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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 25 - Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hungary Series at HungarianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hungarian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 25, Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix. In Hungarian, it’s called Formula–1 Magyar Nagydíj.
There’s a sporting event in Hungary that lasts nearly two hours and attracts more than a million fans to watch it on TV. It’s defined by screaming, horsepower-swelling, rocket-shaped racing cars running round and round a track at speeds too fast to comprehend. Yes, the topic of this lesson is the Formula-1 Hungarian Grand Prix, held every year in August. Stay with us and step on it!
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question -
Who was the first Central European F1 driver to sign for a full season to an F1 racing team?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
At the end of 1980, Bernie Ecclestone, the father of the Formula-1 car race, decided to organize an F1 Grand Prix in a socialist country behind the Iron Curtain, the Hungarian people still hadn’t had much exposure to F1. China, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia were picked out as possible candidates for the event, but in the end the choice fell on Hungary. In September 1985, an agreement making the organization of a Formula-1 Grand Prix possible in Hungary was signed. The Hungaroring F1 race track was built near Budapest, and it’s been host to the F1 Circuit every year since 1986.
In Hungary, August or augusztus, is usually the hottest and driest month of the year. It's no coincidence that when racers are interviewed about the Hungarian Grand Prix, their answer is typically just two words: hot, or forró, and dusty, or poros. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy racing on the Hungaroring. Despite a slow average speed compared to other tracks and the low number of overtaking opportunities, many drivers, including Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, cite Hungaroring as one of the best F1 tracks. The track, or útvonal, is also planned to be modified according to drivers' feedback from 2014.
The weekend of the Hungarian Grand Prix is always a time of great festivity. The roads of Budapest and its surrounding suburbs are full of visitors and rolling trucks transporting racing cars, the sight of which itself is so spectacular it attracts many onlookers. Of course this also causes huge traffic jams near and on the road to Hungaroring. All Hungarians know it's a better idea to choose a by-pass road if they’re not heading to the grand Prix. The four days of the race, or futam, attract more than 240,000 visitors to the event location, and 1 million fans on television.
The Hungarian Grand Prix is held in the town of Mogyoród, near Budapest. The race track was built in record time, less than a year, and it was unique among racetracks at that time because it was designed entirely by computer. The track is in a natural valley, so fans can see eighty percent of the strip from anywhere around the track.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Who was the first Central European F1 driver to sign for a full season to an F1 racing team?
The Hungarian racer’s name is Zsolt Baumgartner; he was the first and only Hungarian pilot in F1 history. He was a Formula-1 driver for one year and collected one point in the World Championship.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
Does your country host a Formula-1 Grand Prix?
Leave us your comments on HungarianPod101.com, and we'll see you in another series.