook up the expected order and created suspenseful grands prix.
Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher have vast experienced of the bowl-like Hungaroring. Magnussen has completed all six of his Hungarian grands prix entries, with a best of seventh in 2018, while Schumacher grabbed a season-best 12th at the event in his rookie 2021 championship.
Haas F1 Team enters the Hungarian Grand Prix, the final round prior to the summer recess, in seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, on 34 points.
Guenther Steiner – Team Principal of Haas F1 Team
The French Grand Prix, while in terms of Sunday’s result wasn’t what was hoped for, the event itself again had positives with pace and performance in the VF-22 – as demonstrated in qualifying and at the start of the race. What are your takeaways from the team’s showing at Circuit Paul Ricard?
“We know now where the car can be if we do a good job and I think in France we did a good job. Kevin had a penalty with the engine so he started from the back but he showed in qualifying what he could do and Mick did the same, but unfortunately he was a little bit too far out from where you need to be, so we started at the back end but in the first laps we made up a lot of positions.
"I think we had a very good strategy, also looking back at it now, and we knew that would give us our best chance at getting into the points but unfortunately the safety car came out at the most inconvenient time for both cars so from then on it was downhill. What we can take away is that if we can get the car in the right spot set-up wise, we can compete at the top of the midfield.”
The VF-22 gets its first major upgrade package this weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix. What can you share about the updates coming and the gains expected over what’s now proved itself to be a solid base design over the first 12 races of the season?
“As many people know, we waited a bit longer to bring our upgrade to track because I think we still have good pace. Now what we want to do is put performance on. What exactly it will do, I don’t want to say because I don’t want to jinx it, but we know what it should be doing from our development. We’ll just have to wait and see what we can get out of the package.
“In the end, we couldn’t get two car kits to the race track, so with Kevin being in front in the championship we gave him the package to try. Unfortunately we had a few delays in the development stage, so we postponed it from the French Grand Prix to Hungary. Also, with the spares situation we had at the beginning of the season, up to race seven or eight, we fell a bit behind in production and therefore we don’t have enough parts for two cars. We struggle with spare parts for one car so hopefully we can get it done and bring it to Hungary.
“Everybody has worked really hard – the team and our suppliers – to make this happen so I’m still very happy that we bring it on one car to Hungary. We want to get some data before the summer break so we have something to work from when we get back, and if all goes well we’ll have it on both cars.”
With the Hungarian Grand Prix the final race before the mandatory FIA summer shutdown, can you share what your personal highlights have been from the first half of the 2022 season and what your hopes are for the second half?
“I think the highlights were the start of the season – scoring sixth place in Bahrain and then after quite a few races where we didn’t get any points to come back strong in Silverstone and Austria. They’re my two highlights and hopefully we can keep it going once we come back, but first we have Hungary and we have to hope that we get something there. After the break I hope we can get into a groove and try to score points at every race.”
What are your plans for the break in August – is there more epic mountain climbing on the horizon or are you looking at something a little more relaxing this time around?
“I stay a little bit lower this year! I’m going to go and spend a few days in Tuscany with the family just to relax a little bit but otherwise I’ll do some hiking, but I won’t be going up that high this year. It’s good to have a few weeks off and it’s good for the whole team so we can get a bit of energy back to be strong for when we come back at the end of August.”
Looking ahead, the schedule includes a triple-header immediately following the summer break, is that a positive to get back into the swing of things or would a more balanced return to racing be favorable to teams?
“I think there is no ideal solution to a calendar like this. I think coming back and doing three races, the fortunate thing is that all three are in Europe, so some of the team can go back home between the races. It is what it is with the calendar at the moment and I’m not against it. The good thing is, if you look forward, that we will end the season in November. At least the team has December and it’s not like the covid year of last season where we were working until the middle of December. The first three weeks will be tough but hopefully we are full of energy and we’ll get some points.”