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F1: six things you need to know about the Hungarian Grand Prix

F1 in mourning, and the drivers’ salaries are out: all the news ahead of this weekend’s race

  1. F1 returns after Jules Bianchi’s funeral

    Just days after the sport gathered in Nice to say farewell to the late Marussia driver, Formula One arrives in Hungary for the last race before the four-week summer break.

    The mood is understandably solemn among teams and fans, with tributes planned over the weekend. The FIA has retired car 17 – Bianchi’s racing number – as a mark of respect, and there will be a minute’s silence held before the start of the grand prix on Sunday.

    The world championship itself feels almost inconsequential at a time like this, although the contenders will have to focus nonetheless. Lewis Hamilton stated that Jules would “want us to race hard as he did”, with others promising to do just that as well.

    With the next race nearly a month away in Belgium, a good result here could give drivers a psychological lift going into the second half of the season.

  2. Hungaroring has been getting mixed reviews

    Despite making its thirtieth consecutive appearance on the F1 calendar this year, the layout of the 2.72-mile circuit has been criticised by some of the sport’s younger generation.

    Though the Hungaroring was hailed as “a great, great track for a qualifying” by last year’s winner Daniel Ricciardo, his Red Bull teammate Daniil Kvyat believes it is “a little bit too narrow for modern F1 cars” to race properly.

    It’s a sentiment echoed by Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen, the youngster describing it as “a Mickey Mouse track” having driven round it in his F3 days.

    We’re not sure we agree. The Hungaroring might have one of the slowest average laps of the year, but the intensity of the circuit means mistakes can be punished almost anywhere. Add temperature changes and potential rain into the mix, and we could see another great race.

  3. Kevin Magnussen has a sense of humour

    McLaren’s reserve driver would no doubt have been gutted to lose his 2015 race seat after impressing in his debut season last year, but it doesn’t appear to have damaged his relationship with colleague Jenson Button.

    The Woking team were forced to choose between the pair after signing two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso from Ferrari on a three-year contract at the end of last season.

    The 22-year-old Dane tweeted a picture out on his bike the other day, prompting Jenson to tease him by asking: “Couldn’t you find your car?!”

    The quick-witted Dane replied saying that he often saw the lost vehicle at McLaren’s Technology Centre, but that “someone put your name on the side of it!”


  4. The drivers’ salaries have been published...

    And, if true, they’re quite interesting. The list – which has been put together by Business Book GP, and appears to be legit – reveals just how much each of the teams are paying for their line-ups this season.

    As you might expect, the top three earners have eight world championships between them, with Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton receiving €35m, €28m and €25m respectively.

    And it turns out that Force India, Lotus and Williams spend more on drivers than former constructors champions Red Bull, who pay Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat the (relatively) meagre sums of €1.5m and €750,000 apiece.

    Perhaps the most striking aspect of the figures, though, is the difference between the bottom two teams in the standings. Manor’s expenditure on Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi is €200,000, whereas McLaren-Honda are paying a combined total of €46m for the services of Alonso and Jenson Button for 2015.

    230 times the outlay, five points better off. Yikes.

  5. McLaren-Honda are going to use their new engine immediately

    Before the last race in Silverstone three weeks ago, F1 bosses agreed “to allow an extra power unit per driver in the first year to any new manufacturer entering the championship”, after McLaren-Honda burned through their entire allocation in just eight races.

    The team has decided to use this ‘extra’ engine at the first opportunity, in the hope of picking up some points at a track that should suit their car.

    It seems unlikely that the rule change will prevent their drivers from being demoted to the back of the field again before the year is out, but the simplified penalty system does at least mean an end to grid drops longer than the actual grid.

    “Having personally seen the effort that’s been going on at MTC [McLaren Technology Centre],” said Jenson, “I know we’re slowly but surely getting there.”

    Meanwhile, the wait for another McLaren-Honda victory goes on.

  6. Sauber have announced their line-up for 2016

    The jostling for race seats in Formula One usually begins around now, but Sauber have got their work done early by retaining Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr for next season.

    Both drivers have shown promise – Nasr especially, having finished fifth in the opening race of the season – and team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has rewarded them accordingly by guaranteeing their future for another year.

    Ericsson said: “I am getting to know everyone within the team more and more, and feel I am being appreciated as a valuable driver. I feel honoured to be part of the Sauber Motorsport family, and I will continue to do my very best to succeed.”

    His teammate Nasr had a similar message for fans, stating that his “objective is to support the team as best I can, and also with regard to the development of the new car.”

    It sounds like Sauber have got their act together after coming into the current season with five drivers lined up to race in blue and yellow…

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