Toyota - Ralf Schumacher (#11), Jarno Trulli (#12):

Toyota duo Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher are determined to get back amongst the points finishers in Hungary, having endured a barren run of four races without troubling the scorers.

Trulli was among a number of drivers who failed to capitalise on the changeable conditions at the N?rburgring last time out, eventually coming home 13th and last. The Italian is adamant the Hungaroring owes him a change of luck after frequently running well there but with only a fourth place in 2005 to show for his efforts.

"I have always performed very well in Hungary," the Italian underlined, "but I don't think I've got the results I deserved there so I am really looking forward to a strong race this weekend.

"Clearly, the result at the N?rburgring was very disappointing, especially because we had a good chance to score points after we looked competitive earlier in the weekend. We will work hard to achieve a better result in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday."

Although Schumacher has notched up but two points all season to his team-mate's seven, the last couple of meetings have hinted at an upturn in fortunes for the German, with successive top ten qualifying performances and more encouraging showings come the races.

"The nature of the Hungaroring makes overtaking really difficult," he insisted, "so it is more important than normal that we continue our strong recent form in qualifying. Unfortunately we have not translated that into race results, though, and that is our challenge this weekend. I believe we are capable of scoring points so we will just try to do a good job all weekend.

"The Hungarian Grand Prix weekend is always enjoyable because there are so many enthusiastic fans at the Hungaroring and the city of Budapest itself is beautiful. Visiting Budapest in August means we are almost certain to face some very hot temperatures, even if last year was unusually cool. The heat can make it difficult to concentrate, but I have done my personal training and am well-prepared so it will be no problem."

"After our very disappointing European Grand Prix, we are hoping for a much better result in Budapest," added the Japanese squad's senior general chassis manager Pascal Vasselon. "In qualifying at the N?rburgring we clearly showed a competitive pace, as in the last couple of events. We were expecting to score points but in the race we made too many mistakes. I believe we have the speed to score points but we must prove that this weekend."

Red Bull Racing - David Coulthard (#14), Mark Webber (#15):

Red Bull Racing enters this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix on the back of the best result of its history in the top flight at the N?rburgring, courtesy of Mark Webber coming home third and David Coulthard not far behind in fifth.

Having consequently overtaken Toyota and gained ground on Williams in the constructors' standings, RBR is finally beginning to bring home the results to match its undoubted pace.

"The N?rburgring was a fantastic result for the team," confirmed Renault's principal trackside engine support engineer Fabrice Lom. "At Magny-Cours and Silverstone we endured two difficult races, but we knew the potential was in the car. Everybody worked very hard and, at the last race, we got the first rewards for that - not just a podium, but both cars in the points at the chequered flag. We scored ten points, the same number as McLaren and more than Ferrari or BMW. More importantly, though, we scored ten more than Toyota and five more than Williams. In terms of the championship, that made it a very successful weekend.

"The Hungaroring is a demanding circuit or the car, with lots of bumps, high kerbs and a lot of gear changes. From the engine's point-of-view, though, the time spent at full throttle is below average, and there are no particularly severe challenges. The only thing we will have to pay special attention to is the cooling, as we are expecting extremely hot temperatures. We worked on a range of different cooling options and bodywork configurations during our test in Jerez last week. While we are confident about the car's cooling, we will nevertheless pay particularly special attention to this area.

"I think we should have a competitive package in Hungary. It is a twisty circuit, but one with few very slow corners; it is more about a series of medium-speed corners and our car seems pretty strong in this area, both in terms of braking and downforce levels at these speeds. If everything goes smoothly we should be capable of a competitive showing, but as always we need to wait for the opening sessions on Friday to get a better idea. We will certainly be working hard to secure a strong result."

Williams - Nico Rosberg (#16), Alex Wurz (#17):

Williams are confident than a stronger showing than of late as the Formula 1 circus rolls into Budapest this weekend, with a healthy record at the tight and twisty circuit including seven wins, six pole positions and nine fastest laps.

A top five qualifying performance for Mark Webber last year gives the Grove-based squad further cause for optimism, while Nico Rosberg went well there en route to the GP2 crown back in 2005, scorching through the field after he was demoted to the back of the grid to finish in fifth place on a track where it is deemed all-but impossible to overtake.

