Pirelli will supply its soft compound slick tyres for the GP2 and GP3 races supporting the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring near Budapest from 29-31 July. It follows their successful use at the Nürburgring in Germany last weekend when they equipped drivers in mixed track conditions, ranging from dry to full wet.
At the Hungaroring, weather conditions are likely to very different from those experienced at wet and cold Nürburgring, venue of the last GP2 and GP3 rounds, as in Budapest conditions are expected to be hot and dry with the tyres being subjected to high track temperatures. Adding to the challenge will be the condition of the track’s surface, which can vary significantly over the course of the weekend. This is because the circuit is normally dusty due to its lack of use throughout the year. It becomes faster as the weekend progresses as more rubber residue is deposited on the optimum racing line.
The twisty and bumpy nature of the circuit makes overtaking very difficult in dry conditions. Nonetheless, the Hungaroring has often been the scene of several memorable races and thanks to the variable durability features of Pirelli’s P Zero tyres, there is a high likelihood of some interesting race strategies being deployed, great moves and exciting overtaking from both GP2 and GP3 drivers.
Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola explained: “For Budapest we will bring our P Zero GP2 and GP3 soft compound tyres because of the specific characteristics of the circuit which has a slow, tight and twisty layout making it a perfect choice for the soft compound. Although the abrasive nature of the asphalt is quite limited, the Hungaroring puts heavy demands on drivers and cars on a track where strategy rather than speed can often decide the outcome of the race. The cars are likely to run high downforce just like at the Nürburgring where we successfully equipped both series with our soft compound tyres. However, weather and track conditions are likely to be quite different in Hungary meaning that the drivers will have to adjust to a completely new scenario though always running on soft compound slick tyres.”
GP2 driver Luca Filippi (Scuderia Coloni) commented: “I’ve always had a very good feeling with Pirelli’s soft compound tyres rather than with the harder compounds. At the Nürburgring it was a bit tricky to manage the tyres properly and bring them up to ideal operating temperatures because of the cold track conditions. In Hungary it will be quite different as the weather is likely to be much hotter. In Germany during qualifying I had to be careful not to ruin the tyres over the first laps, avoiding to push hard when the rubber hadn’t warmed up. In Hungary it will be the opposite as it will be best to push hard from the start to set the fastest lap time and then drive smoothly to save the rubber. As usual, good tyre management strategies will certainly payback during races.”
GP3 driver Antonio Felix Da Costa (Status Grand Prix) commented: “When we tested Pirelli’s soft compound tyres in Hungary last month the overall performance was quite different from what I’ve experienced running on the same compound at the Nürburgring. In Germany the track was cold and for this reason it took a while for the tyres to warm up. In Hungary the track will be much hotter and I expect it will be a bit more complicated to manage the tyres and keep tyre wear under control.”
On Friday 29 July, the GP3 drivers will take part in two practice sessions while the GP2 drivers will complete a single practice and qualifying session. On Saturday 30 July, GP3 drivers will complete their qualifying session in the morning, followed by the GP2 feature race at 15:40 local time. The first GP3 race takes place at 17:20. Prior to the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday 31 July, the second GP3 race will take place at 08:30, followed by the GP2 sprint race at 10:30.
The GP2 drivers will cover 39 laps in Saturday’s race and 28 laps in Sunday’s race, while both GP3 races will last for 16 laps of the 4.381-kilometre Hungaroring.