The future of the Hungaroring and the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix was the topic of a press conference held on Tuesday at the Hungaroring in Mogyoród jointly by the State Secretariat for Sport of the Ministry of Defence and Hungaroring Sport Zrt. The most important news is that the redevelopment of the Hungaroring is finally underway, that the NSÜ (National Sport Agency Non-profit Ltd.) will become the owner of the circuit and that negotiations are under way to extend the F1 contract to 2032, which currently runs until 2027.
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been part of the Formula 1 World Championship calendar since 1986, for 38 consecutive years (second only to the legendary Monza with this record), but to keep it that way in the long term, the Hungaroring and the infrastructure needs to be renewed and improved.
"The Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix is of great importance for Hungary, it goes beyond a simple sporting event and motorsport itself," said Dr. Ádám Schmidt, State Secretary for Sport. “Since my appointment, there have been many background discussions on the future of the Hungaroring, and several government decisions have been taken: NSÜ, support organization of the Hungarian State Secretariat for Sport, will become the owner of the circuit. The Government has also decided to support the long-delayed redevelopment of the facility. Hungaroring currently has a contract with the F1 rights holder until 2027, and the extension until 2032 is condition of a second-phase redevelopment, for which preparations have already started."
The Hungaroring, built in 1986, has been rebuilt twice so far, first in 1989 when the chicane at Turn 3 was removed and again in 2003 when Turn 1 was lowered and Turn 12 was straightened. The length of the track was first reduced from 4,104 metres to 3,975 metres, before reaching its current length of 4,381 metres in 2003. In 2016, the Hungaroring replaced the wearing course along the entire track covered by own resources, which was much needed according to the drivers’ feedback.
Now, another big step is to be taken.
"The utility network and infrastructure no longer meet the requirements of Formula 1: everything, from the size of the garages to the width of the paddock and the main building, needs to be renewed," began Zsolt Gyulay, CEO of Hungaroring Sport Zrt. “The redevelopment of the utilities has begun, with a number of boreholes drilled under the track and additional boreholes being prepared to ensure that low voltage, high voltage, sewage and drinking water pipes meet the international standards, and to be able to serve the needs of the tenants for the following 40 to 50 years. At the same time, an operation centre will also be built, along with a beautiful main entrance with a community space and café. This will be followed by the redevelopment of the paddock and the 10,000-seat covered grandstand, which will be accompanied by drilling two tunnels between the area behind the grandstand and the paddock."
Zsolt Gyulay also said that the plans were prepared in such a way that we would be able to host a Formula 1 race every year during the redevelopment.
"We have been negotiating for a contract until 2032 and an extra five-year option, which would give us the longest contract in Europe, but we would also be in a good position globally. There are still a few details to be clarified, but in the coming weeks and months I think we will settle all the issues."
Currently, Bahrain has the longest contract, until 2036, Australia has just extended it to 2035 and Qatar has an agreement until 2032, with the Hungaroring to join them when they sign the new contract.