Budapest is hosting the 11th round of the 2007 Formula-1 Championship this weekend. This will be the 22nd Hungarian F1 Grand Prix. This weekend’s events took off with a small parade in the city center. As you all know Red Bull is the main sponsor of the Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso teams. Red Bull on the other hand also sponsors the so called Red Bull Air Race. The idea of this air race came from a Hungarian pilot, Peter Besenyei. He has been world champion in stunt flying several times and probably he found it boring just to fly around, so he came up with the idea of this race. Besides pilots, we spectators enjoy it, too and downtown Budapest has been a traditional venue of the Air Race World Championship as well, on August 20th, every year.
So the point in the parade today was that we could see an F1 car and a stunt flight meeting up at the famous Chain Bridge in Budapest. Meeting up meant that Mr Besenyei flew through under (!) the bridge, while the Red Bull F1 car drove over it.
Besides this weird randez vous, there were several other interesting participants of this short parade today. Actually there was more action and more vehicles on the ground than in the air, but for us, airline world bloggers, the air stunts were more a bit more eye catching, even though we loved the cars as well. So besides the Edge 540 stunt plane of Besenyei, we saw the following cars: the Official safety car of the F1 Championships: a Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG, several participants of the Dakar rally (Hungarians and Red Bull associates), the current Red Bull Renault RB3 and Toro Rosso STR-02 F1 cars driven by Mark Webber and Vitantonio Liuzzi, and then came some historic F1 cars (McLaren MP4 from 1987 driven by Gerhard Berger, two old Tyrells from the early 1970’s and a red-and white 1971 Surtees).
As you may know Red Bull is an Austrian company and as Hungary is a neighbouring country, they tend to consider the Hungarian GP as their “closest to home” race each year. Gerhard Berger has always admitted that he loves Budapest and feels home over here, especially as when he was still racing, many of his home fans came to cheer him over here. Now he’s a team owner but still likes this event very much, that’s why accepted the invitation to drive an older F1 car on the streets of Budapest after so many years of not driving.
And here are the pictures: