The F1 fraternity leaves Europe and heads to America for the seventh round of the championship. The Canadian Grand Prix welcomes us for the 48th time.
History of the Canadian GP
it became a part of the F1 calendar in 1967 when it was held at Mosport Circuit. Then the GP alternated between Mosport and Mont-Tremblant in Quebec due to the rivalry between French and English speakers. In 1971 it moved to Mosport again. In 1978, due to safety reasons, it was moved again. French speakers had decided the year before to build a circuit and they connected all the roads in Île de Notre-Dame in Montreal, where the 1967 Expo took place. Gilles Villeneuve took the debut victory and after his death in 1982, the track was renamed after him.
Accidents and Wall of Champions
The circuit is located on Île Notre-Dame, an artificial island in the St. Lawrence River, originally built for the Expo. It is known for having the walls very close to the track, such as the famous “Wall of Champions”, which is on the outside of the exit of the final chicane. Some of the most infamous crashes at the Wall of Champions comprise the ones of Alex Wurz and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997, Schumacher brothers, Jacques Villeneuve again and Damon Hill in 1999, Barrichello and Heidfeld in 2001, Jenson Button in 2005, Sebastian Vettel in 2011 and Bruno Senna in 2012.
June 10th, 2007 was one of the most critical days of this circuit: Robert Kubica had a serious accident in his BMW, when at more than 300 km/h he hit the back of Jarno Trulli’s Toyota. His car disintegrated and went from side to side of the track. The worst accident on the circuit, however, was on June 13th, 1982, when Riccardo Paletti was killed in a crash at the start of the race.
The track is 4.361 km long and 70 laps are done around it in every GP for a race distance of 305.27km. The lap record is held by Rubens Barrichello since 2004, with a 1:13.622min.
Local hero Jacques Villeneuve never won here. Michael Schumacher got 7 wins, Nelson Piquet 3 and Ayrton Senna won twice. About the current drivers, the actual first in the Championship, Nico Rosberg, has never won in Canada. Lewis Hamilton has 4 trophies in the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. The other F1 champions Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel have won once in Canadian soil.
A lap around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
The lap starts with one of the shortest straights on the calendar, even though the speed gets up to 300 km/h. There is a heavy braking at the end of the straight, to take the first corner to the left at third gear and 120 km/h. Right after, drivers fin a sharp turn 2, almost a hairpin, to the right, in which the speed is about 100 km/h. Then, they press the accelerator and increase speed until 250 km/h in a short and slightly curved straight before getting to the corner number 3 and 4; a fast chicane right-left, taken at fourth gear and at 180 km/h. Following comes a very long, fast and soft corner to the right to end sector 1.
Sector two starts with corner number 6 and 7, a medium speed left-right chicane which precedes a medium length straight where the cars get to 300 km/h again. We can see some overtaking manoeuvres at that point. The straight ends in yet another fast chicane formed by turns 8 and 9, first to the right and then to the left. Exiting the chicane, there is the first DRS detection point.
Full throttle before getting to the hairpin, where drivers slow down from 300 km/h to 100 km/h and sector three starts. This is the slowest point of the circuit and also one of the most exciting because we can see the drivers side by side at the exit of the corner before entering the final straight, the longest one. There are two slight corners in it, 11 to the left and 12 to the right but drivers don’t even brake to take them. DRS use is allowed here and takes the speed up to 320 km/h before the last chicane, a right-left one where the speed goes down to 130 km/h. Then, the second DRS activation point is located and it can be used on the main straight, before starting the lap again.
In words of last year’s race winner, Lewis Hamilton: “We’ve seen from these opening six races that anything’s possible and these swings inevitably go both ways. We are the greatest team - but we have more pressure from our rivals than ever before, so it’s important we keep pulling together and refining any weak areas.”
“I’ve proven that I’m just as strong as I’ve ever been and I will be for the rest of the year, so I’m looking forward to the next chapter. Montreal has always been a good track for me, so hopefully I’m able to shine like I did the first time I went there in that great city atmosphere.”
The tyre choice for Gilles Villeneuve circuit is on the ‘soft’ side - the ultrasoft, the supersoft and the soft - as they are best suited to the low-grip characteristics of the track.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport director, said about Canada’s circuit: “In Canada there’s the potential for some quite mixed weather conditions, as we also saw in Monaco, so this could make it a very complex race as has often been the case in the past.”
“The compounds that we have nominated mean that there is plenty of scope for strategy, on a circuit where it’s definitely possible to overtake on the track as well. The ultrasoft made its mark when it first appeared in Monaco but Canada is a very different type of circuit with more demands on tyres. This could lead to a number of different tactics coming into play, as evidenced from the tyre choices made by each team prior to the race.”
Practice 1 Fri 10 10:00 – 11:30
Practice 2 Fri 10 14:00 – 15:30
Practice 3 Sat 11 10:00 – 11:00
Qualifying Sat 11 13:00 – 14:00
Race Sun 12 14:00 – 16:00