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Sainz believes Hungaroring is no longer just for slow coaches

Sainz believes Hungaroring is no longer just for slow coaches

F1 News

Sainz believes Hungaroring is no longer just for slow coaches

Sainz believes Hungaroring is no longer just for slow coaches
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz believes the Hungaroring’s reputation as a slow-speed circuit that favours high-downforce cars has been blown away by F1’s development in recent years.

In his first season in F1 six years ago with Toro Rosso, Sainz raced at the Budapest circuit in very different machinery.

Ahead of the sport's return to the venue this weekend, the Spanish driver feels that given the development of the cars over the intervening period, it means the track is no longer downforce-loaded.

“The feeling you get behind the wheel around this track is not any more like you are slow,” said Sainz. “The track itself, for me, it feels more like a medium to high-speed track rather than a slow-speed track.

“I say that because I remember racing here back in 2015 with much narrower tyres, much lower downforce, and the track felt slow.

“Now, with these cars, with all the development we’ve had since 2017, even when everyone has tried to slow them down, we were lapping last year around one minute 13 seconds. I remember in 2015 going below one minute 20 was a good lap time.”

Sainz amazed by F1 development

The sport introduced significant changes to its technical regulations in 2017, including widening the cars, increasing the width of the front wing, lowering the rear wing and widening the tyres by 25 per cent.

The aim was to increase cornering speeds and improve lap times by four to five seconds over the old machines, but the ongoing developments made by teams since have left Sainz amazed by the speed of the current generation.

“A one minute 13 seconds around here is crazy," added Sainz. "I don’t think we talk about it enough that we are doing one minute 13 seconds around the Hungaroring.

“It’s fourth or fifth gear, the change of direction always around 180 kilometres an hour. Yes, you have your hairpins here and there but it doesn’t feel slow speed anymore.

"That’s why our car might not be that good. It will be better than Silverstone I hope, but it’s not the low speed of Monaco where we excelled.”

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