Canadian Grand PrixView

By on Thursday, June 6, 2013

After a two week break, Formula 1 heads to Montreal and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which hosts the universally popular Canadian Grand Prix. The proximity of the barriers, the threat of rain and an electric atmosphere contributes to make the race one of the fan favourites, as well as one where an upset can occur. But in 2013 the race may well be overshadowed by the news that Mercedes face an FIA international tribunal following their controversial tyre test with Pirelli last month.

Sebastian Vettel arrives in North America with a comfortable lead in the championship but Red Bull has yet to win a race in Montreal. The characteristics of the circuit has never played to the team’s strengths, although Vettel came close to winning in 2011. Mercedes arrive as the form team, after Nico Rosberg’s dominant performance in Monaco. Will they be able to secure a fifth successive pole position? Rosberg may well face a greater challenge from Lewis Hamilton, who has won three times in Montreal. But with the Brit admitting struggles with his brakes, will Rosberg continue to stamp his authority at a circuit notorious for braking prowess?

History

Mosport Park and Mont Tremblant hosted a few Formula 1 races before the series found a permanent home at the Ile Notre Dame in 1978. That race was won by home hero Gilles Villeneuve and the circuit was named after him following his death in 1982. But that race too was marred by tragedy as Riccardo Paletti was killed after striking the stalled car of Didier Pironi. The track was modified to its current layout in 1987 after the race was cancelled for a season following a sponsorship dispute. The remodelled layout has played host to some iconic moments in Formula 1 history: in 1991 leader Nigel Mansell’s Williams crawled to a halt on the final lap while four years later Jean Alesi claimed his only Grand Prix win, doing so in the Ferrari #27 that had been immortalised by Villeneuve. Gilles’s son Jacques never won in Montreal, but he was one of the victims of the ‘Wall of Champions’. Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill also crashed at the tricky final chicane, giving the corner its nickname. Jenson Button and Vettel have also fallen foul to the chicane in recent seasons. The 2007 event is remembered not only for Hamilton’s maiden win, but also Robert Kubica’s horrifying crash and Takuma Sato’s heroic run to sixth for Super Aguri. Kubica recovered from his accident and later secured his sole Grand Prix win at the circuit a year later. Two years ago, Button stormed from the back of the field to secure an astonishing win after a race that had been suspended due to heavy rain.

Facts and information

The circuit has been tweaked slightly since last season as grass on the exit of turn eight has been replaced by tarmac. There will be two DRS zones: the back straight and the start/finish straight. There will be only one activation point, which is located 110 metres after turn nine. The FIA driver steward for this race will be Martin Donnelly. On the driver front, Lewis Hamilton is the most successful active driver in Canada having taken three wins – and retired on the other two occasions. Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have each won the race once.

Timetable (Local time, GMT-4)

Friday 7th June

  • Practice One – 10:00
  • Practice Two – 14:00

Saturday 8th June

  • Practice Three – 10:00
  • Qualifying – 13:00

Sunday 9th June

  • Race – 14:00

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