F2 DRIVERS TAKE ON THE HUNGARORING’S TWISTS AND TURNS WITH MEDIUM AND SUPERSOFT TYRES; GP3 ON SOFTS
The Pirelli-supplied FIA Formula 2 Championship and GP3 Series return to action at the legendary Hungaroring for rounds eight and five respectively, as the season approaches its traditional summer break.
• The Hungaroring is tight and twisting in nature with a low average speed. However, the many corners and lack of long straights mean that the tyres are being constantly worked during a lap with traction, braking and lateral forces.
• Teams run the cars with high downforce levels, but the relatively low cornering speeds mean there is more reliance on the mechanical grip from the tyres.
• Overtaking can be difficult, so getting the most out of the tyres in qualifying is important, while good strategy calls can be crucial in the races.
• Physically it’s a tough race: temperatures are often very high and there’s little airflow around the car, with the drivers working hard.
The tyres and strategy
• The P Zero White medium and P Zero Red supersoft tyres have been nominated for F2: a change from last year when the medium and soft tyres were used. This combination was used earlier this season in both Baku and Le Castellet.
• In F2, each driver has five sets of slick tyres to use over the weekend: three medium and two supersoft. They also have three sets of wet-weather tyres. During race one, where there is a mandatory pit stop, both compounds have to be used unless it is declared a wet race. Pit stops are optional in race two.
• Just one tyre is nominated for each GP3 round: at the Hungaroring it’s the soft. This is one step softer than in 2017, when the medium was used. Drivers get three new sets of dry tyres plus one carry-over set of hard tyres from the Silverstone round, which must be returned in free practice. There are two sets of wet-weather tyres as well (although it rarely rains at this time of year near Budapest).
What happened last year?
Mario Isola, Pirelli head of car racing: “The tyre nomination in F2 this weekend is a step softer than last year for the softest compound, whereas we maintain the same nomination for the harder compound. In GP3, the single-compound is softer. This should add to the challenge of tyre management at a circuit whose layout is always quite demanding for tyres, as the lack of a long straight means that they don’t really get a chance to cool down. In Formula 2, we have a ‘gap’ in the nominations – going straight from medium to supersoft – as we’ve seen a couple of times already this year: a choice that we have also made on occasions in Formula 1. This should hopefully lead to an interesting range of strategic choices: an important element at the Hungaroring, as it’s a circuit that is often quite hard to overtake on.”