"I'm looking forward to the race in Hungary," the German enthused. "I quite like the track; it suits my driving style well. Although we use a similar set-up to Monaco there, the two tracks feel completely different; the Hungaroring is more physical because of the higher speeds and temperatures. It's also one of the better tracks for our car, so we have a good chance of doing well there. Hungary holds good memories for me. I was pretty strong there last year and I was on pole when I raced there in GP2. I really hope it will be a good weekend."

Team-mate Alex Wurz has only raced in Hungary three times and has yet to finish in the points, something he is keen to put to rights this weekend in front of a large number of partisan supporters.

"The Hungarian Grand Prix is almost a home race for me," the 33-year-old explained, "because lots of Austrian fans travel to the Hungaroring every year. I'm looking forward to Budapest for various reasons. The circuit is very nice and I enjoy the flow, but it's also a difficult track, not only in terms of finding a good set-up but also because it's very physically demanding for the drivers. It's a long race with very hot temperatures, and there are no straights to relax on so we're constantly under pressure. I expect the layout to suit our car and I hope we will pick up a few points. I will certainly be pushing like crazy!"

"Budapest is a technical circuit where the drivers have to get into a good rhythm as the corners blend almost continuously from one to the next," added Williams' technical director Sam Michael. "This tests the drivers' concentration to the limit and also means a mistake early on in the lap can be costly.

"The Hungaroring is a maximum downforce track, with only Monaco having a lower minimum aerodynamic efficiency requirement. In simple terms, that means we can accept downforce with a lot of drag at Budapest and still go faster. Bridgestone will bring the soft and super soft Potenza tyres for this race. The sustained lateral loading on the car around Budapest will also bring its own challenges.

"Pit-stop strategy can go from one extreme to the other, depending on your qualifying position. It is important to get a good start here because overtaking is not easy, but that is often difficult due to the dust which usually covers the pit straight. We are pushing hard with development on the FW29, but the competition for points is fierce and this weekend will be no different."

Scuderia Toro Rosso - Vitantonio Liuzzi (#18), Sebastian Vettel (#19):

Following Scott Speed's sudden departure from the fray, Scuderia Toro Rosso enter this weekend with Sebastien Vettel alongside regular driver Vitantonio Liuzzi. With the young German determined to make the most of the opportunity to stake his claim to a successful future in the sport.

The World Series by Renault front-runner already made his grand prix bow at Indianapolis earlier this year, standing in for the injured Robert Kubica following the Pole's high-speed Montreal smash. BMW-Sauber agreed to release their young prot?g? to allow him to take up the offer from STR for the remainder of the season, with a view to remaining with the squad into 2008.

"As our test and reserve driver Sebastian has carried out sterling work for us, said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "When he stood in for Robert Kubica in the US Grand Prix he made history by becoming the youngest debutant to earn a world championship point.

"However, the current testing rules mean he barely gets a chance to drive for us. Now he has been offered the opportunity to get inside a Toro Rosso cockpit. We have sponsored and coached Sebastian over a number of years. To place obstacles in his career path now would go against our concept of talent promotion.

"BMW and Red Bull have a longstanding partnership in supporting Sebastian. Toro Rosso is the sister team of Red Bull Racing, and in that context it makes sense for us to release him. In a sponsoring partnership the main thing is to use the best opportunities that present themselves to a young driver at any given time."

Spyker F1 - Sakon Yamamoto (#20), Adrian Sutil (#21):

Spyker will also be fielding a new driver in the Hungarian Grand Prix, in the shape of former Super Aguri ace Sakon Yamamtoto. The young Japanese already has seven races under his belt in the top flight from the second half of 2006, but has not distinguished himself after stepping back down to GP2 with BCN Competicion this year.

"It was a surprise to get the call from Spyker," the 25-year-old admitted, having not been mooted on the list of potential long-term replacements for Christijan Albers at the Dutch outfit. "At the same time, though, I was, and still am, really glad to come back to Formula 1. Obviously I haven't had a normal testing programme this year, but I drove an F1 car in February and I do not think this will be a problem. I am excited to be back in a race seat.

