Feeling Hungary! ‘Forget downtime give me downforce’

Mark Webber
Mark Webber

Mark Webber says he and his F1 rivals will be hungry for action in Hungary this weekend as they gear up for what is the only grand prix in a seven-week period this summer.

The Aston Clinton racer says the sparse summer schedule feels strange and predicted downforce will be the key to success at the Hungaroring.

“It’s going to feel weird to have so much down time during what is usually a busy period, so we’ll all be hungry to get going when we arrive in Hungary!

“The Hungaroring is a technical, busy little track, and there’s always a good atmosphere. There’s quite a mixed fanbase: a lot of Poles used to turn up in support of Robert (Kubica) and the Finnish contingent will be quite large this year thanks to Kimi (Raikkonen) and Valtteri Bottas.

Webber, who recently confirmed his decision to leave F1 for Porsche’s World Endurance Championship challenge at the end of the season, also had a word of warning to his fellow drivers.

“Grip levels change quite a bit over the weekend, so the drivers need to be on their game,” Webber said.

“The asphalt is very slippery to begin with, but it rubbers in quickly and lap times improve by three or four seconds from the beginning to the end of the weekend. To be quick, you need a car with sensational downforce.

“The track’s very bumpy in places, so you have to grab it by the horns and really attack. The car leaves the deck a few times, so you have to be comfortable with the car moving around underneath you, otherwise you’re in trouble.

“You’re also better on the clean side of the grid because this is one of the worst dirty sides of the year due to the dust and dirt off-line. Odd numbers are beneficial.

Final word was for the host city itself.

He said: “Adding to the allure of this race is Budapest.

“It’s a historic city; it has lots of culture and some great food. Good looking people too.”

Webber finished eighth in Hungary last year, meaning he entered the summer break lying second in the world championship.

In 2009 he finished third while in 2010 he won the race ahead of Fernando Alonso before coming fifth in 2011.