The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Canada for round eight of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The race is held at the popular Gilles Villeneuve circuit, set against the dramatic skyline of downtown Montreal. Since the Canadian...
The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Canada for round eight of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The race is held at the popular Gilles Villeneuve circuit, set against the dramatic skyline of downtown Montreal.
Since the Canadian Grand Prix made its debut in 1967, the event has been held at three circuits. The inaugural race took place at Toronto's Mosport Park, which hosted the Grand Prix a total of eight times, with Mont Tremblant, located to the North of Montreal, the location for the event in 1968 and 1970. The race relocated to the current circuit in Montreal in 1978, the result of increasing safety concerns at Mosport Park.
Renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1982, in memory of the French-Canadian driver, the circuit lines the perimeter of the Ile Notre Dame, a man-made island created for Montreal's staging of Expo '67. Located in the St Lawrence Seaway, the track is surrounded by water, with the river on one side and the 1976 Olympic rowing course on the other. Originally held at the end of the season, the Canadian Grand Prix moved to its current June date in 1982 to avoid the adverse seasonal weather conditions.
The West McLaren Mercedes team's most recent success at the event was in 1999, when Mika Hakkinen secured victory. In preparation for the race, the team has been testing at Silverstone, with David, Kimi Raikkonen and Alex Wurz at the wheel.
"The West McLaren Mercedes team put in a good performance in Monte Carlo, it was an important and hard fought victory. The nature of the Monaco circuit suited the MP4-17 well, and although Canada doesn't have the same characteristics, we will work hard to secure a positive result. The key characteristic of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the long, fast straights punctuated by slow, tight corners, can be incredibly hard on the cars but also provides a number of excellent overtaking opportunities, in particular under braking on the approach to the wide L'Epingle hairpin."
"Because the track is only used once a year it is very dirty, which means there is little grip for Friday's Practice Session, it does improve during the weekend as we lay down more rubber. Although it is part street circuit, part permanent road course, the track does have a street circuit feel as the barriers are very close. I secured my joint highest position of 2001 at this race, fourth, and I enjoyed driving the circuit, and am looking forward to returning to Montreal."
MARTIN WHITMARSH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, McLAREN INTERNATIONAL
"The result of the Monaco Grand Prix was pleasing and motivational for the entire team. We are, however, fully aware that the 2002 season will continue to be a tough challenge but the West McLaren Mercedes team remains focused on maintaining a positive progression. Following a constructive test at Silverstone last week, we fly to North America looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix. The combination of quick straights and hairpins on the 2.709 mile / 4.361 km track requires a compromise medium downforce configuration."
NORBERT HAUG, VICE-PRESIDENT, MERCEDES-BENZ MOTORSPORT
"David's victory at Monaco was of course a big motivation for all the team, but that doesn't mean that we should expect a repeat performance in the forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix. The 'Circuit Gilles Villeneuve' will provide our team with a completely different challenge. The track features a bumpy surface and the succession of long straights, tight chicanes and hairpins are very demanding on the brakes. 58 per cent of a lap is run on full throttle."