While travelling around Europe I had the opportunity to visit the Hungarian GP, as I was in Budapest when the event was taking place. This is only the second grand prix I have attended but I can confidently say that the Magyar Nagydij is a must for all Formula 1 fans, and here’s why.
It’s a home race not only for the Hungarians, but for other nations as well
The Hungaroring is located just outside of Budapest’s centre, in the town of Mogyorod, which can be reached using the Hungarian capital’s excellent metro system and a local train, all for about £2 there and the same price back. Like any grand prix, it is attended by people from all around the world but the Hungarians aren’t as numerous here as you might expect.
When I got off the train in Mogyorod, I walked by a pub that had been covered in Finnish flags and inside at 8am, it was full of the normally reserved nationality. With this being the closest grand prix to Finland, they’ve declared it their home race, and with two of their countrymen in F1’s top teams (Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas) their interest will not waver for years to come. This year it has also been a home race for the Germans, who predictably got to the track as soon as the gates opened to claim their spots in the general admission (GA) areas.
The Germans and Finns significantly contributed to a sell-out crowd this year and made the atmosphere absolutely incredible, as most were supporting a Ferrari driver or the Scuderia itself. Running onto the circuit after the end of the race to catch the podium interviews (something that’s actually encouraged by the stewards) was very special as a Ferrari 1-2 meant that there were a lot of happy fans on the pit-straight.
Everything in Hungary is so cheap
Aside from the official F1 programme, which is available at every European Formula 1 race for €15, the cost of items in Hungary is incredibly cheap for those of us from Western Europe, North America and Australia. A pint of beer at the track is less than £3, a bottle of water less than £2 and my ticket to see a full day’s racing was just €80. It’s most likely a result of Hungary not joining the Eurozone yet, but paying for things with Hungarian Forints is a godsend if you’re travelling on a budget like I was.
Is it better than Spain?
I was also lucky enough to attend this year’s Spanish GP back in May and I wrote a similar report then too, so I implore you to check that out if you haven’t already. Back to the question in hand, though, and it’s very hard to say, as it depends on what you want from a grand prix.
While you could see about half the circuit from the GA area I was in, and the rest via two large screens, you have to stand for the whole race to witness any of the action. Even for someone who regularly stands for the whole ninety minutes in football matches, that was a challenge in the heat of the Hungarian summer. If you're into photographing the cars as well, Spain trumps Hungary in this category as well, as getting good pictures of the cars in these sections is nigh on impossible.
However, on the plus side tickets are cheaper than their equivalents at the Circuit de Catalunya, and alcohol is allowed into the Hungaroring. In addition, Barcelona and Budapest are both stunningly beautiful cities that you can easily spend a week exploring, both having some of the most beautiful sights and boasting the best nightlife in all of Europe. Both also have a full programme of GP3, F2, Porsche Supercup and F1 to make it a full weekend of racing.
Choosing between these two is like choosing between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, they’re both fantastic but which one is better is down to one’s personality. One thing’s for sure, though, both Barcelona and Budapest are excellent destinations for a city break and grand prix all rolled into one.
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