Understanding the new Pirelli tyres will be key this weekend in Hungary, Williams
driver Pastor Maldonado
Maldonado tested the new rubber last week during the three-day Young Driver Test at Silverstone.
However while he said this will help as he makes his preparations for the tenth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship, he knows Friday practice will still be crucial if he is to have a good race, and give the Grove-based squad its first points of the year.
“There will be new tyres from Pirelli this weekend that combine last year's construction with this year's compounds, so understanding how these will perform will be a primary focus as we prepare for this race," Maldonado confirmed.
"Testing these tyres at Silverstone in the Young Driver's Test has given me an insight into the changes made, but it will only be after practice on Friday that can we sit down and analyse all the data and discuss our strategy for the weekend,” he added.
Maldonado also stated that qualifying well on the Saturday will be essential too: “I have driven at the Hungaroring
for a few years now and it is a very demanding circuit for drivers as it is often very hot. Qualifying is important because of the small number of overtaking opportunities, but I qualified well last year so I know what to expect and can hopefully deliver a strong performance that will give the team a boost as we head into the summer break,” he continued.
Williams chief race engineer, Xevi Pujolar, meanwhile agrees that the 'Ring is extremely demanding: “The Hungaroring
is one of the most challenging circuits of the year with the potential high ambient temperatures also putting extra demand on the drivers. The layout is quite technical; one corner quickly flows into the next and there are not many straights to be able to relax. The circuit layout leads to medium-low average speeds and so we run the maximum downforce configuration.
“You would think that because the average corner speed is medium-low that the tyres don't suffer as much, but because of the number of corners, it's unrelenting and a lot of energy goes through the rubber. Pirelli are introducing new tyres for the race in Hungary, so we will be aiming to fine tune our set-up on Friday to try to get the best out of them this weekend,” he stated.