F2 – 2019 Round 8 Preview: Budapest, Hungary

All of the vital information ahead of F2’s eighth round of 2019

The Stakes

The FIA Formula 2 Championship heads for the heat of the Hungarian summer, as the paddock moves to Budapest for Round 8 following the excitement of Great Britain.

There was plenty for the home fans to celebrate at Silverstone with British outfit UNI-Virtuosi Racing setting the pace for the majority of the weekend. Luca Ghiotto was the man to catch in free practice, and the Italian continued his pace in qualifying before teammate Guanyu Zhou went fastest to take pole and lock out the front row for the Norfolk-based team. Ghiotto edged ahead of the Chinese rookie in the opening lap before battling to take the first F2 Feature Race win of his career. Campos Racing’s Jack Aitken continued to give the British crowd reasons to be cheerful, pulling off audacious overtakes on championship leader Nyck de Vries and then Louis Delétraz to take the lead and secure his second victory of the season to rapturous applause­.

De Vries (170 points) is still out in front in the Drivers’ Championship, but second-placed Nicholas Latifi (139) has closed the gap slightly to 31 points. Ghiotto (122) has leapfrogged Sérgio Sette Câmara (121) into third position by a single point. DAMS (260) are top of the Teams’ Championship though a solid weekend for UNI-Virtuosi Racing (227) have seen them narrow the gap to 33 points. French outfit ART Grand Prix are currently third with 176 points.

The Hungaroring hosts Round 8 of the championship, a technical track that tests both cars and drivers. With an average temperature of 28 degrees, strategy will prove a decisive factor in the warm weather and Pirelli are supplying the medium and soft tyre compounds. As we’ve seen all season, the racing on track should be just as hot in another incredible weekend of F2 action!

Warm Up // Nobuharu Matsushita – Carlin

“I really like the Hungaroring because it’s a really technical track. It’s not all about the high-speed corners, it’s also technically difficult, and so it’s really hard to try and put everything together during one lap. It’s a challenging track to drive.

“There’s not one specific corner that provides more of a challenge than any other. Every single corner is difficult. I guess that makes the whole circuit a specific challenge when compared to other tracks.

“Tyre degradation also plays a key role and you have to look after your tyres if you are going to survive until the end of the race. That all adds to the difficulty. I’d say the best place to overtake is in Turn 1. You have to be really smooth in Sector 3 to follow the guy in front, making sure you don’t make a mistake in the last corner, and then you can use the DRS to help you get past into the first corner. There are other places to overtake but that’s the easiest place to get a move done.

“I’ve won twice in Hungary and have had some of the best experiences of my career there at this level. I also did F1 testing there in 2017 with Sauber. I remember it was really hot, but it is a good memory! I’m really looking forward to going back and racing and I would really like to win there again.”

Mario Isola, Pirelli Head of F1 and Car Racing

“This the last round before the summer break but the FIA F2 Championship is already entering its closing stages, which provides even more pressure to obtain a strong result in Hungary. It’s a type of track that many of the drivers will be familiar with from their karting days: very tight and narrow, with the tyres constantly working. As a result, managing the compounds in the hot conditions will be vitally important, with an accent on strategy as well because it’s very tricky to overtake. It’s also going to be one of the most important qualifying sessions of the year: finding a gap on what’s often a crowded circuit will be essential as well.”

Season Stats

170 The number of points championship leader Nyck De Vries currently has so far this season, exactly the same number as reigning champion George Russell had at this stage last season. Russell was also driving for ART Grand Prix.

31 The points gap between Drivers’ Championship leader De Vries and second-placed Nicholas Latifi (139) at the top of the standings.

4 Only four drivers have been classified finishers in every race so far this season; De Vries,

Latifi, Jack Aitken and Anthoine Hubert.

5 Excluding DNF’s, the lowest Sérgio Sette Câmara has finished in a Feature Race this season is fifth.

Noteworthy

The F2 race lap record at the Hungaroring is 1:29.121, set by Antonio Fuoco with PREMA Racing in 2017

Guanyu Zhou became the first Chinese pole sitter in the history of F2 when he earned his very first pole position at Silverstone. The Chinese driver also became the first rookie of the season to earn pole position for a Feature Race

If Carlin qualify on pole position for Saturday’s Feature Race, they will become the first team in the history of F2 to claim Feature Race pole at the Hungaroring in two consecutive years

If Nyck De Vries wins this weekend he will match Artem Markelov for the record highest number of wins in the modern era of FIA Formula 2. A win in both races would see the Dutchman surpass the Russian

De Vries has finished on the podium at least once in every round of 2019 except one – the season opener in Sakhir back in March

Every driver that has won a Budapest feature race at this level and then gone on to win the championship in the same year has also gone on to race in Formula 1. Nico Hulkenberg did it in 2009, Pastor Maldonado in 2010, Romain Grosjean in 2011 and then Pierre Gasly in 2016

Ralph Boschung, who competed in the first five rounds of the 2019 F2 Championship with Trident, returns to the F2 paddock with the Italian outfit this weekend. The Swiss driver has already scored three championship points this term

The Feature Race at the Hungaroring will take place on Saturday morning as opposed to Saturday afternoon

Data (GMT+2)

Friday

Free Practice: 13.00 – 13.45
Qualifying: 16.55 – 17.25
Press conference: 19.00

Saturday

Feature race: 10.10 (37 laps)
Press conference: 11.30

Sunday

Sprint race: 11.25 (28 laps)
Press conference: 12.30

Source : Fia