Hungaroring - Grand Prix of Hungary 2003
One should do everything once in the life, this at least Tanja must have thought, because she surprised me with tickets for the Grand Prix of Hungary. Well, Budapest is to be reached from Bratilava in less than 2 hours and allegedly be supposed the tickets there still belong to the inexpensive ones.
OK, 180 Euro für ein weekend-ticket on the Brince-C-grandstand is not a special offer, but if one considers that a ticket costs already 160 euro only for the race on Sunday, then the decision for the weekend-ticket, particularly when the parking lot and on Thursday a visit of the pit lane is there already included, was already the correct choice. If one checks then, what the prices for tickets cost with other Formula One reces, then the Hungaroring is already nearly cheap (information at http://www.formel1.de ).
Since Tanja meant that we need to a Formula 1 race also at least suitable Caps, naturally she also procured them. One in blue (BMW) and one in Ferrari red. Probably she speculated in the fact that at least one of us has then a Cap of a winning team. At least the brothers Schumacher got in this way a few additional Euros.
Thursday, 21st of August
Thus we started towards Budapest on Thursday. At the border crossing, as usual, no problems and no traffic jam. Thus fast a Matriza (highway-ticket) for 4 days bought, a few Euro to Forinth exchanged and go ahead. The trip to Budapest, under more easily diffraction of the speed limiting of 130 km/h, with special consideration of the places where you can expect radar posts (restaurants, building sites and motorway-entrances) altogether only 2 hours lasted. It would have been faster, but there were 3 quite long building sites of approximately in each case 10 km length to be passed.
To this way everything ran completely well. Now it meant only to cross fast the city of Budapest. That is the big problem. Budapest has no Highway-ring around the city, who wants to change from the Highway M1 on the M3, because the Hungaroringof is located there, must cross the middle of the city.
Sure, the M3 is signposted however the city is closed with its building sites and rush-hour traffic. The roads are partial in a condition that one wishes oneself a to have a jeep. We asked ourselves several times whether we are still on the right way, because the roads, on which we moved, could be no thoroughfare to a motorway. I stopped even once at a gas station and asked for the way. The service-station attendant laughed and meant we are truthful correct and, 500 m behind the gas station already the next sign to the M3 appeared.
Afterwards it continued quite briskly. On the M3 one track was condition-purely closed and for use only only for VIP, FIA, owner of supergold tickets and members of the Paddock club. But no problem, on the normal tracks it preceded faster than on the "special track". From the exit to the Hungaroring it went then over narrow roads through tiny villages, which were noticeable particularly by the fact that many houses were new or freshly reconditioned and in front of nearly each house a sign with the label "room free". Who did not set up a pole for the sign, places his small children or the woman/girlfriend at the roadside.
The travel by the villages was nevertheless somehow rather strange. I do not believe that one might build a place for large events in another country in Europe, without having halfway reasonable access roads. Well, all the same! On Sunday only 200,000 visitors are expected. That means that between 50.000 and 100.000 cars will be on the way. Early rise is announced.
At the Hungaroring we were guided on a parking lot in the proximity of the main entrance. Car parked in the stout sun (36° Celsius in the shade) and made by the sand on the way. After 15 minutes foot march we were already we at the main entrance, together with few thousands of other visitors.From here we went on the home strech and from the end of the pit lane into these. Everything after the system of the one-way roads.
Here at the end of the pit lane it was still completely cosy. Minardi, Toyota and other small teams were only for their real fans of interest. A good opportunity to shoot a few photos. Nevertheless, one did not come very close to the pits, approximately 5-6 meters was locked and for visitors not accessible. I was nevertheless surprised somehow, how small the cars are in the reality. On the TV they look much larger and broader. That perhaps also comes along that the cars were to be seen here jacked up and without tires.
The further we came toward beginning of the pit lane, the crowd became closer. With BMW it became then rather loud, an engine ran was brought and briefly times on RPM. That was the first preview on what we had to expect during the race.
The crowding was completed still by the fact that occasionally a racing car was rolled by the quantity, i.e., all visitors had somehow to the side, but where, if no more place is there.
At the closest one it was then as expected with McLaren/Mercedes and with Ferrari. There was a guy animating the visitors also above the pits. Suddenly a call: "Hello Michael Schumacher!". Sure, it was not the world champion from the last year, it was a fan, that looked already rather similar to him however. A few girls, who let themselves be been deceptive by the similarity, started to scream.
Well the girls. I was not disappointed, the much-described celebrities like Katie Price I naturally not saw, but some the visitors had nevertheless obviously the necessary qualities.
As said, at the Ferrari pit there was hardly no coming through and that became strengthened by a few idiots , who meant they must move against the stream, not over the home strech line but on the way, on which they came. To my joy I stated later that the security did not let out anybody in the wrong direction, they sent them back, "thanks to the Security".
We did not make the way back then by the villages, I took the way for the VIP's and was simple really, after a few minutes we were on the M3 and on the way toward Budapest. Here again across the city tormented and on the M1 toward home.
Friday with first free training and that 1. Qualifying we could not visit, I had to work. Will be continued with Saturday and the 2nd Qualifying.
© Ulrich Hoffmann 2003