Formula One: 34th Hungarian Grand Prix Long Weekend Kicks Off
Ábrahám Vass 2019.08.02.
The 34th Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring kicks-off with organisers expecting around hundred thousand spectators to the festival-like events over the weekend.
The weekend has already started with the Public Pit Walk held for the fans. Racers will first due on the grid today for the 1st Free practice, beginning at 11. Qualifying Session starts on Saturday at 14h, while racers will hear the starting pistol to ring out at 15.10 on Sunday.
The first behind the Iron Curtain
The Hungaroring has become a classic race track over the past years, but upon its construction over three decades ago it was a rarity, the first Formula 1 race beyond the Iron Curtain. Former Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone originally aimed at a race in the USSR, but talks failed with the Soviets. Then a Hungarian friend of his recommended Budapest. Speculations soon arose about the location, and many spoke of a street circuit similar to Monaco potentially placed in Városliget (City Park) or Népliget. Eventually, a decision has been made to build a brand new circuit just outside the city in the hilly and sandy area between Kerepestarcsa and Mogyoród.
Image by MTI/Zoltán Balogh
In the first year, 300 thousand tickets were sold during the weekend, while 180 thousand followed the Grand Prix live on the spot. Although recent turnouts haven’t managed to beat that number, it still attracts a huge crowd of fans, arriving predominantly from Austria and Germany. According to a survey of the national tourism office, Hungaroring ranks third among Hungarian destinations visited by tourists, behind the Danube Bend area and Lake Balaton but ahead of Budapest.
The Hungarian Grand Prix will be secured by some 1,200 police officers, a local police spokesman told wire service MTI. Organisers, similarly to previous years, expect around 100,000 fans. From Thursday noon to Sunday midnight, police will also operate a temporary station at Hungaroring.
Lewis Hamilton is the most successful in Mogyoród. Image by MTI/ Zoltán Balogh
Moreover, the Hungarian Grand Prix is still special as it is the third behind Monte-Carlo and Monza to be continuously featured in the race calendar with the current period of contract being valid until 2026. Currently, Lewis Hamilton is the most successful Formula 1 driver on Mogyoród’s legendary strip of asphalt who has thus far claimed six victories, and the Brit is said to be one of the top favourites of this Sunday, too.
McLaren warms with László Bíró
As the contest nears, teams are arriving and prepare. It made headlines two days ago, that Renault’s F1 lorry crashed on the M1 motorway near Győr. Luckily, however, no one got hurt seriously in the accident.
In addition, McLaren, in a message posted to their Instagram channel, chose to say hello to Hungary by commemorating László Bíró, the Hungarian inventor of ballpoint pen: