Preview Canadian Formula One Grand Prix
The next round of the Formula 1 season takes places in vibrant Montreal, with Daniel Ricciardo looking to convert his abundant potential and Lewis Hamilton aiming to continue his winning ways.
The first grand prix staged in Canada was during the 1967 World Championship, when a 90-lap race was held at Mosport, Ontario. It was later moved to its current location on a man-made island initially built for the World Fair and the first race at the track was won by Canadian hero Gilles Villeneuve in 1978. The circuit was renamed in his honour following his death in 1982.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is known for its fast straights, heavy braking, and high fuel consumption.
It is the first truly high speed race of the season. The cars will reach 350km/h (217mph) on the approach to Turn 13 and will exceed 300km/h (186mph) on four occasions around the lap.
But the demanding circuit punctures the blistering pace with tight, slow corners. In fact, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the toughest tracks of the year on the brakes with seven braking zones around the lap – all from high speed.
The corners to keep an eye on are Turn 1 and 2. The cars approach the left-hand Turn 1 and the 180 degree right-hand Turn 2 at high speed from the DRS zone so expect to see plenty of overtaking moves under braking.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso delivered a strong performance in his last outing at Monaco and will be searching for more points in Montreal.
“Canada is a great circuit – very demanding and requires absolute concentration at all times.”
“It goes from very slow-speed corners to high-speed corners really quickly, which means a lot of pressure is put on the brakes and power units.”
“It’s a pretty tough circuit on the cars generally, so reliability will be the first thing we need to focus on, to make sure there are no gremlins or technical issues that could jeopardise our performance.”
The Technical Director at Renault, Nick Chester, agrees with Alonso’s assessment.
“Montreal is mainly about braking and traction.”
“There’s a lot of heavy braking so you need to be on top of cooling for the brakes to ensure they don’t overheat and need a setup which has good stability under braking to give the driver confidence.”
“You also need strong traction out of the slow corners and good grunt to propel the car down the straights.”
While the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve places an emphasis on braking and speed, the drivers won’t be able to forget about their fuel consumption.
The track consumes about 1.8kg of fuel per lap meaning that fuel consumption and brake wear could become an issue for some teams towards the end of the race.
Can Red Bull Challenge Mercedes?
Red Bull has turned in consistent performances this year albeit in the shadows of Mercedes.
Sticking with Renault engines again this year, Red Bull secured a second place in Monaco and a win in Spain before that.
And it certainly appeared that the upgraded Renault engine – used in Monaco for the first time – delivered some gains with an extra 30bhp.
But Monaco requires excellent traction around slow corners and that is what set the Red Bull apart in that race.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has its share of slow corners but strong straight line speed is also required.
The Red Bull is still said to be about 20-30bhp behind Mercedes, so Hamilton and Rosberg will probably have the upper-hand in Canada. The challenge for them is to avoid any collisions on the hectic opening lap.
The race will start at 14:00 local time and will run over 70 laps.