Hungary’s place on the Formula One calendar is secure in the long term, although the Hungaroring racetrack will need to be upgraded to secure a contract extention, Zsolt Gyulay, chief executive of Hungaroring Sport, the organiser of the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix, said on Friday.
Hungary is hosting its 37th F1 Grand Prix this weekend, and organisers are used to seeing the event generate a lot of interest, even though the coronavirus pandemic prevented it from going ahead at full capacity in the last two years, Gyulay told public media ahead of the start of free practice at the Hungaroring.
“There’s already a lot of interest, even on Friday,” Gyulay said. “We expect to see an 80 percent capacity crowd today and I think we can set a record attendance over the weekend.”
He said it had been a major challenge to get back to organising the race weekend at full capacity, and though Hungaroring Sport has only 25 full-time employees, there were some 3,500 people working to make sure that the event runs smoothly.
Concerning the future of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Gyulay said the Hungaroring’s spot on the F1 calendar is secure until 2027, adding that
talks had already been held on Friday morning on extending the current contract until 2032.
“The Hungarian Grand Prix is in a special position because there are few tracks in the world that have long-term contracts, and the intention is also there to extend them,” Gyulay said. “There’s a lot of interest in F1 from young people as well, the rights holders are also confident, but it’s also certain that the new contract will contain clauses that will require us to commit to an upgrade of the track.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix is safe until 2027, but unless the track undergoes an upgrade, the Hungaroring will not be able to host the race, even with a valid contract in place, he said. If Hungaroring Sport receives guarantees that it can commit to the upgrades soon, a new contract could be signed in the autumn, he added.