Kamui Kobayashi has been credited with enlivening many an otherwise dull race during his brief F1 career to-date, but the Sauber star reckons that even regardless of that, this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix will be 'more exciting' than the traditional Hungaroring fare, thanks to the arrival in 2011 of DRS.
All-too-often a Sunday afternoon snooze-fest in seasons past due to the difficulty of overtaking around the tight-and-twisty, 2.7-mile circuit close to the capital of Budapest, Kobayashi reckons the forthcoming race will keep fans rather more enthralled, with the new adjustable rear wing set to play a major part in spicing up the action. The young Japanese ace scythed his way through the field from the very back row of the grid to ninth at the Hungaroring this time last year – and hopes are high that he can do even better still twelve months on.
“I have good memories of Budapest from last year,” the 24-year-old affirmed. “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.”
Rookie team-mate Sergio Pérez, for his part, is similarly effusive about the challenge posed by the Hungaroring, and after missing out on the top ten by just a single position in the German Grand Prix at the Nürburging last weekend, the highly-rated young Mexican is eager to head into F1's summer break with the third points-scoring finish of his fledgling top flight career.
“To me, the Hungaroring is a very good, technical and slow circuit,” the 21-year-old remarked. “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.”
“The Hungaroring is a long-established circuit which the teams know well,” summarised Sauber technical director James Key, hoping for a warmer weekend than was the case in Germany. “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, 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 Nürburgring 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.”