Hungaroring - Grand Prix of Hungary 2003
Saturday, 23rd of August
We started early, we had visitors from Germany and they wanted to visit Budapest. There for this the Erzébet hid (Elizabeth bridge) the most favorable starting point is, we set them off there. The way we knew from earlier trips and it is also not as bad as the signposted way to the M3. From here I drove then simply straightforward in hope to find a sign M3. Since the road led directly to the station we passed on Friday , we had no concerns more not to find the way. after one or two kilometers I remembered a crossing, since we drove on this on Thursday back. A turn left was forbidden, thus briefly behind the crossing U-turned and naturally bent and really, after a few hundred meters to the right we were on the M3.
This time I was easily impudent and took the exit for VIPs, a policeman stationed there I helplessly looked at and he let me through, fast, fast. Well, well. Unfortunately, where we had further straightforward, the road was closed and one guided us on a parking lot for sponsors. Thank you, but that was exact at the main entrance however unfortunately in opposite to our seats. Thus again we turned around and at the blocked road a policeman let us pass through. Worked well. We drove over a sand way toward bronze grandstand and truly, directly beside the appropriate entrance there was also a parking lot. Thus car turned off, caps on the heads, water bottles packed up and on the area.
Here howling and roaring of the engines was to be heard. A view at the program gave information, free training! On the way to our seats we could see the first cars racing. And there, Kiesa steered his Minardi into gravel of the gravel bed. Nothing happened, the car came to the tow-hook and was later brought with the "taxi" back to the pits.
Our grandstand was still quite empty and we determined immediately the disadvantages:
- the banks are wooden, thus hard
- the grandstand has no roofing, thus sun purely
- the racing cars are substantially louder than expected
- the curve in front of the straight line before our places is not observable and
- before our grandstand the cars are dreadfully fast (Topspeed approx. 230 km/h), brakes are applied gently briefly and in the curve again fully accelerated.
Photographing of the passing cars is not so simple, it remains only one corridor of approx. 20 meters, is limited from a sun screen, loudspeaker boxes and an advertisement sign over the racing course. Additional are there also still some fans, that swivel their flags and tags on at least 2 meters of long bars. Since the cars come out of a curve which can not be seen, hearing when the cars come, seizes, along-pulls and in the correct moment to press the shutter. Here again the advantage of the digital camera shows up. Pictures of low quality are deleted and cost nothing additionally.
I was surprised, how the fans recognize their driver , the cars at the teams look like twins. The trick is, one can differentiate between the drivers by the helmets, here RTL (a German TV-Channel) is thanked, which always subtitles in the name. Since we were for the first time at a race, we had to only learn, the BMW driver with the yellow helmet is Ralf Schumacher, therefore the other Montoya is, Michael S. has a red one helmet with stars on it, therefore the one with the white roof is Barichello and Kimi R. has something on his helmet, which looks like the Finnish flag, therefore the other must be David Coulthard. Thus we had already 6 out of 20 drivers and thus nearly 30 %, who we could identify however that was all. How one Alonso recognizes or Trulli, Heidfeld or Frentzen, we donīt know.
The atmosphere with a race is already somehow special. If one sees the fans of the individual brands on the television only as red quantity, then they are to be regarded here as subject. Actually one can divide the spectators into 3 groups:
- those, who want to see simply a race, doesnīt matter who wins (absolute minority)
- the easily disguised, which their interest in a team or driver state by an appropriate Cap or T-Shirt, as we and
- the hard core fans, with whom I am sure, even the underwear and the condoms are held in the respective team colors. In addition they have flags and transparencies in the most different sizes, paired with compressed air fanfares (24 euro), which are to give additional thrust with driving past the respective favorite probably by the acoustic waves.
After the free training we looked around a little bit on the area. Toilets were there in sufficient quantity and the use was even for free. Tanja was not satisfied with the cleanliness of the womans toilet, I have to say, with the gents it was OK, if one considered that wood does not belong straight to the toiletaccessoires, from whom one sterility can expect.
Also at the drinks stands the prices were relatively low, an 0.3 l bottle Cola for 400 HUF, approx. 1.6 euro, itīs not too much, if one considers that in Budapest in the city center for a bottle of water in the same size easily 3 euro is required.
Since we had naturally forgotten our ear plugs, we had to buy, 2 euro the pair on the spot. Without ear plugs the cars are nevertheless rather loud.
After the free training and cleaning of the racing course there was the Qualifying for the Porsche Supercup, which ran off obviously according to the rules, which applied in former times in the formula 1. At least always several cars were on the racing course. For the entertainment of the audience the one and other turner was to be also seen, that was naturally celebrated with applause.
The Qualifying of the F1 was actually boring. Sure, one could see each driver 3 time, with the introduction round, with the valuation round and with the discharge round, but without opponents that is relatively boring, since it takes more than 1.5 minutes, until the driver passes again. The Qualifying by the way won Alonso.
After the Qualifying it became then also time for us to pic up our visitors again in Budapest at the Erzébet hid. We already learned to know Budapest city center in the last year with the heat and had already in advance the compassion. But on our way there we got a little impression what we could expect on Sunday. Traffic chaos!
In only a little bit more than one hour we made the approximately 10 km up to the Erzébet hid and than to drive finally on the motorway back towards Bratislava.
© Ulrich Hoffmann 2003