Hope for McLaren and Renault, anticipated high temperatures and a mournful F1 paddock set the scene for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix preview.
Hope for McLaren Honda?
There had been hope that Monaco would equalise things for McLaren Honda earlier this year and there is a similar feeling in Hungary this weekend. Monaco of course turned out to be a false dawn and you doubt the Hungaroring will be much different.
With an average lap speed around 100mph the power deficit of the Honda power unit will certainly be less critical. Recent races have however shown that the power deficit and reliability are not the only issues. Despite McLaren’s positive pronouncements on their size zero car there are still big question marks over the chassi itself and its balance. Regularly both Button and Alonso have struggled to trouble the apex of corners. Regularly we hear the drivers reporting on radio communications about understeer snapping to oversteer and back again, all of which is nothing to do with horsepower.
More track time is critical for Honda to not only improve the power unit but to give McLaren time to refine and develop their chassi. The team gladly took the offer of an extra penalty-free engine from the FIA this weekend and will hope they last the weekend. Expect an extended test session only this weekend.
Giant go-kart track
Lewis Hamilton described the circuit as a giant go-kart track that suits his accurate front end plus oversteer set up preference. With temperatures likely to be very high this weekend the cars will be sliding around much more. And that will suit Hamilton even more.
Despite the Hungaroring and Silverstone being polar opposites in terms of track type, Mercedes dominance will likely continue this weekend. Hamilton loves this track and after his
Can any of the ‘best of the rest’ teams challenge? Williams have suggested they will not be as slow as we might expect. Their chassi favours faster circuits with long straights which is the antithesis of the Hungaroring. Across at Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen is it would seem in the final races of his F1 career. Like Hamilton Raikkonen will be happy to slide his Ferrari around this weekend and could show strongly.
Renault recovery weekend
Silly season rumours are rampant that Renault will defy the incessant criticism of their engines and instead take over Lotus to become a works outfit again. That aside the Renault powered Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams will be looking for a good race weekend.
Both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso are good cars that have suffered due to Renault’s power deficit and reliability issues. The less power hungry circuit will help both teams and could well put them in a position to challenge Ferrari and Williams in the best of the rest category.
Motorsport and F1 is dangerous and always will be. That does not take away from the tragedy of Jules Bianchi. Ultimately all that F1 can do to honour and respect the memory of such a bright talent is continue to pre-empt situations where possible and make improvements when accidents do happen.
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