Buoyed by a promising showing at the Hungaroring that hinted at genuine progress for the Renault R.S.16, the team is hopeful of maintaining that momentum at Hockenheim – the final race before the mandatory summer break. Located not far from Heidelberg, this circuit has a unique ambience: “It’s a fantastic track and the atmosphere is always awesome,” reflects Kevin Magnussen. “Turn One is very fast, and it’s a great way to start what is always an exciting opening lap.”
That lap concludes in a stadium section overlooked by impressive grandstands always filled to the brim. Jolyon Palmer is clearly a fan, even if he has not competed at Hockenheim particularly often: “Despite the changes to it over the years, the circuit still has a proper old-school feel to it, especially the arena section, which is very narrow and allows spectators to get really close to the action.”
A veritable temple of speed up until the late 1990s, the Hockenheimring was significantly modified and shortened in 2002 to bring it more into line with Formula 1’s increasingly efficient modern single-seaters. Now combining slow and fast corners with reasonably long straights, its layout continues to pose a formidable challenge for the cars – particularly on the engine side, with drivers exceeding 300kph on two separate occasions! Indeed, they cover almost 65 per cent of the lap at full throttle, and the Parabolika is one of the longest straights of the season with engines running at full load for more than 14 seconds – one of the longest periods of the year. Great care must be taken to avoid overheating, while the power unit’s cooling system is also adjusted accordingly. The subsequent four-week summer break will undoubtedly be a welcome relief after such a demanding weekend!