Following a month-long summer break, the Formula Renault Eurocup returns to action in Budapest. Round seven of the season, at the Hungaroring, will be the first of three meetings in just four weeks and the battles up and down the field will be back on the boil!
On the tight and twisty track that hosts the Hungarian Grand Prix, the drivers will have to quickly get themselves into the groove to be ready for the practically decisive qualifying sessions on this circuit where overtaking is regarded as difficult.
Nevertheless, all the contenders will aim to add their name to the list of past winners in Hungary, which includes Brendon Hartley, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Éric Vergne, Stoffel Vandoorne, Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly, Jack Aitken and Daniel Ticktum...
Back on the podium at Spa-Francorchamps, Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) retook the lead in the general classification, which he had relinquished for less than 24 hours to his main rival, Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport)!
In this return to hostilities, their duel should heat up even more. While the Chinese native returns to the track where he took top rookie honours last year, the Danish member of the Renault Sport Academy is a fast learner as his wins in Italy and Belgium confirmed.
Both, however, will have to pay close attention to two other Renault Sport Academy members. Victorious at the Red Bull Ring and at Spa, Frenchman Victor Martins (R-ace GP) is coming on strong and is now on the heels of the leaders after overtaking team mate Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP), who has a category leading three race wins so far this year.
A return with no room for error!
Several contenders are looking to keep their title chances alive. After having gotten a second taste of champagne in Belgium, Logan Sargeant (R-ace GP) is striving for more podium finishes, while Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport) also intends to fight for a large points tally.
The battle promises to be all the more magnificient as onlookers expect a reaction from both Charles Milesi (R-ace GP) and Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport), who kept a low-profile since their wins in the support races at the Monaco Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Oscar Piastri (Arden Motorsport) claimed his first podium and Thomas Maxwell (JD Motorsport) had never been so close to doing the same before the summer break and there’s no doubt the two Australians will aim to carry the momentum!
Neil Verhagen (Tech 1 Racing) is ready to return to the circuit where he took his first podium in the Formula Renault Eurocup. Just like his team mate Alexander Smolyar (Tech 1 Racing), who hasn’t finished in the top ten since Silverstone, the Red Bull Junior Team driver hopes to re-find his pace in order to contain Arthur Rougier (Fortec Motorsports), who scored his first points of the season in fine fashion at Spa-Francorchamps.
Nothing or almost nothing to lose!
For the others, this first leg of the final sprint is a chance to beat the odds and catch the eye of the onlookers.
Last year, Najiy Razak (JD Motorsport) scored his first point in Hungary and he hopes to do it again this year. Frank Bird (Tech 1 Racing), Raúl Guzmán (Fortec Motorsports), Axel Matus (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Eliseo Martinez (AVF by Adrián Vallés) will also return to a track they know well.
Among the newcomers, Sami Taoufik (Arden Motorsport), Christian Muñoz (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Vladimir Tziortzis (Fortec Motorsports) and Nikita Volegov (Arden Motorsport) will rely on the experience of their respective teams.
Fully recovered from physical issues, Thomas Neubauer (Tech 1 Racing) and Clément Novalak (Josef Kaufmann Racing) rejoin the field, that will also include competitors from the Formula Renault NEC, led by Phil Hill (Anders Motorsport), a two-time category winner at Spa.
1 Only Daniel Ricciardo (2008) has swept the wins at the Hungaroring.
8 If Yifei Ye wins both races, the list of title contenders might drop to eight drivers.
9 Nine drivers have beaten the pole winner in 22 races held in Budapest.
11 At Spa, Oscar Piastri became the 11th different driver to finish on the podium.
155,392kph The fastest average speed in the three races run last year. It was one of the slowest of the 2017 season, including street circuits and wet races.
2016 The only year when the Hungaroring wasn’t on the calendar since 2007.
Thursday August 30 2018
14:00–18:00 Private tests
Friday August 31 2018
9:00–9:50 Collective tests 1
14:25–15:15 Collective tests 2
Saturday September 1 2018
10:40–11:15 Qualifying 1
16:15–16:50 Race 1
Sunday September 2 2018
9:00–9:35 Qualifying 2
13:50–14:25 Race 2