And even though next to no one is paying attention, the teams are releasing preview comments. Here are a few via the official F1 site, with our usual translations and clarifications:
Bruno Senna, HRT
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
â€œI am looking forward to Hungary, because the ambiance is always good and the crowd enjoys the show a lot. I have raced twice at the Hungaroring with GP2 series and I had two podium finishes in 2008. It is a very high downforce circuit and it has long-radius bumpy corners, which put a lot of demand on car and driver. It is going to be a challenging weekend for us as it is a very tough track on both the cars and the drivers, but we hope to do better than expected and maybe surprise some people.â€
Translation: There is no way the bolts on our car are going to make it even half way. I mean, did you see us in Germany?
Dr Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
â€œThe race in Hungary is going to be one of the toughest races of the season. The high temperatures and the tight and twisty surface stretch both the cars and the drivers to their limit. As overtaking is almost impossible, the performance with a low fuel level in qualifying is very important. In Hungary, you need a car with mechanical grip and a torquey engine and drivers who can sustain the physical demands. We hope to finish the race again with both cars and to achieve a good result before the summer break.â€
Translation: Bruno said we’d make it half way? Yeah, right!
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“The German Grand Prix last weekend was clearly disappointing for us but we have seen a variety of performances from our team over the past few races. With this in mind, I will still go to Hungary with a positive feeling. It is clear that we need to understand our car better, and the track in Budapest plus more time to evaluate our upgrades should help us in that respect. As I said after the last race, we have to remain calm, look into all the details and analyse our performance in order to learn as much as possible from such weekends. That is the way we have to go in order to improve our situation which may already be possible this coming weekend in Hungary.”
Translation: By variety, I mean Nico is either doing quite well or pretty well. I’m still trying to figure things out, as Nick would say.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“The Hungaroring circuit near Budapest is very different to that of the last race in Germany with a slow and twisty layout requiring maximum downforce. One weekend after the home race of Mercedes-Benz, our team wants to achieve a better result than we managed at the Hockenheimring.”
Translation: I miss Ron.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2009 Qualifying – 8th, 2009 Race – 7th
â€œI won my first Grand Prix in Hungary – and I can still remember that race as if it was yesterday. Actually, what I remember best were the moments after the race, when you finally realise that itâ€™s all real, and you get to see the reactions of everyone around you. It was a great moment in my career, and one that I still savour. As for the circuit itself, itâ€™s a good track – itâ€™s a place where you need to drive with a lot of control if youâ€™re going to get a good lap time. Some of the kerbs are quite high, so you need a bit of precision through the high-speed stuff. Fortunately, itâ€™s a high-downforce track, so thereâ€™s usually plenty of grip – or, at least, there is by Sunday, because itâ€™s always really dusty at the start of the weekend. After Hockenheim, I think we go to Budapest feeling more optimistic about our pace – the team has traditionally gone well at the track, and we feel we have a high-downforce configuration that should be well-suited to the circuit. Weâ€™re learning more and more about the blown floor after every session, and I feel like we got some very useful data from Sundayâ€™s race in Germany. Now itâ€™s all about maximising our package and hopefully securing a strong result before the summer break – that would be a massive positive for everybody on the team.â€
Translation: Hear that, Grace? I won here. (If you’re new to F1B, that might not make sense. Apologies.)
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2009 Qualifying – 4th, 2009 Race – 1st
â€œI love racing in Hungary. Budapest is a fantastic, beautiful city that Iâ€™d love to get out and really explore one day, and the circuit is quite a unique place – itâ€™s got a reputation for being a slow track where itâ€™s impossible to pass, but I donâ€™t really agree with that. Firstly, the track has a couple of high-speed corners – in particular, the blind left-hander at Turn Four, and the right-hander at Turn 11 – and, since the revisions to the first corner, itâ€™s a place where passing is definitely possible, even if itâ€™s not easy. Itâ€™s a circuit that really requires you to pull it all together â€“ like Monaco, thereâ€™s nowhere to relax, and, because one corner always leads straight into the next, youâ€™re really hustling the car the whole way. Which, when youâ€™ve got a good car, is good fun. Iâ€™ve always gone well there – I won in 2007, and winning there last year was one of the best races of my career in terms of sheer satisfaction. The whole team was elated with that result because weâ€™d just performed one of the greatest turnarounds in sport, coming from the back of the grid at the start of the season to take victory.â€
Translation: Well, it’s hard for others to pass here. But they aren’t prolific.
Nico Hulkenberg, Williams
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
â€œWe have seen that we are pretty competitive in qualifying amongst the group of teams we are fighting against – Renault, Mercedes and Sauber. Hungary puts a major emphasis on qualifying well, so I hope we can do a good job on Saturday and get ahead of this group as it will set us up well for the race on Sunday. I won at the Hungaroring last year in GP2, so itâ€™s somewhere I am comfortable to race even if the character of the race is defined by the amount of corners and the high temperatures, which makes it a pretty physical test. I feel very positive looking forward to the weekend ahead.â€
Translation: Say again? Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull? Never heard of them.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
â€œAfter a disappointing end to the Hockenheim Grand Prix weâ€™re looking forward to Hungary. Always an interesting race, itâ€™s obviously very difficult to pass and the tight, twisty layout should suit the characteristics of the T127 very well. Traditionally itâ€™s very hot and dusty early on with lots of track evolution. Weâ€™re still in tenth place as the best of the new teams, and this should be a circuit that suits us, so we need to maintain our strong qualifying form, maintain our reliability and look for a two car finish.â€
Translation: Sorry, did I say “two car”? I mean one car finish. Please?
Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso
2009 Qualifying – 11th, 2009 Race – 16th
â€œIt is an unusual and very tight circuit which is a bit like Monaco, except not in a town, as you run with a lot of downforce. Maximum speed is not so important as you want the downforce for the corners. There is a real buzz at the track, as there is always a big crowd and we like that. On top of that, the city of Budapest is fantastic. I really enjoy driving here even if the track surface is very bumpy, which makes it tough physically. Itâ€™s a fun race though, as we only encounter this type of circuit once a year, although for actual racing it can be a bit difficult because with no long straight and constant left, right, left, right series of corners there are no opportunities for slipstreaming another car to get past it.â€
Translation: I’m scared of bees, so I hope they have gotten rid of all that buzzing.
Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso
2009 Qualifying – 20th, 2009 Race – 15th
â€œLast yearâ€™s Hungarian GP was my debut in Formula One and what I remember best is actually finishing the race, because it was the toughest thing I had done. It was good fun in a way, because I did not care about the lap times or my position, I was just driving the car. It was a great weekend and I had not expected to finish the race, as physically the Hungaroring is a very demanding track with no straights and lots of corners so there is no time to catch your breath and a year ago I was not at the right level of fitness required to be a Grand Prix driver. I am looking forward to going back there this time as, I was so inexperienced last year that it will be really interesting to see the track again with one year of racing in F1 under my belt.â€
Translation: Bourdais who?
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
“The Hungaroring is a challenging circuit even though it is one of the shortest on the calendar. We expect to hear a lot of discussion about the track surface at the beginning of the weekend, as the circuit is not used as much as some, so the surface is quite dirty for the first sessions. We can expect to see some graining on Friday because of this. The ambient and track temperatures are often very hot here, but as the surface is quite smooth and there are no very high lateral forces we don’t expect overheating to be too much of an issue if the tyres are managed well. Finding the maximum traction through the last corner is very important as it enables a good top speed on the short straight, leading into the first corner, where there is the main overtaking opportunity on the circuit. This is a track where Bridgestone came very close to winning a race in our first season in the sport, so we hope we see a good race in our final visit here.”
Translation: How many more races before the season’s over? I am so over this circus.