The Cana­dian GP pre­view

Round 7 / 6-8 June / Cir­cuit Gilles-Vil­leneuve

F1 Racing - - FINISHING STRAIGHT - Pat Sy­monds,

A high-pres­sure, stop-start race where any hes­i­ta­tion can put a driver in the wall

The Cana­dian Grand Prix takes the For­mula 1 teams away from Europe once more af­ter only a cou­ple of races close to base. This time, they’re head­ing off to Mon­tréal on the East­ern side of Canada. Gone are the benets of be­ing within easy reach of the fac­tory, which have spoiled teams at the pre­vi­ous two races, mean­ing it is much harder to bring last-minute parts and xes to the track.

The cir­cuit at Mon­tréal is dom­i­nated by long straights and hard brak­ing events, which means its na­ture is very much stop-and-go. Good top speed is there­fore the key to suc­cess, as well as a good car un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion and trac­tion. This makes the race all about the en­gine and puts it un­der a fair amount of strain. The brakes are also placed un­der a lot of stress, and it’s im­por­tant to keep a close eye on both brake wear and tem­per­a­tures due to the num­ber and sever­ity of brak­ing zones at this track.

Al­though Mon­tréal’s cir­cuit was resur­faced only a few years ago, it re­mains very bumpy in parts and this can re­ally af­fect driv­ers un­der brak­ing. The en­try to the hair­pin at Turn 10 is one area where this is crit­i­cal, be­cause it forms one of the best ar­eas to ei­ther over­take, or to line up an over­tak­ing ma­noeu­vre for the fol­low­ing straight.

It is a tough cir­cuit for driv­ers; the am­ple over­tak­ing ar­eas mean that they can­not rest if there is a car close to them on track and they must be es­pe­cially care­ful about get­ting good ex­its onto the longer straights. The walls are very close to the track, and one in par­tic­u­lar, the Wall of Cham­pi­ons, has gath­ered more than its fair share of car­bon over the years. What’s more, to set a good lap, it’s nec­es­sary to re­ally ride the kerbs and be very good on the sharp changes of di­rec­tion, both of which are go­ing to push driv­ers closer to the lim­its of the their cars.

De­spite the bumpi­ness, the Tar­mac it­self is very smooth here, and that ex­plains Pirelli’s de­ci­sion to bring the same tyres to Mon­tréal as they did to Monaco (the su­per­soft and soft com­pounds). Strate­gies will be very vari­able from team to team, and, with an al­most con­stant threat of a Safety Car de­ploy­ment, they can vary be­tween one-stop strate­gies and three-stop strate­gies – some­times in the same race.

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