Hungary is a potential candidate to host a MotoGP race from 2022, when the current calendar expands to 22 races. Over the summer, Dorna signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hungarian government to host a race for five years, between 2022 and 2026, at a new circuit to be built in the country.
The memorandum of understanding is just the first step on a long and tricky road to actually organizing a race. The project is part of a wider set of plans laid out by the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology, to encourage technology industries in the country. There is as yet no circuit, nor a promoter to organize the race.
The press release from Dorna encompasses that conditionality. The race will only happen if a contract with a promoter is signed before the end of February next year. And the race will need a circuit to be built to MotoGP circuits and homologated by the FIM. A lot still needs to happen before a Hungarian round of MotoGP actually takes place.
There is a precedent for this, of course. In 2008, work started on the Balatonring, a circuit to be built near the eponymous Lake Balaton, 160km southwest of the Hungarian capital Budapest. That project collapsed when the Spanish investors behind it were caught up in the global financial crisis of 2008, which proved catastrophic for the Spanish real estate and construction sectors. The Balatonring was never completed, though the outlines of the track are still visible.
The 2009 race was canceled, and any idea of a Hungarian race called off in 2010. Instead, MotoGP went to the Motorland Aragon circuit near Alcañiz in Aragon, Spain, a venue which has been on the calendar ever since.
If the proposed Hungarian round of MotoGP falls through, that will not pose a problem for Dorna's intention of expanding the calendar to 22 races. Mandalika in Indonesia hopes to join the calendar in 2021, and tracks in Brazil and Vietnam are also vying to host a MotoGP race. Dorna is in talks with circuits in Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. And with at least one MotoGP race in Spain to be dropped, those circuits would be happy to remain on the calendar if another circuit dropped out.
The press release announcing the proposed Hungarian round of MotoGP appears below:
Hungary could join the MotoGP™ calendar from 2022
A Memorandum of Understanding lays the foundations for a new country to join the calendar
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Dorna Sports is delighted to announce the signing of a preliminary agreement to bring Hungary onto the MotoGP™ calendar from 2022. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Hungarian government and Dorna Sports that would see five Grands Prix raced in the nation, from 2022 to 2026, subject to the Promoter’s Contract being signed before the end of February 2020.
Hungary has previously hosted World Championship Grand Prix Racing and has a passion for motorsport, as well as a tradition of competition on both two and four wheels, including Hungarian 125cc Grand Prix World Champion Gabor Talmacsi in 2007. The host venue for the Grand Prix event will be a new circuit, likely in the east of the country.
László Palkovics, Minister for Innovation and Technology, recently presented plans to the Hungarian Parliament and a final decision on the location for the new event and venue is expected early in 2020.
László Palkovics, Minister for Innovation and Technology: "I am very happy to announce MotoGP is set to return to Hungary. Soon, a strategy for the development of Hungarian motorsports will be submitted to the government; this strategy will include numerous objectives and measures, and – in addition to success in the sport and its impact on tourism – it is also needed because the industry has a dominant impact on the success of the Hungarian economy. The key areas of intervention are the development of Hungaroring and the domestic sports infrastructure, in which a new circuit and MotoGP event will play a key role.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: "I am very proud to be able to announce negotiations for another addition to the future MotoGP calendar and continue to see our sport grow and develop across the world. A new race – and circuit – in Hungary is an exciting prospect for us all and brings MotoGP back to a country with a great tradition in racing in which we're excited to see MotoGP play a key role going forward."