Hungaroring, the venue for the Hungarian Grand Prix, is located 18 km northeast of Budapest, near the small town of Mogyoród. The racetrack at Hungaroring is set in a valley surrounded by beautiful countryside and rolling hills, which means that you can enjoy the action from just about any point on the track. It also means that it can be quite a hike from Mogyoród to get to the track. Similarly to most other Formula 1 racetracks, you can also watch the race on several, well-placed, giant TV screens.
With a total track length of 4.381 km, the Hungaroring is the second shortest F1 circuit after Monaco. With 14 corners and only a few straights the track is also incredibly twisty. Add up all of these ingredients and you get a race with the second lowest average speed on the F1 calendar. Monaco is the only other racetrack that has a lower average speed than the Hungaroring. In addition, the track is rather narrow and has a very low-grip, dusty surface which makes it notoriously difficult and challenging for the drivers. It also makes passing incredibly difficult. Unfortunately all of these factors have led to some real snoozers in the past and labeled the Hungarian Grand Prix as 'procession like' and boring. But the fact is that there have been plenty of thrillers as well on this racetrack, where having the right strategy plays an even bigger role. In addition, this year we should see a lot more wheel to wheel racing and overtaking, enhanced by the use of KERS and DRS.
The Hungarian Grand Prix also has some historical significance. In 1986 Hungary made an important political and economic statement when it became the first country behind the "Iron Curtain" to host a Formula 1 race, four years prior to its first democratic elections. After a failed attempt to host a race in the former Soviet Union, in 1985 Bernie Ecclestone signed the contract in London for the first five years of the Hungarian Grand Prix. The track was built in record time and the first race was held on August 10th, 1986 in front of a crowd of 200,000 fans. The race was won by Nelson Piquet.
Since 1986 Hungary has been on the Formula 1 calendar every year and in 2010 the Hungarian Grand Prix celebrated its 25th anniversary in Formula 1 racing. Hungaroring will continue to be part of the F1 circuit, as the organizers of the Hungarian Grand Prix extended their Formula 1 contract until 2016. The previous contract was set to expire in 2011. The five-year extension is great news for both Formula 1 fans and Hungary, as each year the race attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Memorable moments at Hungaroring
In 1988 Ayrton Senna won the race over Alain Prost with some of the best passing maneuvers ever seen at this racetrack. The very next year Nigel Mansel took the initiative and the title over Senna. In 2003 Zsolt Baumgartner became the first Hungarian driver to race in Formula 1 since the series began in 1950. He also became a national hero overnight, only to disappear from the F1 racing scene soon after. Damon Hill, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button all won their first Grand Prix titles in Hungary and later became world champions. In 2001 Michael Schumacher surpassed Alain Prost's record of 51 wins at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
If you're an F1 fan you should definitely consider visiting Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Even if the race is a bore, the excitement of this bustling city is well worth the trip. If you have never experienced a live race you will find that it's about much more than the racing. Formula 1 races offer a spectacular show of glamour, fast cars, beautiful people and parties spread over a three-day weekend.