Balaton Park Circuit, 2023

New £173m Formula 1-grade Balaton Park Circuit opens in Hungary

Formula 1

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A new racing circuit has opened in Hungary after four years of construction and over £173 million (€200m) in investment.

The Balaton Park Circuit is an anticlockwise, 16-turn course measuring 4.115 kilometres long with a width of 12 to 15 metres. It has been built to the FIA’s grade one specification – a standard which would allow it to host Formula 1 races – though the track operators have initially applied for a grade two licence.

The track is situation by Lake Balaton, 100 kilometres south-west of Budapest. Hungary’s round of the F1 world championship is held at the Hungaroring which lies to the north-east of the nation’s capital city. The track is contracted to remain on the F1 calendar until at least 2027.

Balaton Park features seating for 10,000 fans, with the potential to expand to 120,000. It has three paddocks and 48 garages.

The operators intend to enhance the facility by adding a four-star hotel with a view of the circuit next year, and add a car museum and other attractions.

Formula F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella was among the first to drive the new circuit.

“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.”

The circuit’s president is Chanoch Nissany, who made a one-off appearance in practice for Minardi at the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix. His son Roy races in Formula 2.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “New £173m Formula 1-grade Balaton Park Circuit opens in Hungary”

  1. Looks good, although personally I’d be a bit sad to see the Hungaroring go.

    1. I wouldn’t mind alternating between tracks, a year one, a year another, same for melbourne and adelaide.

  2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    16th May 2023, 10:59

    Is that the pits on the outside of the circuit? Not sure about spectator viewing. The question is why?

    Link to track website

    1. Yes.

      Mopeds, going by the use of gravel all around the circuit.

    2. So does Imola. Why not?

  3. I doubt Balaton Park Circuit would replace Hungaroring someday or even join simultaneously, but a decent-looking circuit, even if it seems a slight Hungaroring copy at parts, especially the chicane.

  4. Looks like a soulless waste of money.

    1. Well your glass is half-full isn’t it?

      1. It is what it is: A true field of dreams with all the lovely ambience of your average eastern European agricultural co-operative.

  5. Throwing numbers at my face like no other. Best but is « features seating for 10,000 fans, with the potential to expand to 120,000. »

    « It has 3 paddocks » who the eff needs 3 paddocks in the middle of nowhere ?

    1. If they ever intend to host sportscar races it could come in quite handy, as those fields are often pretty sizeable (even the WEC now has about 40 entries in regular races). Over at Spa-Francorchamps they had to park their trucks all over the facility. Building in a bit of spare capacity is a pretty solid idea.

      1. « if they ever… »

        200M€ !

  6. RandomMallard
    16th May 2023, 12:15

    Looks alright to me. They’ve missed a big trick though. If they really wanted it to meet F1 standards they should build a whole city around it and call it a street circuit. /s

    1. Why would you do that if you can make do with a cardboard marina?

      1. RandomMallard
        16th May 2023, 16:20

        Why leave it at a marina when you can make an ocean out of plywood? We could have the first ever Formula 1 Ocean Grand Prix, even in a landlocked country!

        Plus, if you get Aramco to sponsor it, they can cause the sea level to rise, eliminating the driver in last place every 5 laps!

        1. LOL! Don’t give Liberty ideas.

        2. I know this is a joke, but I seriously would like a track surrounded by water! We have melbourne, with albert part lake, but that’s surrounded by the track.

          1. Track surrounded by water? I give you…circuit Gilles Villeneuve!

    16th May 2023, 15:37

    What a dullsville race track. Just what fans need is another racetrack but the photos look kinda boring. So why bother??

  8. Why a completely flat track? Elevation changes make a circuit so much better. I’m tired of the flatness of so many tracks, most of them completely expendable.

    1. Same thoughts. Elevation changes and banked corners should have been amongst the features of this (or any new) track.

      My first impression was that it looks like Moscow Raceway.

  9. There are no fewer than three of those slow corner, tiny straight, another slow corner sequences here. Third gear stuff in F1. T1-T2 is like that, T9-T10, and T13-T15 as well. Even in slower cars that isn’t fun. At least one high speed corner sequence would have made this track more rounded and potentially interesting for some international series.

    On the plus side, the T5-T6 corner sequence puts a car overtaking on the inside of T5 on the outside of T6, and especially in cars that can race properly this could be a nice part of the track.

  10. The new Debrecen MotoGP circuit, yet to be opened, is also supposed to be grade 1. If the Hungaroring is to expect any competition for hosting F1, it will be at that track.

  11. Anon A. Mouse
    16th May 2023, 17:26

    The final turn into pit entry looks potentially unsafe to me. If the car ahead is staying out and the car behind is pitting, they’re working off of different braking points, if only by several meters. That aside it looks a little bland.

  12. This came a bit out of blue. Looks decent enough but if Liberty Media wants F1 to conquer America I want them to do a somekind of special event in Ukraine after the war has ended. It would make so much sense but sense and F1 doesn’t go hand in hand.

  13. Layout is quite boring. Also from the photos, it looks very flat. Not my cuppa.

  14. I have an opinion
    17th May 2023, 6:26

    Track has too much grip (yes, I went there, thanks Chanoch).

  15. Looks interesting , although Hungaroring has so many elevation changes.

  16. Looks very dull. Flat, long straights and combined with slow corners.

  17. Horrendous, so much money for this.

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