Posted on June 17, 2013


The Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal is in discussions with Bernie Ecclestone’s company about a new contract to retain the race for 10 years, according to a Reuters report today. And the news highlights the push by F1′s commercial rights holder, backed by CVC Capital Partners to secure long term contracts with host venues. Although CVC’s senior partner Donald McKenzie said recently that the proposed floatation of F1 may need to be postponed once again to 2014, getting a full calendar of events on long term contracts is a key component of the sale; circuit hosting fees are at around More…

Posted on June 10, 2013


McLaren’s Jenson Button said he has “never been so pleased to get out of a car” after he finished a lowly 12th in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, once place behind his team-mate Sergio Perez. The result ended McLaren’s impressive 64-race streak in the points and highlighted their current plight. The team are sixth in the constructors’ championship, 164 points behind leaders Red Bull while neither Button or Perez has come close to scoring a podium. Button, the 2009 world champion, tried a one-stop strategy in Montreal, while his team-mate Sergio Perez did two stops, however both drivers struggled and finished just three More…

Posted on June 10, 2013


The Montreal weekend was a positive one for Jean Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso’s young driver, who secured sixth place in the race, a personal best for him and the team’s best result since Sebastian Vettel’s win in Italy 2008. What is most pleasing for Vergne is that it was the result of a complete weekend, where he put it all together from start to finish, including qualifying, starting seventh on the grid. It is surprising how rarely that happens, the complete weekend. “We shouldn’t get carried away with sixth place,” said the Parisian, “The road is still long. But I’m More…

Posted on June 10, 2013


Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to win three times in 2013 with victory in the Canadian Grand Prix to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso limited his losses in Vettel, finishing second after starting sixth on the grid, while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took his third podium of the season in third. Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne scored his best ever finish in sixth while Force India’s Paul di Resta and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa produced an impressive recovery drives from the rear of the grid to finish in the points – but who was your More…

Posted on June 9, 2013


Sebastian Vettel produced an almost faultless drive to claim a lights to flag victory at the Canadian Grand Prix and extend his World Championship lead over Fernando Alonso, who came home second ahead of Lewis Hamilton. But the day was marked with tragedy as a 38 year old marshal was killed while recovering the damaged car of Esteban Gutierrez. He was hit by a mobile crane and died of head injuries. He made a small mistake into Turn One on Lap 52, running down the escape road and losing four seconds in the process, but it was the only time More…

Posted on June 8, 2013


Sebastian Vettel was able to master the difficult conditions at an overcast and wet Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, taking pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, beating Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second. But the undoubted star of qualifying was 23 year old Finn Valtteri Bottas. Bottas was among the front runners throughout all three parts of qualifying, but saved his best for last with a stunning performance in Q3 to leave some big names trailing in his wake. Meanwhile McLaren, which has owned this Montreal circuit for the past three seasons, had a poor session with Sergio Perez More…

Posted on June 7, 2013


Fernando Alonso has bounced back from a below par performance at the Monaco Grand Prix to head the Formula One field in Free Practice around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean. The Ferrari driver set the fastest lap in a qualifying simulation on the supersoft tyre and also put in a strong long run performance with fast, consistent laps. But Red Bull also looked consistent on the long runs and Mercedes looked strong on single lap pace again. Following heavy rain overnight much of Free Practice 1 was run in wet conditions, with More…

Posted on June 4, 2013


Six years ago, Robert Kubica had a huge accident at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, crashing into a wall at 180mph while trying to overtake Jarno Trulli in the Canadian Grand Prix. Incredibly, the Pole escaped serious injury, emerging with only a slight concussion and a sprained ankle, thanks to the work of the FIA to improve safety standards in Formula 1. The sport’s approach to safety has changed dramatically since the death of Ayrton Senna in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix with the FIA’s crash tests for Formula 1 cars becoming more and more stringent. The FIA’s technical delegate Jo More…

Posted on May 22, 2013


Fans will get a special insight into the world of Formula 1 when Canadian Grand Prix organisers host an “Open House” at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve next month. The free initiative, which takes place on Thursday June 6, will allow fans to spend up time exploring the pit lane and getting a good view of the teams working on the cars before the race on Sunday June 9. Fans will also get the chance to speak to team members. While at the venue, visitors will gets to see the trophies – designed locally by the BRP Innovation and Design team More…

Posted on June 10, 2012


Lewis Hamilton became the seventh different winner in seven Grands Prix this season with a cool headed drive on a day of strategy gambles. It was his third Canadian Grand Prix win and the 18th of his career. It gave him the lead in the drivers’ championship by two points over Alonso and three points over Vettel. It was McLaren’s 13th win in Canada. The victory was built on a two stop strategy which proved the right one, although it gave some nervous moments after his second stop, when it became clear that main rivals Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel More…

