After just two races in Europe - Spain and Monaco - the Formula 1 teams will once again be operating without trucks and motorhomes as they tackle the back-to-back races in Montreal and Indianapolis as the calendar reaches its North American ...
After just two races in Europe - Spain and Monaco - the Formula 1 teams will once again be operating without trucks and motorhomes as they tackle the back-to-back races in Montreal and Indianapolis as the calendar reaches its North American appointment.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has several points in common with the Monte Carlo venue, while other elements are diametrically opposed: in Montreal as in Monaco, the track surface is bumpy, the guard rails are near the edge of the track and soft tyres are the usual choice. On the other hand, the cars will replace their maximum downforce wings for much smaller ones as the next two grands prix take place on medium-fast tracks.
In addition, both Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro F2007 cars will be fitted with the same engines that Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen used in Monaco. Canada is tough on engines, as apart from a long straight, there are plenty of tight corners that require good traction and acceleration on the exits. However, this is not a cause for concern as, in terms of overall stress on the engines, Monaco was an easier task, partly because the overall distance covered in qualifying and the race around the Principality is less than at any other circuit.
The Prancing Horse cars will use new front and rear wings here, first tested at the Paul Ricard circuit before the Monaco Grand Prix. The F2007 will also boast other minor aerodynamic modifications and on this, the hardest braking circuit of the season, particular attention has been paid to the brake systems and their cooling ducts.
"We believe we will have a strong package for this event," maintains Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Sporting Director, Stefano Domenicali. "There is no reason why we should not be able to fight for the win in Montreal after a weekend in Monaco where our performance did not accurately reflect our potential."
Certainly the Form Guide suggests that the Ile St. Laurent circuit has been good to Ferrari in the past, with a total of eleven wins, with Michael Schumacher alone responsible for six of them out of a personal total of seven Canadian victories for the German. The first victory for the Scuderia came in 1970, when Jacky Ickx was first past the flag, but it was the team's second win which has passed into the history books, when local hero Gilles Villeneuve scored his maiden Grand Prix win here, at the wheel of a Ferrari in 1978.
That event cemented the popularity of Formula 1 in Canada and Villeneuve's time with the Scuderia established its position as the most popular team here in North America, coincidentally the company's largest market in terms of car sales. No doubt, memories of the flamboyant and mercurial talent that was Gilles Villeneuve will feature prominently this weekend, as 2007 is the twenty fifth anniversary of his death. Another driver who was always very popular with the local crowd here was Jean Alesi, who scored his one and only Formula 1 victory at the wheel of a Ferrari in the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix on the day of his birthday.
Montreal's coastal location means that the weather has often played a part in deciding the final outcome of this race as ambient temperature can fluctuate rapidly and rain is no stranger to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. But hot or cold, wet or dry, the city of Montreal always provides a warm welcome, which is why this venue is definitely one of the most popular for all the F1 regulars.