Smolyar FIA F3 2022

F3 drivers on Hungaroring heat: ‘It’s not easy for any of us’

Alexander Smolyar set a blistering lap to top Qualifying for Round 6 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship, taking a second F3 pole position at the circuit after doing so in 2020. But the temperatures in Mogyoród were also blistering on Friday, with the mercury reaching as high as 34 degrees Celsius during the qualifying session.

By Michael McClure

Conditions had long been forecast to be hot this weekend, with Thursday and Friday of the weekend looking particularly sweltering. Rainstorms are scheduled to arrive on Saturday to bring cooler weather. In the paddock on Friday, drivers, mechanics, team personnel and visitors alike perched themselves in front of cooling fans and savoured the air conditioning indoors between sessions, searching for any opportunity to cool off in the hot, muggy conditions of the afternoon.

Heat stresses the tyres

Prema’s Ollie Bearman, who finished Qualifying third, had a frustrating session in which he was unable to start his final timed lap after encountering traffic. In the post-Qualifying press conference, Bearman described the weather as ‘really, really hot’ and emphasised the strain that the conditions put on his tyres.

“On the track, the tyres are overheating much easier. It’s a bit more difficult for us as the drivers. To be honest, when you’re driving, there’s a lot of fresh air so it’s not so difficult, but especially when you stop in the box, you feel a bit warm,” he explained.

On the track, the tyres are overheating much easier. It’s a bit more difficult for us as the drivers

Ollie Bearman

MP Motorsport’s Smolyar said he didn’t pay much attention to the heat while on the circuit.

“When you drive, you don’t actually think about it. So I don’t think there is really a difference, I don’t feel a difference when I drive,” Smolyar said. “If you stay on the grid, in the pit lane, it’s a bit warm, but I think we’re all used to this.”

Tough conditions for the mechanics

With both Free Practice and Qualifying taking place Friday, the mechanics in the F3 paddock had a long day that began well before F3 practice started at 9:30 in the morning and ended as the sun set around 8:30 in the evening. For much of that period, temperatures lingered above 30 degrees. In these circumstances, teams were especially grateful for their fans – and not the flag-waving, autograph-craving kind of fans.

“It’s been tough. Even off the track, inside the truck, it gets a bit warm. The mechanics are feeling it as well, so it’s not easy for any of us,” Bearman said. “I think it’ll rain [Saturday], which is probably going to be quite welcomed among us, but yeah, another hot day on Sunday.”

Off the track, being in the tent, in the truck, I feel bad for the mechanics working in the tent all day

Alex Smolyar

“Off the track, being in the tent, in the truck, I feel bad for the mechanics working in the tent all day. But we have a/c in the truck, so it doesn’t feel too bad,” Smolyar said.

The air conditioning in the teams’ trucks and elsewhere cut out at times because of intermittent power outages in the paddock, which began Thursday and recurred Friday. Though the interruptions were brief, they made a sticky situation even more unpleasant for all involved.

Maloney emphasises hydration

Second-placed Zane Maloney wasn’t suffering so much with the high temperatures. The Trident driver hails from the Caribbean island of Barbados, which has a tropical climate with an average high of 30 degrees Celsius across the year.

“It’s not so bad because I’m used to it being from Barbados. So for me, it’s okay, but of course for all the mechanics … it’s been very tough,” Maloney said.

It’s not so bad because I’m used to it being from Barbados

Zane Maloney

In such hot conditions, drivers are likely to sweat more in the car, making them lose even more weight than they normally would. The rain may ease that, but hot temperatures and a technical and physical track like the Hungaroring combine for a devilish physical challenge.

“We’re going to be lose a lot of weight during the race, but it’s the same for everyone. We just need to hydrate and prepare for tomorrow.”

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd


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