Posted on June 9, 2012


Sebastian Vettel gave himself the best chance of becoming the first driver to win a second race in 2012, by taking pole by 3/10ths of a second from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. If he could do it, it would be the first win for Red Bull in Canada, which has been something of a bogey circuit for the team. Vettel made a mistake on the last lap in 2011, losing the win to Jenson Button. It was Vettel’s second pole in a row in Canada and the 32nd of his career in just 88 Grands Prix. It was Vettel’s More…

Posted on June 7, 2012


McLaren’s MP4-27 retains the underlying pace that it showed right at the start of the season, according to the team’s managing director Jonathan Neale, who believes both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will be contention to win this weekend if the team cracks the Pirelli tyre conundrum around the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve. From suggestions that the Woking outfit could dominate the opening phase of the year following a one-three at the Australia season-opener, the team heads into this weekend’s Montreal race looking to bounce back from a series of races when a combination of operational mistakes and disappointing race More…

Posted on June 4, 2012


Organisers of the Canadian Grand Prix have cancelled the traditional open pit walk for fans on Thursday morning at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the wake of threats of protests over the race weekend. The province of Quebec, in which the largest city is Montreal, has been gripped by student protests against a planned tuition fee hike since February and on Saturday street demonstrations in the region took place for the 40th consecutive day. More than 2,500 people have been arrested since the onset of protests with tensions having risen further recently following the government’s passing of a law aimed More…

Posted on June 14, 2011

The Strategy Report

By common consent, the Canadian Grand Prix this year was an absolute classic. It had everything; great racing, safety cars, rain, collisions and some very tight strategy calls, often with little data with which to work. The strategists were really tested on Sunday and it made for a fascinating race. Jenson Button won despite a drive through penalty, five pits stops, two collisions and a whole lap with a puncture. Even more incredible is to look at it like this; in the 70 lap race there were only 38 racing laps in total. The other 32 were safety car laps. More…

Posted on June 12, 2011


Jenson Button won an astonishing Canadian Grand Prix with a last lap pass on Sebastian Vettel, who made a mistake when leading. After two high pressure finishes in Spain and Monaco where he held on, Vettel made a mistake under pressure this time and you could tell that it hurt him. He extended his championship lead to 60 points, with Button moving into second place in the table, but it was scant consolation; everything has been going right for Vettel so far this year, but today he came unstuck. It was Button’s 10th career victory and his first since China More…

Posted on June 11, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his sixth pole in seven races and the 21st of his career at the Canadian Grand Prix. It was a close session with the Ferraris looking very competitive with Alonso and Massa right on Vettel’s tail. Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull having lost the morning practice session to a KERS problem and it was not overcome before qualifying. So for him to be only 4/10ths off Vettel’s pace which is probably slightly less than KERS is worth, is a positive outcome for the Australian. The McLarens were not as competitive as expected with Lewis Hamilton More…

Posted on June 10, 2011


The first day of practice for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix saw four drivers hit the walls and a spate of Red Flag stoppages. In morning practice world champion Sebastian Vettel had a big impact with the “wall of champions” on the outside of the final corner, badly damaging the right side of his car. This wall has claimed Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill and Jenson Button among others over the years. Then in the 90 minute afternoon session Adrian Sutil hit the wall, breaking his left front suspension and then Kamui Kobayashi and Jerome D’Ambrosio both went in hard More…

Posted on June 16, 2010


The Canadian Grand Prix was the most exciting race of the season, but also one of the most interesting tactically. There were some important decisions to be made in qualifying which affected the way teams tackled the first part of the race, but there were also big decisions to be taken during the race, reacting to events. It was clear from Friday practice that the tyres were going to be a big problem in Montreal. They grained very badly and the rears were degrading very quickly. Drivers found that once they started to go, the performance dropped very quickly. There More…

Posted on June 13, 2010


The Canadian Grand Prix was easily the most entertaining dry race of the season so far with plenty of great overtaking and lots of drama. At the heart of it were some hard fought duels – Alonso vs Hamilton, Alonso vs Button, Liuzzi vs Massa, Schumacher vs Buemi, the list is endless. It was the kind of race you would show to someone who contends that F1 isn’t exciting any more or that the new rules have made it processional. It’s hard to believe that this is the same season which started with everyone slashing their wrists about the new More…

Posted on June 13, 2010


Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix, the most exciting race of the season so far. He led home team mate Jenson Button in McLaren’s third 1-2 finish of the season. Hamilton now leads the drivers’ championship, the fifth different driver to do so this season and McLaren head the constructors’. Fernando Alonso finished third for Ferrari but felt he would have won but for problems with slower cars. It was Hamilton’s second win in three visits to Montreal, ” I don’t know why I go well here, ” he said. “For me this is one of the best races More…

Posted on June 12, 2010


This weekend we are back in Canada after a one year absence. The track is quite different in character from the circuits we have visited so far this season and it is an interesting indication of how the cars perform in a lower downforce configuration.

