Did you know that the first Grand Prix winner was from Hungary? Or that the 100th F1 winner and the 100th polesitter was crowned at the Hungarian Grand Prix? Here are five things you might not already know about the Hungaroring!
The first Grand Prix winner was Hungarian
Although the Hungarian Grand Prix – and the Hungaroring – did not join the Formula 1 calendar until 1986, the country has a long history with motorsport. The first Hungarian Grand Prix took place in 1936, in Népliget Park in Budapest – just 20km south of the Hungaroring. The event attracted a large crowd and was won by Tazio Nuvolari, driving an Alfa Romeo entered by Ferrari.
Furthermore, the first ever Grand Prix winner was from Hungary. Ferenc Szisz, hailing from the village of Oroszvár (which is now known as Rusovce and located in Slovakia) took victory in the 1906 French Grand Prix. That race is considered the first true Grand Prix event. You can read more about Ferenc Szisz’s racing career here.
Zsolt Baumgartner is the only Hungarian to race at home
While the first ever Grand Prix driver was Hungarian, Hungarian drivers have been less successful in Formula 1. In fact, there has been just a single driver to compete in Formula 1 who hails from Hungary.
Image: Rick Dikeman, CC BY-SA 3.0
Zsolt Baumgartner competed in 20 Grands Prix during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He made his race debut at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, driving for Jordan. After qualifying nineteenth, Baumgartner retired after 34 laps. He went on to score a single point in his career, with an eighth place finish for Minardi at the 2004 United States Grand Prix.
Only Monza has a longer consecutive streak on the F1 calendar
The Hungarian Grand Prix has appeared on the Formula 1 calendar in every season since it was first held in 1986. 2021 will mark the 36th consecutive year in which the event has been on the calendar – a streak bettered by only one circuit. Monza has hosted the Italian Grand Prix in every season since 1981.
Monaco formerly boasted a longer unbroken streak than the Hungaroring, having appeared on the calendar in every season between 1955 and 2019. However, the coronavirus pandemic meant that the 2020 Monaco Grand Prix was cancelled, ending a 65 year constant presence on the schedule.
The Hungarian Grand Prix winner’s curse
For the thirteen seasons between 2005 and 2017, the winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix failed to go on and win the title in the same season. Plenty of drivers came close to doing so – most notably, Lewis Hamilton in 2007 and 2016, and Mark Webber in 2010 – but winning the Hungarian Grand Prix during that period was a bit of a curse. Hamilton has since turned that statistic around though. The British driver has won the event and gone on to be crowned World Champion in all of the last three seasons!
F1 had its 100th winner and 100th polesitter at this track
Formula 1 crowned both its 100th race winner and its 100th polesitter at the Hungaroring. Heikki Kovalainen took his maiden Grand Prix victory with McLaren at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix. It would be the Finn’s only victory in the sport, Meanwhile, eleven years later, Max Verstappen claimed his first pole position with Red Bull at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix.