The Hungarian Grand Prix may lack the glamour and prestige of races like Monaco or Monza, but the technically challenging Hungaroring provides some of the most exciting racing of the season. Being the only grand prix in the Central and Eastern European area, especially after the closing of the Austrian Grand Prix, the Hungarian Grand Prix is often an event that nearby countries, especially Finland, Austria, Poland and Germany, look forward to. This year’s race will take place on 21st July 2024.
History of the Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarians actually held the first grand prix in 1936, and it was quite a success, with Mercedes Benz, Ferrari and Auto Union all participating, and drawing a sizable audience at the road circuit in Népliget park. However, another race didn’t follow until 1986 when the Hungaroring circuit was completed near Budapest and the Hungarian Grand Prix became part of the Formula One calendar.
The twisty, tight Hungaroring was deliberately designed to be slow and technical by F1 track architect Hermann Tilke. This was to provide a greater challenge for drivers and showcase driver skill over outright car performance.
The circuit has remained largely unchanged over the decades and retained its bumpy, tight and twisting layout that punishes even the slightest mistake. Overtaking has always been difficult but races are never dull thanks to the frequent lock-ups and slides as drivers push to the limit.
Memorable moments include Mansell’s epic passing of Senna in 1989, Damon Hill’s first win in 1993, Schumacher’s storm through the field in 1998 and Alonso’s maiden win for Renault in 2003.
Hungarian Grand Prix Circuit
Because of its location near a major expressway, and the fact that it isn’t used for any other racing event the rest of the year, the Hungaroring is a notoriously dusty and dry circuit. As the Hungarian Grand Prix is held every August, which is hot midsummer in Central Europe, there is rarely a wet Hungarian Grand Prix.
The heat, dust and dryness, as well as the limited usage of the track, also make for interesting racing conditions. Tracks that are not used very often are known to start off slow, but build in speed after a day or so of racing. This is not the case with the Hungaroring because the circuit tends to get very dusty very quickly. Another challenge is that there are a lot of twists to the very tight track, and overtaking is rather difficult, despite modifications made to the track to allow space to pass.
At just 4.381km, the Hungaroring is one of the shortest tracks on the F1 calendar. Its tight and twisting layout contains several second gear corners and just one main straight, putting the emphasis on driver skill and chassis setup.
After a short run to the first corner, drivers fight for position into the tight right-hander of Turn 1. Finding the apex here is crucial to get a good exit onto the short straight to Turn 2.
Turns 2 and 3 form a fast chicane taken at around 190kph. Next comes a twisty sequence of slow corners requiring patience and precision. A key overtaking point is Turn 6, a second gear right-hander taken at just 100kph.
The fastest corner is Turn 14, a flat-out left-hander leading onto the start/finish straight. Like many corners here, running wide is punished with a slow trip across the tarmac run-off areas. Finding the optimal racing line is critical to success in Hungary.
Winners of the Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been won by some of the greats of F1 motor racing including Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher and Nelson Piquet. Lewis Hamilton has dominated the race with five victories in recent times whilst current world champion, Max Verstappen, has won the last two Hungarian Grand Prix races.
|2023||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing|
|2022||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing|
|2021||Esteban Ocon||Alpine F1 Team|
|2014||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing|
Hungarian Grand Prix Fan Guide
Here is some expert advice for fans attending the Hungarian Grand Prix to ensure you have an enjoyable and smooth race weekend.
Getting to the Hungaroring
Budapest Airport is only 30km northeast of the circuit, with numerous direct flights from Europe and worldwide. A shuttle bus runs from the airport to the track on race days.
The Hungaroring has its own station, allowing direct trains from Budapest’s Nyugati station in around 30 minutes. Many fans stay downtown and use the efficient Budapest metro to reach Nyugati station.
Accommodation wise, good areas include District 5 for its proximity to Deák tér station, or cultural District 6 for its cafés and restaurants. Book well in advance as rooms fill fast.
Tickets for the Hungarian Grand Prix
You should check the Hungaroring Race Track Website for up to date ticketing information:
- General admission tickets offer hillside views around the track but arrive very early to get the best spots. For guaranteed views, book a seat in the main grandstands in advance.
- The best seats overlook the start/finish straight or the first corner. Buy from the official F1 site or trusted resellers only to avoid counterfeits. Prices range from €100 for general admission to €500 for the main grandstands.
- Opt for a full weekend pass to also enjoy support races like F2 and F3. They offer great racing around this twisty circuit.
At the Hungaroring Track
With changeable summer weather, dress prepared for sun, rain or storms. The exposed grass and concrete can become very hot, so bring hats, sunscreen and comfy shoes. Earplugs also help block out the noise.
Food and drink prices are expensive at the track so bring your own provisions if allowed. Keep hydrated as the heat and humidity can be intense. Avoid traffic by walking 15 minutes away from the circuit before ordering your taxi or rideshare.
With its challenging layout and famously changeable conditions, Hungary always provides unpredictable and entertaining F1 racing for the dedicated fan. Use our guide to make the most of your Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.