Race Preview: Canada

About the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
History: This weekend will mark the 39th running of the Canadian Grand Prix, with 29 taking place at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. In its history, the race has also been staged at Mosport Park and Mont Tremblant. The complex on Notre Dame island, where the non-permanent race track is located, was the site of the 1967 World Expo and hosted the 1976 Olympic Games. The Formula One paddock runs along the side of the former rowing basin.
Track Length: 2.709 miles/ 4.361 kilometers
Race Distance: 70 Laps
Number of Turns: 12 (7 right, 5 left)
Seating Capacity: Approx. 100,000 spectators
Number of Grand Prix's Hosted: 29
Fastest Lap: 1:13.622 set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004
2006 Polesitter: Fernando Alonso
2006 Podium: Fernando Alonso (winner), Michael Schumacher (2nd), Kimi Raikkonen (3rd)
Championship Standings: Click here

What happened in 2006?
After two year's of failures and retirements on the 2.709 mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Fernando Alonso was able to break Renault's Montreal jinx by winning his first Canadian Grand Prix in part because of the pit road mistakes made by Kimi Raikkonen's Team McLaren Mercedes.
  • For complete results, click here
  • For a complete recap of last year's event, click here

For the second consecutive race, there are concrete walls close by and mistakes can be very costly: the so-called 'World Champions' wall has ended many driver`s laps within sight of the finish line as they exit the quick final chicane.

The overriding character of the circuit is hard braking into slow first and second gear chicanes and hairpins, which make it the most testing circuit of the year for brakes. Other considerations for the set-up are based around the traction because you've got quite a high maximum speed, and a low minimum speed, so there's a lot of braking and a lot of accelerating in first, second and third gears from the chicanes. You end up with a set-up that's obviously biased towards stability under braking, but usually that gives you some understeer, so it's a trade-off between those two for the best set-up.

What they are Saying
"The Canadian Grand Prix is a very different event to the Monaco race. We go from the slowest, tightest track packed with corners on the calendar to a circuit that is all about long periods of power and braking. The MP4-22 performed incredibly well in Monte Carlo, however as the track conditions are poles apart, we are not going to Montreal with the same expectations. We go to Canada aiming to fight for the victory and to maintain our positions at the top of both the Constructors' and Drivers' Championships; however are realistic about the potential to dominate. The test at Paul Ricard prior to Monaco had two days of Canada running and useful intelligence was gained. It is going to be a tougher battle and the track is notoriously tough on race cars, but we will keep pushing."
--Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

"I have never driven a Ferrari in Montreal or at Indy; so I really can't know how it will work on these two tracks, but I know that traditionally the Scuderia is very strong here; that is a real encouragement. I'm sure that we will not be a minute behind McLaren, as it was the case in Monaco. I won in Montreal two years ago. I like the city, it's one of the nicest of the whole calendar. The track distinguishes itself by sectors with fierce acceleration and braking actions; you need to find the right balance between aerodynamic charge, which has to be quite low, and stability during braking."
--Kimi Raikkonen, driver of the No. 6 F2007 for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

"Like most drivers, I really like traveling over to Montreal. The race circuit occupies an incredibly beautiful location on the island in the St Lawrence river, which makes for an unmistakable atmosphere. And the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve itself has a very special character. It is a high-speed track with long straights, but also some tight chicanes and a couple of slow corners. To start with, the asphalt always has very little grip. When the track starts to get really grippy and the car is working perfectly, though, you can run hard over the curbs in the second chicane. This chicane also goes downhill, and you get seriously close to the wall on the exit."
--Nick Heidfeld, driver of the No. 9 F1.07 for BMW Sauber

"In general, when I am preparing for a race on a circuit I don't know, I try and get the onboard camera images from previous seasons so I can see what the track looks like from the cockpit, understand the racing line and work out things like braking points, and which kerbs you can use. Then, on Thursday, I do a lap of the circuit on foot with my engineers, and along with the data from previous years, we do a kind of inspection, talking about each corner. Then on Friday, we really get down to work, and I can begin to see if my preparation has worked out. I hope it pays off this weekend."
--Heikki Kovalainen, driver of the No. 4 R27 for ING Renault F1 Team

"I always look forward to the Canadian Grand Prix because Montreal is such a great place to hold a race, with a beautiful city and lively atmosphere. I find it an enjoyable place to be and I have a good record in the race - I won in 2001 and was second in 2003. The circuit itself is one of the best of the season. It is technically challenging as it has long straights followed by heavy braking, which really takes it out of the car. But the team has taken this into account and we have made changes for this race, with a totally different aero package compared to Monaco. Obviously Monaco was a bad weekend for the team but we are working hard on the issues we had there and I hope we'll see an improvement in Canada."
--Ralf Schumacher, driver of the No. 11 TF107 for Panasonic Toyota Racing

"It is a big challenge for the teams as the brakes suffer a lot. There's a lot of heat generated and because of this we can also expect high temperatures in the tyres. Similar to Monte Carlo, being more or less a street circuit, Montreal is not used many times so it’s very dusty and very slippery, which is why we've opted for the soft and super soft compounds. It will be a bit of a challenge to make the tyres survive on this track, especially at the beginning of the weekend with the high speeds and the expected high temperatures."
--Kees van de Grint, Head of Track Engineering Operations for Bridgestone Motorsport

Schedule of Events
Friday, June 8
  • Practice 1: 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. (ET)
  • Practice 2: 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. (ET)

Saturday, June 9
  • Practice 3: 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. (ET)
  • Qualifying: 1:00 p.m. (ET)

Sunday, June 10
  • Race: 1:00 p.m. (ET)

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