"I tested for the team (as Jordan) back in 2005 and drove a Friday practice session in the Japanese Grand Prix. It's an advantage as I know some of the engineers and mechanics, so it's easy to get back into the team. I know all the circuits quite well except Spa-Francorchamps where we didn't go last year, but last year I was in the situation where I had to learn the circuits and the car very quickly so I am quite relaxed going to this part of the season.

"I would like to be really quick, score points and finish as many races as possible. The target has to be to help Spyker score their first points."

Team principal Colin Kolles was equally enthusiastic about the signing, and confident his new young charge would be capable of working well together with Adrian Sutil as the team bids to drive its way up the F1 pecking order.

"Sakon is a very good all-round package," Kolles stressed. "We were very clear that the driver we chose needed to bring a certain financial benefit, but needed to have good, relevant experience too. Sakon has both covered and has a permanent place in the team from now until the end of the season. As a team we are permitted four driver changes over the course of a season, and now we have run four drivers.

"Adrian has experience of the car and is very well-integrated in the team, while Sakon has experience of the circuits we go to now. On a personal level, they are also both eager to do well and demonstrate they can race at the highest level of motorsport. This kind of hunger and enthusiasm can only be good for us as this is when a driver gets the most out of the car."

Speaking about the stunning grand prix debut made by Yamamoto's predecessor Markus Winkelhock at the N?rburgring, Kolles admitted the sight of seeing a Spyker leading a race for the first time had been beyond even his wildest dreams.

"Anyone who came to the N?rburgring saw the impact Markus had," he asserted. "We had more TV and press coverage than we have ever had and we led a race for the first time ever. Of course it was a good feeling. We might have been lucky with the weather, but we got the strategy exactly right, which was not down to luck, and Markus had a very controlled drive. It shows that when all things are difficult, we can be on top of it. When we get the new car, who knows what will happen if the same situation happens again?

"Markus did an excellent job in the European Grand Prix, but we were very clear that he was not, unfortunately, in a position to be able to fill the seat until the end of the season. He will continue in the role of reserve driver and attend races. Obviously we know that if he does need to step up to race, he will do a good job for us. I think with Sakon it will be the same, although we are not expecting to lead again - those were very exceptional circumstances."

Super Aguri F1 - Takuma Sato (#22), Anthony Davidson (#23):

Super Aguri are looking to put a troubled run of races behind them in the Hungarian Grand Prix, by regaining some of their early-season form as the Japanese squad looks to build towards an even stronger 2008.

Takuma Sato's sixth place in Montreal is the Leafield-based squad's undoubted highlight of the season so far, but the former Honda star also finished inside the points in Spain, and despite using a year-old chassis Super Aguri has nevertheless routinely outperformed and outscored the works Honda outfit throughout the campaign.

"As one can imagine the first point for Super Aguri claimed by Takuma in Barcelona was very special," said head of research and development Gerry Hughes. "I was unfortunately not present at the chaotic Canadian Grand Prix to see him claim another three. Having points on the board makes you hungry for more, and when you come away from a race weekend with nothing to show for your efforts that can become disheartening.

"This season has seen fierce competition throughout the grid, so I suppose we should be reasonably happy about our performance in 2007, in just our second season. With regard to future developments, we are working on a number of projects in different areas of the car; some of these ideas are more innovative than others.

"Certainly I am looking forward to the 2008 season and beyond. Super Aguri is still in its infancy and we have limited resources, but I think the way the team has equipped itself over the past one-and-a-half seasons is proof that we have the ability to perform alongside teams much bigger than ourselves."

TYRES:

Hungary will mark a return to Bridgestone's super soft compound Potenza rubber, with the softest tyre in the Japanese company's 2007 range being paired with the soft compound for the tight, twisty and slippery 4.38km circuit.

The track provides a very particular challenge for teams and drivers. Its tight and twisty characteristics preclude sustained high-speed running, while at the same time possessing something of a reputation as a car-breaker.

The track is very smooth, meaning the softest compounds are used, but the hot weather and graining-inducing nature of the track mean that tyre management will be critical over the weekend and particularly in the race.

