This summer my family and I went on a road trip around Europe. During this holiday we decided to take a trip to Budapest (driving there from Bristol… much to my wife’s dismay!) and whilst we were there, we went to watch the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Given that I spend my days at work speaking to clients from across the F1 and motorsports world, this was a very exciting opportunity to see some of the technologies we recruit people to work on in action…
10 British fans surrounded by 500 Dutch fans
The whole family absolutely loved it. We were surrounded by Dutch fans in a sea of orange. It looked like Max Verstappen was going to win but with three laps to go Lewis Hamilton overtook him.
It was a nail-biting climax to the race where he chased Verstappen down over the last 20 laps so us and the few British fans in the area were elated. The Dutch fans… not so much.
Naturally when you’re at one of the biggest events in the F1 calendar you’re going to see some familiar, famous faces. We managed to meet a number of the drivers in a ‘meet the fans’ event which was a great experience, but it was equally fascinating seeing the teams and technologies that we work with at FMC taking part in the Grand Prix as well as all of the ‘big names’ in the world of motorsports. Some highlights were:
- Red Bull who had put on an exhibition of James Bond cars to celebrate their partnership with Aston Martin and had a good haul of points with 2nd and 6th finishes
- Mercedes who were very happy to have won
- McLaren with a supreme result powered by Renault to come 5th and 9th
- After a torrid qualifying, the pink Racing Point of Sergio Perez battling through the field to get up to 11th… oh so close to the points!
Now for the techy part
If we’re getting really technical, the Grand Prix was essentially a battle between the Newey aero philosophy at Red Bull (which is often imitated by others on the grid) and the Mercedes aero philosophy. The latter are very much out on their own aero-wise. Combine this with the more developed and powerful Mercedes engine and the emerging Honda engine in the back of the Red Bull motor and it was fascinating to see the two come face to face in real life.
The tires and the strategy really came into force in the Grand Prix. Nearing the end of the race, Verstappen’s tires were almost ruined which formed part of a 1-stop strategy (he did actually stop twice, but the second was not part of the strategy!). Hamilton went for a 2-stop strategy which was widely criticised (even by Hamilton) except by his Strategy Engineer.
The key things I took from our visit to the Grand Prix (apart from that taking a pink trolley for your 2-year-old daughter to ride in will get you stopped constantly for pictures!) were:
- Red Bull has the best aero team and other teams competing base their aero philosophies on this
- Mercedes has the best engine (when you think about performance, drivability and reliability combined) and other manufacturers have been trying to imitate this for years
- Mercedes have a great Strategy Engineer! A decent strategy engineer can win you races and Budapest proved this