The Monaco Grand Prix holds the record of being the longest running race on the F1 calendar to be held at the same venue for consecutive years, the principality has hosted a F1 race every year since 1955. Second on the list is Monza, which surprisingly has its current run of consecutive races starting from 1981! (The 1980 race was held at Imola). Third on the list, and this may surprise you, it’s the Hungaroring. The Hungarian circuit has been a mainstay of the Grand Prix circuit for every year since 1986.
Monza and Monaco are classic tracks that don’t need any introduction but what is it about the Hungaroring that makes it so popular and why aspiring venues should take note.
This year the Hungaroring served us up a treat of a race, thanks mostly to the weather conditions but also the new regulations played their part. It’s fair to say that the racing at there can be a bit on the processional side due to its tight and twisty nature but back in 1986 for the inarguable event, 200,000 people attended despite high ticket prices. The Hungarian public couldn’t wait to get its first sight of Formula 1 action and the event remains the jewel in the crown of the county’s sporting calendar.
Thanks to its central location, the Hungarian GP is popular with fans from right across Europe, particularly the Scandinavians and in recent years Polish and Russian fans have flocked to see Kubica and Petrov.
The circuit enjoys a close proximity and transport links to the capital, Budapest, enabling fans to get to and from the circuit with little fuss and with a contract in place until 2016 we are guaranteed 30 years of continuous racing at the Hungaroring.
Next year the Turkish GP makes way for the return of the US GP in Austin, Texas. After only seven years the race at the purpose built Istanbul Park circuit has been dropped from the schedule. On the face of it there is no reason why a GP in Turkey would fail, unlike its Hungarian counterpart the racing was good. Like the Hungaroring, the circuit is close to the county’s capital, Istanbul, it was the first race to be held in the region and it had government backing. Despite all these similarities, the people of Turkey didn’t embrace the fact that their country was holding a race. It would seem that one of the biggest defining factors between the Hungarian and Turkish races is down to local interest and pride in the event. If I had to choose between the two to attend, I would go to Hungary due to its popularity alone. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see 24 F1 cars flying through turn 8 at Turkey but not in a half empty grandstand!
So I say to the Governments, organisers and the public of Austin, Sochi and Buddh, if you want to see how to run a successful Grand Prix and leave a lasting legacy, go and speak to the people of Hungary.