2010 Canadian Grand Prix Preview


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Round 8 - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

After a year's absence the F1 circus returns to Montreal and the circuit on the man-made Île Notre-Dame in the St. Lawrence River.

Montreal first hosted the Canadian Grand Prix in 1978, taking over from Mosport. That first race was won by local hero Gilles Villeneuve in his iconic Ferrari 312T3 amidst emotional scenes. Following Gilles' untimely death in 1982 the circuit was renamed in his honour, and the message "Salut Gilles" appears along the start/finish line today. This event has often brought dramatic and unpredictable races; extremely low winter temperatures and heavy snowfall have caused issues with the track surface on a recurring basis, while the track layout places particular demands on brake wear.

The nature of the temporary circuit run on public roads brings another challenge in the form of the concrete walls that line most of its length. The 1999 race was particularly memorable owing to the magnetic attraction of the "Wall of Champions" leading on to the start/finish straight, where Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta (yes, he is a champion!) all fell victim. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have also seen their races end in a crunching collision with the barriers here in previous years.

Although at one time Montreal was just one of many fast circuits on the calendar, the revisions to Hockenheim, Silverstone and Osterreichring, among others, have left it with Monza as one of the two fastest of all. It remained comparatively unchanged following Ayrton Senna's death in 1994 and the essential character of the fast sweeps under the trees, the multiple tight, technical chicanes, and the long blast out of the bottom hairpin is intact. Teams will adopt lower downforce settings for best top speeds along the straights, leaving drivers to manhandle their reluctant machinery across the kerbs for the best lap time.

The overall finishing rate at Montreal is the lowest of all this year's circuits.
The likelihood of a driver-related retirement is higher than average.
Mechnical failures in the Canadian GP are also very much more common than at most current tracks.
Finally, the circuit ranks as about average for first-lap retirements in the past five years.

The Last Five Years
2005201171017 - Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari)
2006221535114 - David Coulthard (Red Bull)
2007221426118 - Heikki Kovalainen (Renault)
2008201325011 - Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso)
[td]Year[/td][td]Starters[/td][td]Finishers[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Lap 1 retirements[/td][td]Most places gained[/td]

Circuit Ranking (of all 18 circuits)
Finishing Rate
16th Catalunya 68%
17th Melbourne 68%
18th Montreal 63%

Mechanical Failures
3rd Sakhir 17%
4th Montreal 17%
5th Hungaroring 16%

Driver-related Retirements
1st Melbourne 24%
2nd Montreal 20%
3rd Monte Carlo 15%

First lap Retirements
9th Valencia 2.5%
10th Montreal 2.4%
11th Istanbul 1.9%

Michael Schumacher has an exceptional record, even by his own standards, at Montreal, with seven wins and five second places to his credit. The last two Canadian Grands Prix have seen drivers taking debut victories, with Lewis Hamilton in 2007 and Robert Kubica in 2008. Kubica had suffered a dreadful crash the previous year approaching the hairpin, and his enforced absence from the subsequent event allowed Sebastian Vettel to make his F1 debut. Others have fared less well; neither Felipe Massa nor Mark Webber have recorded a podium finish, while Nico Rosberg travels looking for his first Canadian GP points. Owing to the removal of the 2009 event, both Toro Rosso drivers will make their North American debuts this weekend.

The last race in Montreal saw the finest day for the Sauber (and BMW) team, with Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finishing first and second. This result gives them the third best overall record of current teams, ahead of Williams and Renault, who have each scored a single victory since 2000 (Ralf Schumacher in 2001 and Fernando Alonso in 2006). Ferrari are leading the way overall, but fans should note that all four of their wins came with Michael Schumacher at the wheel, and the most recent was as long ago as 2004.

Current Drivers' Records at Montreal
Michael Schumacher15131st (7)106112.53
Rubens Barrichello16102nd (3)38518.25
Fernando Alonso731st (1)17225.86
Felipe Massa644th (1)130210.17
Lewis Hamilton211st (1)10011
Robert Kubica211st (1)10015
Jarno Trulli1256th (4)8449.33
Timo Glock224th (1)70013.5
Jenson Button953rd (1)64112.67
Mark Webber765th (1)60112.43
Heikki Kovalainen224th (1)50014.5
Pedro de la Rosa416th (1)12114.75
Sebastian Vettel118th (1)10019
Nico Rosberg3210th (2)0016
Vitantonio Liuzzi2113th (1)00113.5
Adrian Sutil20RET01118
Jaime Alguersuari0------
Sebastien Buemi0------
Karun Chandhok0------
Lucas di Grassi0------
Nico Hulkenberg0------
Kamui Kobayashi0------
Vitaly Petrov0------
Bruno Senna0------
[td]Driver[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]

Chassis Records at Montreal (since 2000)
Ferrari18151st (4)96035.06
McLaren18131st (2)54236.17
BMW Sauber18111st (1)413410.28
Williams18111st (1)34448.17
Renault1881st (1)30659.17
Red Bull18123rd (1)135213
Mercedes GP1883rd (1)89210.17
Force India1895th (1)65514.5
Toro Rosso18128th (1)14318.28
[td]Chassis[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for BMW Sauber include Sauber
Results for Renault include Benetton
Results for Red Bull include Jaguar
Results for Mercedes GP include BAR, Honda and Brawn
Results for Force India include Jordan, Midland and Spyker
Results for Toro Rosso include Minardi

Engine Records at Montreal (since 2000)
Ferrari42281st (4)11341010.45
Mercedes-Benz18131st (2)54236.17
Renault2091st (1)32759.2
Cosworth28166th (1)910314.89
[td]Engine[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Ferrari include Petronas and Acer
Results for Cosworth include Ford

All ranking figures are expressed as a % of total starts.
"Retirements-Acc" are retirements where the reason has been listed as Collision, Accident or Spun Off.
Excellent preview as ever Mr G, although[pedant]Gilles didn't drive with no.27 until 1981... He was Ferrari no.12 in '78[/pedant] :thumbsup:
Thanks Muddy, I think I got mixed up with Alesi (who did win there in 27)...or something... :embarrassed:

Thanks for the fix Bro :thumbsup:
I figured that some people might want to see some highlights of races past at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit. So here they are.

1978 BBC Highlights and the end of the GP

1985 Highlights, Overtakes, and Incidents

1986 Highlights (Sorry, no Audio, I had music in the background because the commentary was French, and YouTube disabled it upon upload.)

1988 Highlights

Senna and Alesi have a tight battle in 1993

lol - the drivers get to park on the grass under a tree !?

This is from Chandok's twitter feed

Here is an over view of the 1984 GP with commentary from the extremely funny Clive James. Wish someone at the beeb would get him to record a commentary for the Sunday night highlights show.

KekeTheKing said:
Senna and Alesi have a tight battle in 1993

2 days later, Hunt was dead

Canada isn't an overtaking circuit usually, but mistakes is what causes the overtaking generally
Just been doing a bit of er, research, on speed traps.

Turkey 2007 - fastest speed was 320kph.
Turkey 2010 - fastest speed was 320kph.

Montreal 2007 - 323kph.
Montreal 2010 - ?

I used 2007 data when I couldn't find the Montreal 2008 data.

I was wondering how things would develop with the McLaren f-duct. In 2007 they had more revs (2k RPM more?) but they had the old aerodynamic regulations, which relied heavier on upper-body elements, which created more drag for the cars. These days they have less upper body aerodynamic parts, but the same amount of downforce, if not more, created by the diffuser and floor. They're cleaner, and have less drag, or at least, so I would predict.

So could McLaren get up to 330kph? 340, even? Could be interesting.
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