Canadian GP: Williams preview

After 20 years of disappointment on the streets of Monte Carlo, Juan Pablo Montoya secured a coveted victory last weekend for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. This was the first win for the Anglo-German partnership since Sepang in 2002. Next week the team...

After 20 years of disappointment on the streets of Monte Carlo, Juan Pablo Montoya secured a coveted victory last weekend for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. This was the first win for the Anglo-German partnership since Sepang in 2002. Next week the team travel to the 35th Canadian Grand Prix with renewed confidence and revitalised optimism.

There has, however, been little time for celebrations in Oxford or Munich. The team has spent this week testing at Silverstone with Ralf Schumacher, while Marc Gene performed testing duties in Monza in preparation for round eight of the Championship. Montreal poses challenges of a completely different complexion to those encountered in Monaco, and to maintain a level of competitiveness, the team must also conquer the high speed, low downforce conditions that the next race will throw up.

Ralf Schumacher:

"I am looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix. I not only like the track but also because Montreal is one of my favourite places on the F1 calendar. The city is beautiful, the people are so friendly and the paddock is situated next to the Olympic rowing basin. All these things make of Montreal one of the highlights of the season. I don't want to make any forecast about the race, but I am very confident. I have put the disappointment of missing victory in Monaco behind me. I was pleased for Juan Pablo and the team and I think the win has given us all optimism for the forthcoming races."

"At the test last week in Silverstone I could feel the whole team's increased confidence. Everyone is hungry for victories again and of course I want to make my contribution. During the test we worked almost exclusively on the set-up for Canada and I am very happy about the continuing improvement of the car. In Monaco we were on top, and we claimed pole and won the race - now we have to prove that our success is sustainable."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"Naturally I am approaching Canada on a high. The Monaco GP weekend was a huge boost for all the BMW WilliamsF1 Team as we managed to be strong and consistent on a particularly difficult track. On so many occasions I recall answering that Monaco would be the race I would really like to win, and now I have achieved that objective."

"More than the confidence that the win gave me, I believe that the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit should suit our chassis-engine-tyre package. We generally have performed well there in the past. Ralf scored a win in 2001 and last year, after claiming pole, I was forced to retire from the race when I was in second position after I had been in the lead for several laps. I like racing in Montreal, it's a drivers' circuit, quite technical and unlike Monaco, it has a few overtaking opportunities."

Sam Michael, WilliamsF1 Chief Operations Engineer:

"Over recent months, the team has put an enormous amount of effort into improving the FW25 and their dedication was rewarded with victory at one of the most prestigious races on the calendar. The car was clearly competitive and it was encouraging to see such good results from our aggressive strategy. Winning has been a huge boost, so we are going to Montreal with a renewed confidence that we can fight for top positions."

"We ran split tests this week. Ralf tested at Silverstone while Marc Gene was in Monza. Both drivers concentrated on set up work for Montreal with particular emphasis on tyre and aero testing as well as engine reliability running."

"Montreal is a low to medium downforce circuit dominated by traction and braking, with minimal cornering speeds. The real pressures are placed on the aero package, with braking efficiency and engine power tested to the limit. With all these elements considered, finding the optimum downforce level will be crucial. The circuit offers plenty of overtaking opportunities so once again we really need to concentrate on our strategy to be able to produce another winning performance."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

"Winning in Monaco was a great result for all the team -- a well deserved reward for sheer hard work and dedication that everyone has shown over the past few months. Hopefully we will be able to maintain that competitiveness in Canada. We've experienced mixed fortunes in Montreal in recent years - Ralf Schumacher drove to victory in 2001, but 2002 saw Juan retire and Ralf finish seventh despite strong performances in qualifying."

"The weekend will certainly be a challenging one as the circuit has long straights but low cornering speeds. Combined with high track temperatures the chassis and engine will be under enormous strain during the race, so we must optimise our race strategy to ensure another successful Grand Prix."

"Alongside the U.S, Canada is also an important overseas market for BMW. As a consequence during the Grand Prix weekend lots of BMW fans and friends will show up. The very pleasant location of the circuit and Montreal's vivid atmosphere make this a charming Grand Prix for visitors as well as for the teams."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams