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2011 Hungarian GP preview – Mercedes, Force India, Sauber, Pirelli

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying – 14th, 2010 Race – 11th

“We have had two home races in a row now, and Hungary too feels like it is linked with me in a way. I will obviously never forget that I won one of my world titles there, and I always enjoyed the support of a lot of fans travelling to Budapest. Ideally we can help them enjoy their weekend, and I am hopeful we can as we have seen some progress lately with our car. I am impressed with the effort the team and the guys back in England are constantly putting into it and it is good to see developments. I am looking forward to travelling there.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying – 6th, 2010 Race – DNF

“Hungary will be my 100th Grand Prix which seems crazy when my father completed 114 races over his whole career. It’s a nice number but statistics aren’t that important to me. I’m looking forward to the weekend in Budapest as I like the Hungaroring very much, and I’m hoping for a better time than in 2010 when unfortunately I didn’t finish the race. We need to work on our race set-up to see what improvements we can make as the car that I had in qualifying in Germany was better than the one that I had in the race. I’m sure we can do it and take another small step forward.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“An extremely busy few weeks for the team come to a conclusion with the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest next weekend, before the well-deserved break of the summer shutdown gives the opportunity to recharge the batteries. The Hungaroring is renowned for being a technically challenging track and it will be very useful for us to gain further experience of our latest developments there. It’s not a track where overtaking has been easy in the past, so it will be interesting to see how the combined effect of DRS and KERS improves the possibilities this year. Our recent performances in Silverstone and Germany have been encouraging, although the pace is still not there to compete with the front-running teams, and we will keep working hard to continue to find improvements.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“The Hungarian Grand Prix can be described as a medium-speed challenge, with 40 per cent of the lap spent in corners at or below 150 km/h. The 70-lap race is long and demanding, and usually held in very hot conditions – which would make a pleasant change after the past two race weekends! Our aim in Budapest will be to take some positive momentum into the summer break. The Hungarian Grand Prix will also mark the 100th race for the Mercedes-Benz 2.4 litre V8 engine since its introduction at the start of 2006: in the 99 races so far, our V8 has taken a total of 32 wins.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying – 13th, 2010 Race – DNF

“The race in Budapest is always a really nice event. The weather is usually great and there’s quite a relaxed feel to the weekend because it’s the last race before the summer holidays. It’s a very small track that’s tight and twisty without many places to overtake. You are nearly always in a corner so it’s a bit like Monaco and you don’t get any chance to relax, apart from maybe the main straight. We will run with maximum downforce there because after Monaco it’s the slowest circuit on the calendar. The track is not used that much so it’s usually quite dusty when we arrive. It cleans up as we start running, but Friday practice is always quite hard work. By the start of qualifying it has usually improved and the grip just builds up and up. When the track is like that it’s really nice to drive.”

Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying – n/a, 2010 Race – n/a

“The Hungaroring is a short track, but it’s very demanding on the drivers physically and mentally. I suppose it’s like a street track in terms of the layout and the number of corners mean the aero performance of the car is very important there. All the corners seem to flow into each other and you need to find a good rhythm. I had my first experience of the track last year during free practice. It’s not easy to learn much from a handful of laps but I know the layout and main challenges of the track. Because of the tight nature of the lap, it’s never been a track where there has been much overtaking, so it will be another good test of the DRS. It’s the last race before the summer break so it would be good to come away with a strong result. At the half way point of the season I’m feeling good about things. Each race makes things a little bit easier, especially for getting comfortable with all the procedures of Formula One. I’m enjoying my first year as a Formula One driver and I just hope the rest of the season continues in the same way.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a popular race with Force India. The city of Budapest is full of life, beautiful architecture and the fans always give a warm welcome to Formula One. We head there off the back of our strongest showing of the year and determined to build on our momentum. We’ve steadily been improving the car and Adrian’s sixth place finish in Germany was a welcome reward for all the hard work that has gone on at the track and back at base. Considering our competitiveness at the start of the year, this is an achievement the entire team can be proud of. We also know that we need to keep our heads down because there is still a big task ahead of us in the second half of the year. But I believe we have a solid basis to build on and that we can continue fighting for points this coming weekend.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying – 23rd, 2010 Race – 9th

“I have good memories of Budapest from last year. I started from 23rd on the grid and was able to overtake quite a few competitors and end up ninth. It was really a brilliant race. It’s a very technical track with mainly medium speed and slow corners. The straight is quite short, therefore in the past it was very difficult to overtake, but this year we have the DRS which will help us to put on a more exciting race for the fans. Often the temperatures in Budapest are very high, so tyre management will be crucial and tricky. But so far this season our car has been quite kind to its tyres, so we should be in a strong position to score a good result.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying – n/a, 2010 Race – n/a

“To me the Hungaroring is a very good, technical and slow circuit. Traction and braking stability are very important. It is physically pretty demanding, and it has a really nice atmosphere. I believe it should be a good track for us, and I definitely want to score points there before the summer break. Last year I was fighting for the GP2 championship at the Hungaroring, and I must admit it wasn’t such a good weekend. I finished third in the first race, but crashed in the second. Off the track I also like the city a lot, as it is a very nice and enjoyable place to be.”

James Key, Sauber technical director
“The Hungaroring is a long established circuit which the teams know well. It’s a fairly low speed track with lots of medium and low speed corners, but all of them are quite flowing rather than stop start. It’s one of the high downforce circuits during the year. Not as high as Monaco, but certainly higher than the majority of circuits. It’s one of those tracks which is either a favourite of teams and drivers or not. But generally for me it’s a place I enjoy going to. It will be an interesting event because we will have the soft and super soft tyre compounds, which we haven’t run since Canada. These are tyres which I think will work very well there. It is usually fairly hot there, so the ambient and track temperatures play a role in the way the tyres work and how you have to operate your car. It’s also a track which has never been particularly easy for overtaking, so qualifying and race strategy will probably play quite an important part. If the temperatures are high, and tyre degradation is also high we could well see a number of different strategies being played out. We will have the same configuration of car as at the Nurburgring because it’s only one week later, but we feel it’s probably a circuit where the car could work well with the right conditions, and we are looking forward to going there.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director
“Hungary certainly couldn’t be more different to the races we have seen recently, as we found out when we went to the Hungaroring for our first season of the GP3 series last year. However, as the GP3 tyres are completely different to those we race in Formula One, there’s not much that we learned apart from an initial idea of what to expect: high temperatures and a slippery track surface. The big challenge for the teams and drivers is going to be keeping tyre wear under control in the warm conditions, but we have used the P Zero Yellow soft tyre in warm weather before and it has shown good performance. The super-soft tyre is almost certain to result in some quick qualifying laps but obviously it doesn’t have the same resistance to wear. How the teams juggle the parameters of speed and durability will once again form the key to their different strategies. There has been plenty of drama at the Hungaroring in the past and with so many new elements to the racing this year, I hope we’re in for another exciting Grand Prix.”

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