The end of W Series’ 2022 European tour also marks the beginning of the second half of the season. The sixth of 10 races – and the fourth and final one to be staged in Europe – this year takes place on Saturday at the Hungaroring, where Jamie Chadwick regained the championship lead exactly 12 months ago.
The reigning double champion has been on top spot in the W Series standings ever since then. It was at Hungaroring last season that Jamie took her fourth W Series race victory on her 10th start. The proceeding nine races have yielded two second-place finishes and seven straight wins. The latest of those came at Circuit Paul Ricard, France, last weekend, when the Briton pulled off two stunning overtakes on Beitske Visser on her way to victory.
That fifth win from five races gives Jamie a perfect 125 points so far this season and a 70-point lead over nearest challenger Abbi Pulling in the championship standings. At the halfway stage, the battle for second place is intensifying, as just 15 points separate Abbi and Emma Kimiläinen in seventh.
Emma is enjoying another strong season, finishing three of the five races inside the top five, including a first podium of the year at Silverstone earlier this month. Last season, the series’ oldest driver finished sixth in Budapest, where she enjoys strong support due to the special affinity that exists between Finland and Hungary. The two nations belong to the same linguistical family and share several cultural and historical ties.
This weekend, in support of the Formula 1 Aramco Magyar Nagydíj 2022 at the Hungaroring – which is approximately 24km (15 miles) north-east of the country’s capital city, Budapest – all 18 W Series drivers will be eager to start the second half of the season in style and go into F1’s traditional summer break in August on the back of a strong result.
Apart from this season’s five rookies and Abbi – who, in her role as reserve driver, did not take part in last year’s edition of the race – the other 12 drivers on the W Series grid all competed at the Hungaroring in 2021. Jamie claimed a lights-to-flag victory and was joined on the podium by Alice Powell and Nerea Martí. That was the latter’s maiden top-three W Series finish and two more have come since then, most recently in Le Castellet last weekend.
The Hungaroring hosted its first F1 Grand Prix in 1986 and has been the home of the Hungarian round every year since, making this the 37th World Championship race to be held there. It is 4.381 km (2.722 miles) long and notoriously difficult for overtaking, so a good qualifying position is imperative. The W Series drivers experienced extreme heat in south-eastern France last weekend and are set for more of the same here, with temperatures forecasted to exceed 30 degrees Celsius.
W Series’ schedule for this weekend starts on Friday 29 July with a 30-minute practice session at 11.50 (local time, CEST), followed by qualifying from 19.25 to 19.55 on the same day. The race starts at 14.40 on Saturday 30 July and will be 30 minutes plus one lap.
British fans can watch the sixth race of the 2022 W Series season live from the Hungaroring on Sky Sports F1, Sky Showcase, and Sky Sports Mix from 13.15 BST on Saturday 30 July, with qualifying live on Sky Sports F1 at 18.10 BST on Friday 29 July. Highlights of the race will be on Channel 4 at 14.00 BST on Sunday 31 July.
W Series’ practice session will be streamed live globally across our YouTube channel from 10:50 BST on Friday 29 July. The action can also be seen across W Series’ digital and social channels, as well as being broadcast in more than 175 territories, with a full list available here.
Dave Ryan (Racing Director, W Series) said:
“The Hungaroring is always an interesting place. It used to be a circuit that was very processional but that seems to have changed, and our drivers don’t tend to do processional races so I’m looking forward to it. Hungary has changed massively over the years, and it’s always a place I enjoy going to. I think it’s a circuit that will favour people who have been there a lot, but we’ll see. It’s nice having another race straight away having been in France last week, and that should make it easier for the drivers to settle into a rhythm quickly this weekend.”
Emma Kimiläinen (Puma W Series Team, 33, FIN) said:
“There is no home race for Finns in F1 so I guess this is as close as I get! Lots of Finnish fans have adopted the Hungarian Grand Prix as their own because it’s easy to fly direct from Finland, the track is close to the city, and there’s lots to enjoy in Budapest. The atmosphere at the Hungaroring is always great, hopefully there will be lots of Finnish flags around, and all of the W Series drivers will get good support.
“The Hungaroring is a physical track and the weather is forecast to be hot which can make things tricky with our cars and tyres. Last year, lots of us struggled with oversteer and it was difficult to overtake so qualifying high up is important if you want to get a good race result. It will be one of the toughest races of the season physically, especially for the young drivers who have jumped up from karts to Formula cars.
“It’s a different feeling this weekend compared to last weekend in France. I’d never been to Circuit Paul Ricard, that track is very technical, and lots of the corners are unusual with very late apexes where you needed to be patient. These cars are quite heavy, so when you drive into a corner it feels like you can carry more speed than you actually can. You need to be aware of it, but that only comes with fine-tuning through practice. I struggled in Hungary last year because I hadn’t been there before, but now I’m one step ahead because I know how it is and what I need to do. Last year, I honed my technique and my driving improved throughout the weekend, so I’m starting from that point now and hoping for a good race.”