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Friday race preview 13 Jun 2003

The umbrellas go up as the rain comes down.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2003

Private practice this morning in Montreal was held on a dry track, but as the first official practice got under way the forecast rain arrived to dampen things down.

In the tyre stakes it's difficult to predict what effect wet weather might have, for since Brazil both Michelin and Bridgestone have made significant progress.

On the technical front, for the teams it's been a case of bringing along low-downforce aerodynamic parts. Several teams tested at quick tracks such as Monza and Silverstone last week to perfect their low-downforce set-ups for the Canadian weekend.

Williams is brimful of confidence after its success in Monte Carlo, believing that it has made great progress setting up its cars. "Monaco was a big relief," Juan Pablo Montoya said yesterday. "I think it took a lot of pressure off my shoulders. There have been quite a few races where I have been close, close but it wasn't happening, and I was a bit frustrated. And to get it in Monaco was very special.

"I think we should be pretty strong here. I think we probably should be stronger here than in Monaco. We won Monaco, so we should be quite competitive here."

Meanwhile, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault all expect their cars to be well suited to this high-speed stop-go circuit. In particular, Jarno Trulli is keen for a strong result. "The first corner is one of the hottest parts of the race in every Grand Prix," he said, "but for sure it is one of the most difficult ones. It was also difficult in Monaco when I was held up by Kimi, who had a problem, but anyway, it's just important to get away from the first corner and then see."

Back in 1998 the race needed two restarts, after collisions in the tight first corner.

Trulli admits that he is feeling more relaxed, despite the problems that have blighted his season. "I've lost most of the races where I really wanted to be, like Barcelona and Malaysia, where I lost big chances that you only rarely have," the Italian continued. "Our car, for sure, is a very competitive car, and hopefully we will have our races where we will be as competitive as we were on those occasions, but for sure I feel that I lost many big chances during this part of the season."

Elsewhere, BAR is hoping for a strong showing with a revised Honda V10. "We tested it in Monza and it was working fine," local hero Jacques Villeneuve said, "so I'm quite happy that we can use it here."