Canadian GP: Toro Rosso preview

"Je me souviens" is the Quebec motto found on car number plates in the Province. The words date back to a speech made in 1895: "We remember the past and its lessons, the past and its misfortunes, the past and its glories." We asked Scuderia Toro...

"Je me souviens" is the Quebec motto found on car number plates in the Province. The words date back to a speech made in 1895: "We remember the past and its lessons, the past and its misfortunes, the past and its glories." We asked Scuderia Toro Rosso team members for their Montreal memories.

Franz Tost: "At Scuderia Toro Rosso, we are looking forward to coming back to Montreal, as the city is a great venue that always gives Formula 1 a good welcome. It is also an important market for Red Bull and, until we return to the USA, this is our only North American venue and therefore it is commercially important for all teams and partners. In Montreal, you get the feeling that the people are very keen on F1, with a party atmosphere that lasts all weekend and is only rivalled by the Monaco event. The track itself puts the emphasis on engine power and brakes. Both our drivers will be racing here for the first time and the plan will be for them to do as many laps as possible on Friday to learn the track, because getting the most out of it is harder than it looks on paper."

Sebastien Buemi: "I came here during the winter time, as part of a promotion that involved driving the Formula 1 car on ice. I didn't see much of the track because it was under one metre of snow! However, the last time there was a Grand Prix here, I was the Red Bull reserve driver, so I got a feeling for how the weekend pans out and how the track changes over the practice days. I remember they had problems with the asphalt breaking up and I understand that much of it has now been resurfaced. It will be the first race of the year where we run the cars in low downforce trim and that's something I'm looking forward to, as those conditions can make for a few surprises. It's the sort of track where the driver can make a difference and therefore I really hope I can pick up some points. I enjoyed visiting the city back in January, when I attended an NHL Hockey game and generally I really like Montreal and the fact they speak French here is neat. Oh, and the food is really good too!"

Jaime Alguersuari: "I only have a "virtual" memory of Canada, from seeing the races on television and, more recently, driving the circuit on our simulator. It looks like a very interesting circuit with the barriers very close to the track. I actually like this feeling of being on a street circuit, or a fast track with the walls very close. I know it is a very tricky circuit to get the best from because of the combination of low downforce and the fact the surface has very little grip, given that in winter it's covered in snow and ice and then hardly used during the year. I think my first race weekend here will be really interesting, getting used to the low downforce and its effect on braking, which in any case is an important factor here. It should all be about finding the right compromise in terms of your set-up to deal with these unusual characteristics that we do not encounter on any other track on the calendar. I will have a lot to learn, but I am really looking forward to another new experience as part of my F1 learning curve."

Laurent Mekies (chief engineer): "I remember Kubica's spectacular accident in 2007, partly because it opened the door for Sebastian Vettel to race in F1, at the following week's United States GP; an important moment in our future history and that of the whole Red Bull family. I also have mixed feelings about the last time we were there in 2008. Both our drivers -- Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais -- had accidents on Saturday morning. We could not repair Vettel's car which needed a new chassis and with Bourdais, we had to change the gearbox: not an ideal way to go into the rest of the weekend. Bourdais had to take a penalty therefore and started from 19th on the grid, while Vettel started from pit lane. But he managed to work his way up the order and eventually brought home one point for eighth place, which is Toro Rosso's best Canadian result to date. It would be nice to better it this time. I also "me souviens" the track breaking up. Since then, much of it has been renewed and it has so far survived a NASCAR race, therefore let's wait and see what damage the F1 cars do this year!"

Gerard Lecoq (chief mechanic): "On the racing side, I remember Kubica's 2007 accident, as a reminder that this is still a dangerous sport. Fortunately, I have many more pleasant memories, including the Raft Race for teams which was held on the Thursday for many years: you had to build a raft to cross the rowing basin and it was a bit of light hearted fun for everyone, with some teams even converting their spare race chassis into a raft. This event was replaced by inter-team races for rowing skiffs. It was very tough as you had to go up and down the entire length of the rowing basin, with one member of the local rowing club and five F1 personnel. As one side of the boat was inevitably stronger than the other, the hardest part was keeping the skiff in a straight line! I have always tried to spend some extra time in Canada around the GP, to go fishing or whale watching in the St. Lawrence which is a superb experience. The people are fantastic and after the long Canadian winter they all seem to make the most of their short summer and are very welcoming to the F1 community."

-source: toro rosso

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais , Sebastian Vettel , Sébastien Buemi , Jaime Alguersuari
Teams Toro Rosso