Hungaroring - Where The Iron Curtain Was Broken

July 21, 2016
Alexander S

  • Hungaroring

Located near the Hungarian capital of Budapest, Hungaroring is the first racing circuit behind the ’Iron Curtain’ which was the host of the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Looking for a place behind the Iron Curtain

In the middle of the 1980s, Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 supremo, wanted a race in the Eastern Europe and preferably in the USSR, but he was advised to think about the possibility of finding a proper venue in Hungary. The idea was to bring another street race to the calendar but the local authorities declined a proposal to make a venue in one of the city’s largest parks and decided to build a completely new track on the outskirts of Budapest, in the Mogyorod village.

Hungaroring, Hungary, construction started 1985 drivers mercedes 2019

The construction of Hungaroring

An excellent map location and fast construction

That location proved to be perfect for the new, modern racing venue. It was close enough to the capital, connected with the country’s major highway, and set in a small valley which allows spectators to have an excellent view of most of the track. The construction of the circuit had begun in October of 1985 and was completed in only eight months which was a great success, especially knowing that the initial layout had to be changed due to underground springs. Those changes made Hungaroring a slower track than it was intended.

Hungaroring stands view 2017 mercedes 2014 drivers 2015

View from the stands

The layout of Hungaroring was changed twice

The original Grand Prix circuit was 4.014 km long and had 16 turns, but after the 1988 Hungarian Grand Prix, some changes were made and the track was shortened to 3,975 km with 13 turns. That layout was used until 2002 when another modification was made. The current layout has 16 turns and it is 4,381 km long. The stands capacity is 70.000 seats but during the first Hungarian Grand Prix in 1986, almost 200.000 spectators were present to see Nelson Piquet’s victory. Record lap time holder is Michael Schumacher. Driving a Ferrari in the 2004 Hungarian Grand Prix, he set the time of 1:19.071, driving in the summer sun.

Hungaroring map 2019 hungradin grand prix formula

Map of Hungaroring

Hungaroring circuit is not one of the drivers’ favorite

Even after being regular on the Formula 1 calendar for 30 years, Hungaroring is not one of the drivers’ favorite tracks. The Hungarian Prix is always in the middle of the summer which is very hot and dry in this part of Europe. Only once, in 2006, the Hungarian Grand Prix was rainy. The track is pretty bumpy and dusty as it was built on sandy terrain. Hungaroring is also a narrow track which doesn’t give a lot of space and opportunities for overtaking. The things became even trickier in 2016 when the track was completely resurfaced.

Hungarian, Michael Schumacher, 2015 four-time winner 2017

Michael Schumacher is a four-time winner at Hungaroring

As of the end of 2016, Lewis Hamilton is the most successful F1 driver at Hungaroring as he scored five wins. Michael Schumacher won on four occasions while Ayrton Senna won the Hungarian GP three times.

Video : Piquet vs Senna, epic overtaking, 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix

The Hungarian circuit near Budapest hosts F1 Grand Prix and many racing series events

Over the years, Hungaroring became attractive to the other racing series too. A round of DTM championship was held there, as well as a round of the World Touring Cars Championship since 2011. FIA GT Championship events were also held at Hungaroring, while the World Series by Renault races are regular since 2007.

WTCC race 2019 Hungaroring  hungarian grand prix formula

WTCC race at Hungaroring

One of the most important tourist destinations in Hungary

Hungaroring also offers other on and of the track activities, like the open days for cars, off-road training, driving or karting center, and also has suitable facilities for conferences and team buildings activities.

Hungaroring is the third most visited tourist destination in the country, according to the Hungarian tourist organization. Hungarian Grand Prix tickets sell to a huge number of fans from Germany and Austria, but also from other Central European countries.

Hungarian, circuit visiting, attendance

Races at Hungaroring are always well attended

Getting there and accommodation

Getting there isn’t an issue, as the nearby Ferenc Liszt international airport has good connections with all major European cities as well as some in North America. The M3 Motorway passes near the venue so if you are coming by car, you will have easy access. During F1 weekends, shuttle buses transport is organized from a couple of places in Budapest.

Accommodation also won’t be a problem, as Budapest offers plenty of possibilities, but the nearby towns and villages also have their own guest home rentals and camping sites.

Hungaroring camping site

Camping site at Hungaroring

Address: 2146 Mogyorod, Hungaroring ut 10, Hungary
Phone: +36 28 444 444


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