The weather is always an important factor in any grand prix, with the importance of correct tyre choice for the conditions illustrated perfectly at the N?rburgring. With part of Europe under flood conditions and the other part experiencing a heatwave, Hungary could witness an interesting race indeed.

"The smooth surface and the fact the circuit is not used that often means it's a low-grip circuit," explained Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport's Head of Track Engineering Operations, "so we will bring the softest compounds in our range to provide the required grip. The circuit characteristics are very inviting for graining to be suffered on the tyres, mainly on the front.

"Normally the temperatures in Budapest are quite high, which means a real challenge for the softer compounds. Qualifying position is crucial. Overtaking is very difficult, so warm-up and initial lap times are very important for the drivers. If you don't start on the front row the chance of winning is slim, unless you come up with a very clever strategy. Qualifying performance and, thereafter, tyre management are the key factors here."

THE TRACK:
Race Distance: 70 laps - Circuit Length: 2.722 miles (4.381 kms)

The Hungaroring has been a regular fixture on the calendar since 1986 when it became the first Formula One event to take place in Eastern Europe. The circuit layout had remained the same since 1989 when an unplanned kink around an underground spring was removed, shortening the track. For 2003, modifications were made to the first corner and the chicane at the back of the circuit in an attempt to improve overtaking opportunities at a track previously regarded as almost impossible to pass on.

Track conditions are always very dusty as the circuit sees very little action during the rest of the year. This leaves the track surface short of grip, particularly offline, but also combines with the August heat to increase tyre wear. The twisty layout makes this the slowest circuit on the F1 calendar after Monaco, and three corners - turns two and thirteen hairpins, plus turns six and seven chicane are all 90 km/h turns. The fastest corner is the relatively modest 170km/h left-hand kink at turn four.

THE WINNER?

With McLaren and Ferrari seemingly enjoying a near lock-out of the podium positions this season - freak climactic conditions aside - it would seem a fairly safe bet to pick a winner from within their ranks. Choosing which of the four is the most likely to do so, however, is the tricky part.

Although Fernando Alonso was imperious on his way to victory at the N?rburgring, that is to mask the fact that Ferrari held the upper hand for the majority of the weekend, and it was more Alonso than his McLaren-Mercedes car that won the race. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton took a knock back with his hefty 'off' in qualifying and first failure to score of the campaign, and will need to get his challenge back on-track in Hungary if he is to stave off his resurgent Spanish team-mate.

Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, will be desperate to enjoy some good luck following his agonising retirement last time out, while team-mate Felipe Massa will be similarly keen to avenge his European Grand Prix defeat. One thing is for sure - none of the four will be willing to concede without a fight.

LAST SEASON:

Jenson Button stole victory from under the noses of the grandee teams last year, as he mastered the tricky conditions while all around him lost their heads - seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher included.

The weekend had begun on a controversial note following two-second penalties for title protagonists Schumacher and Alonso for dangerous driving, leaving both substantially further down the grid than they would normally have been.

Pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen's race came to a premature conclusion when the Finn careered into the back of Tonio Liuzzi's STR when coming up to lap the Italian, while Alonso worked his way all the way up the field from 15th place into the lead only to see all his efforts come undone when the right rear wheel nut on his Renault came loose and caused him to crash. That promoted Button up into the lead from 14th on the grid, but the drama was far from over yet as Schumacher - still out on intermediate tyres while most of his rivals had pitted to switch over to slicks - robustly defended his second place.

Pedro de la Rosa forced his way through in the race's closing laps, before it all ended in tears for the German when countryman Nick Heidfeld also went past and in a hasty effort to protect his position Schumacher clattered into the BMW-Sauber and the damage forced him out of the race. Heidfeld held on for third - BMW's maiden podium in their own right - while in a final twist of irony a disqualification from seventh place for new BMW team-mate Robert Kubica moved the Ferrari ace back up into the points once more in the final reckoning, despite ending the race in his pit garage.

1. Jenson Button Britain Honda-Honda 70 laps 01:52:20.941
2. Pedro de la Rosa Spain McLaren-Mercedes +30.8
3. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW-Sauber +43.8
4. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda-Honda +45.2
5. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Ferrari +1 lap
6. Ralf Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +1 lap
7. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +1 lap
8. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +1 lap

 

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