Canadian GP: Sauber preview

Canada, the home of the next Grand Prix, marks the half way point of the 2003 Formula 1 season. During a three-day test in Monza last week the team Sauber Petronas prepared to this race. Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "The Circuit Gilles ...

Canada, the home of the next Grand Prix, marks the half way point of the 2003 Formula 1 season. During a three-day test in Monza last week the team Sauber Petronas prepared to this race.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Montreal's Ile Notre Dame is very fast in some places. It's not unusual for the cars to hit more than 300 kmh on four sections. It's therefore something of a power circuit, and because of the quick sections we run in low downforce mode to minimise aerodynamic drag."

"There are other parts of the track, however, where the corners are only medium-speed and slow-speed, which would normally demand higher downforce settings. Setting the car up is thus a compromise, and for these latter parts we work hard to optimise the mechanical set-up to promote good braking stability and traction."

"Montreal also places a premium on braking performance, as slow corners follow each fast section. Turn One is tight and goes back on itself, while the hairpin at the other end of the lap demands very heavy braking. You need to maximise brake cooling efficiency in particular."

"It's also a hard circuit on economy, because you use more fuel than usual because of the high amount of acceleration out of the slow corners. That will make things very interesting when it comes to deciding strategy for final qualifying and the race. Normally this is a one-stop circuit, but you may see some teams trying two."

"This is one of the race tracks where overtaking is possible. It is another factor to take into account when deciding your strategy."

Nick Heidfeld (57 GPs, 1 point 2003):

"I like Canada, it's a nice place and our car has always been quite competitive there in the past two years. The track is quite quick so we run low levels of downforce, and you need good brakes. Last year a couple of cars lost points because of brake problems."

"The last corner before the start/finish straight has had a high kerb the last couple of years and if you go over too much it is high enough to damage the car; I hope that's changed. You have to be careful coming into that corner because the guy in front might be going into the pits. The entry speed is very high and you could get caught out if you judged your braking on the car in front only to find it is going into the pits and doesn't have to make the corner."

"In places the track is narrow and lacks run-off areas, especially in the second chicane. The corner under the bridge out the back is very bumpy and you have to be very careful there, but overall I quite like the place."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (148 GPs, 7 points 2003):

"Canada is a street circuit in some ways, but not in others. It's a quite decent race track, but not particularly challenging. It has a combination of long straights and then heavy braking for slow corners. You reach a high top speed, then have to get rid of it all for the tight corners that follow."

"It's also a bit bumpy, and that makes it a bit difficult to drive, but it's not as bad in that respect as Monaco, for example. With the light downforce level that we run there, the car tends to move around a lot. But as a trade-off, overtaking is a bit easier than it is elsewhere."

"Montreal is a fantastic city, with a great atmosphere and lots of very enthusiastic race fans. It's a nice Grand Prix as a result."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nick Heidfeld , Gilles Villeneuve
Teams Sauber