The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a challenge that the drivers relish and the location of Montreal itself is also popular. As the first of the two North American back-to-back races, there's a lot of work to be done in preparation for Montreal, but...
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a challenge that the drivers relish and the location of Montreal itself is also popular. As the first of the two North American back-to-back races, there's a lot of work to be done in preparation for Montreal, but the drivers can usually find time to enjoy the city.
The Sauber drivers, who will visit the Cirque du Soleil on Thursday, are enthusiastic. "Montreal itself has a wonderful atmosphere, and it's great to have the race there," said Felipe Massa. "The city really gets involved in promoting the entire event, which makes it special."
Teammate Giacarlo Fisichella is ready for some retail therapy: "As for the city of Montreal, it's fantastic. It's a great place to do some shopping," said the Italian.
BAR's Takuma Sato is ready to challenge Ferrari again on Sunday, but also appreciates the cultural side of things. "I like the city of Montreal; the contrast between the newer developed and historical older side is beautiful. Also the fans over here are so enthusiastic and I really enjoy racing in front of them."
Drivers will continue their training in the run up to the race, but there's time to relax as well -- in Olivier Panis' case it amounts to the same thing. "I really love Montreal. It's one of my favourite grand prix weekends because of its atmosphere," said Toyota's Frenchman.
"The people are so nice and because everyone stays in the city you can enjoy yourself. It's also one of the rare occasions during the year that I have time to relax for three or four days before the grand prix, and I enjoy that because it gives me valuable time to train."
Nick Heidfeld was eager to touchdown in Canada: "I'm looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix, not only because of the race track but especially because I like the city of Montreal very much," said the Jordan man. "I am flying out a few days early to spend some time there, getting used to the time zone and enjoying the city."
In regard to the track, it's not an easy one to negotiate. "Montreal is quite a technical circuit, you need to be very precise as to where you put your car on the track, while you also have to be very gentle with it to get the best result," said Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya.
Monaco is famed for its barriers that punish the slightest mistake, and Montreal is another track that has similar pitfalls. "It is quite a difficult balance between attacking enough to be fast and not pushing too far, because it is quite easy to step over the limit," said Renault's Fernando Alonso of driving the circuit. "The barriers are very close if you do, so you cannot afford any mistakes at all."
The challenges of the track and the support of the fans makes it a favourite for Toyota's Cristiano da Matta: "Everybody in Montreal really gets behind us and the enthusiasm of the fans is exactly what Formula One needs," said the Brazilian. "The circuit is also fun to drive and technically demanding, offering drivers and engineers a nice challenge."