The purpose built Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located on the Ile de Notre Dame, a man-made island on the St. Lawrence River, Montreal, that was built for the 1976 EXPO exhibition and has hosted the Canadian Grand Prix since 1978. The race, which...
The purpose built Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located on the Ile de Notre Dame, a man-made island on the St. Lawrence River, Montreal, that was built for the 1976 EXPO exhibition and has hosted the Canadian Grand Prix since 1978. The race, which has been on the Formula One calendar since 1967, previously took place at Mosport Race Park, North East of Toronto, and Mont Tremblant, North of Montreal.
The scenic 2.747 miles / 4.421km track, which is part street circuit, part purpose built track, is only used once a year and is consequently very dusty for Friday's free practice session, with grip increasing through the weekend.
Lap of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Alex Wurz, West McLaren Mercedes third driver Montreal's bumpy surface, fast straights and tight corners all combine to produce a circuit that is known as a car-breaker, hard on the brakes and, with a high full throttle percentage, the engine. The low downforce track has a street circuit feel with barriers located very close to the track, the race has a high attrition rate and is usually a one-stopper.
At the start of a lap on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve you reach 180mph / 290kph in sixth gear on the short pit straight before slowing through the right- left weave of turn one, just past the exit to the pit lane, which is taken at 90mph / 144kph in third gear. On the exit you immediately brake heavily dropping down to 40mph / 64kph in first gear as you approach the tight right hand Virage Senna hairpin. You apply the throttle on the exit for the short fast straight that leads into the chicane of turns three and four, where you drop down to 75mph / 120kph in second gear, aggressively jumping the kerbs. Coming out of turn four, you sweep through the right hand curve of turn five, reaching 170mph / 273kph in sixth gear before braking hard for the for the left-right flick of turns six, which is taken at 50mph / 80kph in second gear, and seven, which sees your speed increase up to some 90mph / 144kph in third gear.
Exiting the chicane you reach full throttle along the back straight of the Place de la Concorde, achieving speeds of up to 185mph / 300kph in sixth gear before entering the bumpy braking area under the bridge for the quick right-left turn through corners eight and nine, which can be negotiated at 70mph / 112kph in third gear. Coming out of turn nine, you again reach 185mph / 300kph in sixth gear before braking hard for the pits hairpin, another first gear corner taken at 40mph / 64kph. This wide hairpin provides good overtaking opportunities and you often see cars attempting to out-brake one another on the approach.
On the exit you accelerate through the kink of Casino on the main straight reaching 200mph / 320kph in seventh gear, the top speed on the circuit, coming in to the final two corners and the hardest braking point of the circuit, with drivers experiencing 3.8G as the speed drops to 70mph / 115kph in third gear through the sharp right-left complex. This section of the track is often the cause of retirements from the race with cars hitting the wall to the right on the exit of the final corner, losing control as they aggressively jump the kerbs.