For the Hungarian round of the GP2 and GP3 seasons – the only back-to-back weekends featuring both series all year – the championships will use exactly the same tyre nominations as Germany. So GP2 will have the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres, while GP3 will have the P Zero Yellow soft tyres only. This means that the teams will have accumulated plenty of recent relevant data about the compounds, which will help them in their preparations for the race.
Hungaroring has a few points in common with Hockenheim: it is quite a short lap characterised by slow corners (reminiscent of the stadium section in Germany) and the weather is frequently extremely hot, as was often the case last weekend. But there are also some important areas of difference: Hockenheim is a ‘stop-and-go’ type circuit whereas the Hungaroring focuses much more on lateral energy, with its flowing sequence of corners.
Traction, braking and precision are the keys to success in Hungary, and with overtaking being quite difficult, a strong qualifying performance is very important.
Pirelli’s racing manager says:
Mario Isola: “The Hungaroring is the slowest permanent circuit that the GP2 and GP3 series visit all year, with high temperatures and little chance for the tyres to cool down because of the lack of straights. As overtaking is not easy, strategy will become a key element in gaining track position, as we saw in Hockenheim. Even if a driver qualifies low down the grid, with the right strategy they still have the possibility to do well. The cars tend to run maximum downforce, which means that there are a lot of forces affecting the tyres at the same time: downforce as well as lateral and longitudinal forces, which tend to be quite well-balanced over the course of the lap. Looking after the rear tyres will be particularly important, and as the track is not extensively used over the course of the year, we expect to see quite a high degree of track evolution during the weekend. While we’re definitely expecting warm temperatures, we’ve raced there with rain in the past as well.”
The challenge for the tyres:
With the high number of tight corners and significant steering inputs, the tread is particularly prone to temperature spikes and wear, emphasising the need for a smooth driving style.
The cars need accurate turn-in for all the rapid changes of direction, so they tend to run with a stiff front end to guarantee precise roadholding and a soft rear end to maximise traction. However it’s important for the car set-up not to accentuate tyre wear.
Another force at work on the tyres in Hungary comes from the kerbing. The cars ride the kerbs through turns 6 and 7 in particular, meaning that the structure has to be strong enough to survive this continual punishment.
The race and the rules:
Every car will have five sets of dry tyres and three sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP2 race weekend. The five sets of dry tyres comprise three sets of the harder compound (medium) and two sets of the softer compound (soft).
The drivers can use their tyre allocation in any way they like, but at least one set of each compound must be used in the feature race (unless it is a wet race). One set of the hard compound must be returned after free practice.
Qualifying takes place at 15:55 on Friday. Race One on Saturday is run at 15:40 over 37 laps and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop. This cannot take place within the first six laps.
The grid for Race Two on Sunday at 10:35 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. Race Two is run over 28 laps, with no compulsory pit stops.
Every car will have three sets of dry tyres and two sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP3 race weekend. Only one compound is nominated: soft for this weekend. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. All the GP3 compounds carry yellow markings.
Drivers are allowed to carry over one tyre set from the previous round for use in free practice only, which will be especially valuable in Hungary as the nominations are the same as Germany.
There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3. Qualifying takes place at 09:45 on Saturday morning, after a single free practice session on Friday at 17:50. Race One starts at 17:20 on Saturday and lasts for 17 laps, followed by Race Two at 09:25 on Sunday (also 17 laps). The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
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