Hungarian Grand Prix

This July, Formula One returns to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Here we take a look at the history of this popular motorsports event, and how to get there.

History of Formula One in Hungary

The Hungarian Grand Prix was first held in 1936 over a 5km track in Népliget, a park in Budapest. The Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union and Ferrari teams entered three cars each, and the event drew a very large crowd. However, World War II spelled the end of Grand Prix motor racing in the country for the next fifty years. The event returned in 1986, and in doing so became the first Formula One race to take place behind the Iron Curtain.

Held at the Hungaroring ciruit in Mogyoród on the outskirts of Budapest, the race has remained a fixture on the F1 calendar ever since. Taking place in the heat of a central European summer, the Hungarian Grand Prix remained the only Grand Prix venue that had not seen a wet race up until 2006.

The first Grand Prix in 1986 drew almost 200,000 spectators from all around Europe, although tickets were considered expensive at the time. Support for the race is still very enthusiastic, with last year’s race attracting an estimated crowd of 73,000 for each day of the event.

Postage Stamp: Hungarian Grand Prix

Postage stamp commemorating the 25th edition of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Valley of Speed

Hungaroring circuit is tight and twisty, and situated at the bottom of a steep valley. This location provides excellent visibility for fans, especially from higher vantage points where around 80% of the track can be seen. At 4.38km, Hungaroring is the third shortest circuit on the current F1 calendar, with only Monaco and Canada being shorter.

It is also the season’s second slowest race after Monaco, due to the tight layout of the circuit making overtaking difficult. The layout was modified slightly in 2003 in an attempt to allow more passing. However, the keys to a winning performance in the Hungarian Grand Prix remain a good qualifying position and a well thought-out pit strategy.

Massa stand monza 2012

Due to the processional nature of the race, a well thought-out pit strategy is key to victory at Hungaroring circuit.

Past, Present and Future

A total of 16 drivers have won the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986. The legendary Michael Schumacher has been the most successful driver in Hungary with four victories, seven pole positions and seven podium finishes. In 2001 he equaled Alain Prost’s record of 51 Grand Prix wins at Hungaroring, whilst racking up his fourth driver’s championship win.

This year, Lewis Hamilton can overtake Schumacher’s record if he comes out on top. The Briton has already achieved four victories from eight starts in Budapest. Hamilton has been in good form so far this season, and currently lies second in the driver’s championship on 129 points.

Lewis Hamilton

Can Lewis Hamilton overtake Michael Schumacher’s record of four victories? Find out at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix!

Regardless of who triumphs this year, F1 fans are sure to enjoy an action-packed race. Add fine summer weather and famous Hungarian hospitality into the mix, and you have the makings of an unforgettable weekend.

The Hungarian Grand Prix takes place from Friday 28 – Sun 30 July, 2017. Visit the official Formula One website to keep up to date on all the latest developments in the build up to the big race.

Flying to Budapest: 
Landing Permit Requirements

Private operators do not require landing permits when flying to Hungary, however these are needed for all non-scheduled charter flights. Permits should be obtained at least three days prior to departure. Applications are submitted to the Aviation Authority, and must include the following information:

  • Purpose of flight
  • Number of passengers
  • Amount of cargo on board
  • Name and address of the aircraft operator
  • Aircraft type and registration callsign
  • Date and route of flight
  • Details of departure and destination airports
  • Expected times of departure and arrival
  • Valid insurance documents
  • Name and address of charterer
  • Copy of the charter agreement

Closest Airport Options for the Hungarian Grand Prix

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (IATA: BUD, ICAO: LHBP) is the only international airport serving Budapest. Situated 16km southeast of the city center, LHBP caters to General Aviation (GA) and serves as an Airport of Entry (AoE). Customs and immigration are available on-site 24/7. Airport slot bookings are mandatory, however Prior Permission Required (PPR) is not necessary. There are no restrictions on aircraft parking. LHBP is fully equipped to provide ground handling services for all types of aircraft, and offers access to VIP and crew lounges. Hungaroring circuit is located around 17km north of LHBP.

The closest alternate international airport is Hévíz Balaton Airport (IATA: SOB, ICAO: LHSM). LHSM is located approximately 180km from central Budapest, and caters to GA flights. Note that operating hours vary depending on the time of year. From April 1 to November 17, the airport operates from 09:00 to 18:00 local time (Sunday to Friday), 09:00 to 21:00 (Saturday). Is it possible to use the airport outside of these normal operating hours, at a cost of 120 EUR per hour. Note that a minimum of four hours will be charged, and arrangements must be made at least 48 hours prior to arrival.

Slot bookings are required at LHSM, whilst PPR and parking permits are not necessary. The airport is fully equipped to provide all ground handling services, however no passenger or crew lounges are available. LHSM is around 200km southwest from the race venue.

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