Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes. I am completely healthy now (apart from a minor cold - and not only does half my call centre has a cold, but I'm finding this one a breeze to work with) and I feel fit enough to tackle anything short of a half-marathon (my next one's not for another 2 months
John, I've never been to Barcelona or Spa, so I can't fairly compare either to Hungary. I have been to Silverstone, and consider Hungary to compare favourably... ...provided one is not trying to entertain small children, or some sort of snowman. General admission views are arguably better at the Hungaroring than Silverstone, though disappointingly it's not possible to walk the whole way round the track (the areas around Turns 3 and 4 are closed to all spectators, so anyone wishing to give Turn 4 the finger for giving Felipe so much pain in 2009 will need binoculars and Bronze grandstand tickets - those being the ones overlooking Turns 5 and 6 and thus having sight of Turn 4).
You WILL need more water than you think for Hungary. Expect to fill the 0.5 litre bottle you're allowed to take through security at least 8 times over the course of the day, and make sure you a) stow an extra litre in a locker for the walk back to the train, b) buy a big bottle of water from the shop just outside the track (it's the equivalent of 85 p for 1.5 litres) or c) use a non-train option such as the free F1 bus, your own car or one of the three taxi companies licensed to use "Bernie Avenue". I know the track also officially recommends cycling as an alternative to any of the above, but unless you are part camel I would leave that to daring, super-fit locals!
Most things (except mineral water and F1 merchandise) are much cheaper at the Hungaroring than Silverstone, and the bag allowance is more generous. Both technically only allow 20-litre bags, but my 35-litre bag was allowed into the Hungaroring once the guards saw I hadn't packed it with more than 20 litres worth of items, whereas I believe Silverstone can and will refuse entry for a bag that size in the first place. Also, the Hungaroring, unlike Silverstone, has lockers you can put things you want for the journey back in.
Travel to the Hungaroring is easier than Silverstone, especially as there is a free "F1 bus" going from one of the Metro stations to the bottom of the Hungaroring hill. They were popular but enough buses were available for the demand.
Downside for Hungaroring is that the F1 Zone, which is terribly noisy and crowded at lunchtime in particular, is in the way of all the seating areas. At Silverstone, you'd have the option of walking the other way to bypass it if you wanted.
The fans were awesome and used to trying to communicate with people with effectively no common language. Lots of Poles, Finns, Swedes, Danes and Dutch people, as well as the obvious Hungarians and Czech fans. However, you may struggle to find them in the city itself as a lot of the people staying in the city aren't there for the race (I was literally the only person in my hostel who was there for the Grand Prix - and it was a cheap, well-kept one on the Pest side of the river). You don't find as many Western European fans as elsewhere, if this matters to you, though there is a significant British contingent and even some adventurous Aussies.
Commentary is about 1/3 English and 2/3 Hungarian, largely because it takes almost twice as long to say most things in Hungarian as English. The English commentator was comically pro-Hamilton, quite audible unless a swarm of cars was coming past, and often did roll-calls of nations present at the race when nothing more interesting was happening.
There are a lot of "lulls" in the action. Use strategically for hiding in the beer tent (surprisingly, actually buying a drink is not compulsory for use of the tent unless one wishes to sit down, and if that specific tent is not busy, nobody will complain if you sit down with a eau de portaloo sink). The food looks expensive compared to town, but at £6-£10 for a full meal's worth of food, and £3-£5 for an ice cream or other snack item, it's still far cheaper than Silverstone. Food quality was uniformly good, but my personal recommendation is the savory waffle shop, which did a waffle ham-and-salad sandwich for £6.50 that made for a good, substantial lunch. Two of the three servers there speak English and constantly make jokes about the other one to English-speaking customers.
The trip as a whole was a good experience for me. However, I spoke to my parents and my race-shortening "problem" was worse than I thought it was.
Turns out the fuller version was:
On lap 38 of the Hungarian Grand Prix, I got heatstroke. Ambulance people went over to me (as you'd expect) and tried to get me to respond. I didn't respond (too busy trying to get water, which I didn't realise I could no longer get thanks to the heatstroke). Ambulance people look through my stuff to check what might be the reason for this, and phone my ICE number (thankfully pre-set to my parents' number) to tell them, quote, "Do you know Alianora La Canta? She is going to the hospital in Hungary".
They found my autism alert pack... ...and decided the best way to respond was to stuff me with muscle relaxant to treat the autism. (Hint: for anyone wondering, this is not a recognised treatment for any form of heatstroke). They then proceed to cart me off to psychiatric hospital. Because anyone with autism who faints must obviously need their autism treating instead of their heatstroke!
My parents get this message, attempt to call me back and fail because for some reason the phone got switched off. They spend 2 days attempting to locate where I might have been taken, eventually having to enlist the help of the British Consulate.
Meanwhile, I am continuing to receive muscle relaxant - lots of it - in hospital. As well as nutrition via IV and a 2-person ward which was at least nice, cool, safe and containing enough fluids. In other words, my actual problem was being treated by coincidence.
2 days after my collapse, the Consulate got back to my parents reporting that none of the major hospitals in Budapest had me. My parents assumed I'd been kidnapped and tried to ring me again. Still no answer. A day later, the Consulate finally managed to find me via a private ambulance agency contracted by the circuit - apparently Budapest's main psychiatric facility does not count as a major hospital. Another hour of calls later, my parents give up trying to contact someone in the hospital as it is always picked up by someone who does not speak English, or passed over to me (who could not pick up the phone due to the muscle relaxant).
Finally, the Consulate locates the one doctor who can string English sentences together and connects him with my extremely stressed parents. The doctor asks who is accompanying me. Dad answers, perplexed, "Nobody, of course, she's visited Budapest by herself before and is quite independent". Apparently the doctor was astonished that autistic people could go on holiday alone in the first place, let alone that one such person was in his very hospital. My parents gave him a "bit of an education"...
Dad demanded to speak to me, and on being asked what I was being fed, I apparently told him I couldn't lift my arms to eat. After some queries regarding treatment, Dad insisted I be taken off the muscle relaxants immediately and just be left to recover, peacefully, with some good food, for 48 hours.
The doctor was slightly surprised when, 48 hours and lots of tasty goulash later, I was ready to leave hospital to spend the next 2 1/2 days traversing Europe to go back home. Oblivious to the misdiagnosis and not remembering anything from the time I was full of relaxant, I thanked the English-speaking doctor for treating my heatstroke "which must have been bad for me to need 5 days' treatment, but thankfully I was in the good care of this hospital".
In conclusion: I've decided I need to write a book about this, so people understand why people like me decide to travel across half of Europe with their autism to cheer on teams that go into administration shortly after my arrival and try to stay cool in baking heat