Potential Hungaroring rival? Hungary unveils new Formula 1-ready race track

Henry Valantine
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, racing the two Alpines. Hungary July 2022

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo racing the two Alpines. Hungary July 2022

A new track has been opened in Hungary with aspirations of hosting international events from next year, with the Balaton Park Circuit officially unveiled on Tuesday.

A four-year building process was coupled with approximately €200m [£173m] of investment into constructing the circuit, which has applied for an FIA Grade 2 licence initially to allow it to host sportscars and single seaters, but has been built in accordance with FIA Grade 1 specification.

If circuit bosses decide to pursue and are successful in obtaining a Grade 1 licence in future, the circuit would then become eligible to potentially host Formula 1, with Chanoch Nissany – father of Formula 2 driver Roy – running day-to-day operations as its president.

Balaton Park has a 16-corner anticlockwise layout across 4.115km [2.55mi], with six right-handers and 10 left-handers, with capacity for 10,000 people in permanent seating along with potential to increase it to hold up to 120,000 with temporary grandstands, if necessary.

The significant investment in the circuit in Hungary, situated 85km south west of Budapest, includes the construction of a large four-star hotel on site and museum.

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Former Formula 1 stalwart Giancarlo Fisichella was on hand to unveil the circuit at a launch event in Hungary on Tuesday, and he was impressed with what he saw.

“Driving Balaton Park Circuit for the first time, I was impressed by its character,” he said.

“The track really has it all – a thrilling blend of high-speed corners, challenging hairpins and cool chicanes. It’s a track that flows nicely, giving you a great racing feeling.

“The first corner and the end of the back straight are prime spots for overtakes. All in all, Balaton Park is a treat to drive.”

Circuit designer Ferenc Gulacsi added: “I designed the course with three aspects in mind: safety, challenge for the competitors and sustainability.

“I am glad we arrived at this point today, that the track is ready for use. The first flag can be waved.”

Porsche will host the circuit’s first ever event with its two-week Porsche on Track programme as part of its celebrations for the brand’s 75th anniversary, with Balaton Park hoping to host international events at the all-new circuit in Hungary from 2024.