Montreal is based on a series of chicanes and long straights without a fast corner to its name. As a result the cars run the second lowest level of downforce of the season, after Monza.


To illustrate the difference in detail, take a look at this drawing of the Renault front wing from Turkey and compare it with the photograph of the wing as they have brought it here.

For Montreal they have lost the small upper winglet elements because they don’t need the extra downforce they bring and they don’t want the drag. The wing keeps the same basic philosophy, particularly with the elegant multiple channels on the endplate but it is a good illustration of the differences between a track like Istanbul and a track like Montreal.

It is noticeable, talking to engineers from other teams, how Renault seems to be making small but confident steps at every race. In Istanbul the car was faster than the Ferrari and this seems to be a team on the move. If Mercedes back off on development in the second half of the season, as has been suggested, then Renault may well finish ahead of them in the championship. After their humiliations last year both on track and over the Singapore crash scandal, Renault is an increasingly confident team.

A real brake killer
One of the problems with reducing the downforce on the cars is that the drag effect is not available to the cars when it comes to braking. Montreal is easily the hardest circuit on the calendar on brakes in terms of big, punishing stops. Monaco can be very hard on brakes because they are in use all the time and never get a chance to cool down, which can tip them over the edge.

But for big, brutal stops you cannot beat Montreal and this year the challenge is even greater in the race because the cars are carrying 160 kilos of fuel at the start. We can expect some teams to have brake problems, it’s just a question of how severe they are. The driver spends 16% of the lap time pressing the brake pedal here, which is quite high in addition to the severity of the stops.

According to Brembo, there are seven stops here of which the hardest is the final chicane, where the cars brake from 320km/h to 140km/h in just over 100 metres, which is a deceleration of almost 5g. But this isn’t the one that really kills the brakes, because they have had a chance to cool down on the long straight. It’s the stop at the hairpin which kills them.

For the hairpin the cars go from 290km/h to 60km/h but because the drivers have used the brakes twice relatively soon before, the brakes are already very hot when they are applied for the hairpin. Most of the teams have larger brake ducts here this weekend to help with this problem.


Red Bull F Duct The next talking point from a technical point of view is ironically, something which isn’t here this weekend; the Red Bull F Duct rear wing. The team tested it in practice in Istanbul, but did not use it for qualifying and the race. However our technical artist Paolo Filisetti, obtained some insights into what goes on beneath the skin, which you can see in this drawing.

The main channel is the top one and this puts the air flow out through the channel in the rear of the wing. The lower one has an exit (inset in the drawing) below the rear wing, which puts the air out underneath the wing. This helps to increase the stall, in other words to increase the effect by which the wing sheds drag. It is controlled by a fluidic switch, which is essentially a switch triggered by airflow.

However after trialling it in Turkey, they decided not to bring it to Montreal, where it would have been of great value with the long straights. The team wasn’t satisfied with the way it worked in Turkey, as it drained downforce away. This is something most teams are finding as they try to copy McLaren’s breakthrough.

The specific reason why they have chosen not to even bring it here is that the rear wings are not very high downforce in the first place. Also its likely that they have been focussed on getting it to work on the kind of wing they use for 70% of the races, rather than waste resources on getting it to work on a Canada wing.


McLaren have gone to that effort and they have made a new Canada specification rear wing specifically to work with the F Duct.

There are some suggestions among engineers that taking this line of thinking to its conclusion, we might not see anyone using the F Duct in Monza. Although this sounds counter intuitive with straight line speed the order of the day, in fact the downforce levels are so minimal in the first place there is less need to shed drag.

Posted on June 12, 2010


Lewis Hamilton took McLaren’s first pole position of the season in Montreal, beating the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel into second and third places. It was a sensational lap by Hamilton, who had messed up his original hot lap on his final run, but squeezed another one in. However he was forced to stop the car out on the track or he would not have had enough left in the tank for the fuel sample test. There was some discussions about the legality of this, as in theory he gained an advantage by not carrying the fuel More…

Posted on June 12, 2010


Sebastian Vettel set the pace on Day 1 in Montreal, setting the fastest time ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. It was a day when pretty much everyone suffered with tyre graining, due to the smooth surface of the track. The rears are suffering in particular and we could see drivers stopping twice in the race if it carries on like this. It’s been chilly all weekend so far in Montreal and although the sun made an appearance this afternoon, it didn’t pull the temperature up much, so that made the tyre graining problems even worse. Red More…

Posted on June 10, 2010


Today was cold and wet in Montreal, creating a subdued atmosphere after all the feverish excitement of the last Grand Prix in Istanbul. The drivers did their press briefings early to accommodate European press deadlines and predictably much of the talk was about the right and wrong ways of racing a team mate and about the risks of driving close to the walls here in Montreal. The body language of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber was interesting. Webber went first, sheltered under an awning with rain bouncing off the umbrellas and onto the media. When the subject of Turkey came More…



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