Montreal - the technical requirements 23 Jun 2006
Including several quick corners, long straights and plenty of heavy braking with four stops from over 300 kilometres per hour, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve demands a car that gives the drivers confidence to brake late and get the power on early. Here's a run-down of what the Renault team does to the set-up to tweak the handling of the R26 for this circuit
With the circuit layout composed of long straights and only a few quick corners, we will generally use low levels of downforce in order to achieve competitive straight-line speeds. Reducing drag is a primary focus for the aerodynamicists as they prepare special wings for Canada and the USA.
With low levels of downforce, the car will feel light' to drive and nervous. The drivers will therefore have to be smoother and more delicate with their steering inputs, but also with their application of brakes and throttle. To improve stability and avoid costly rear brake locking under heavy braking, we tune the suspension: a stiff front end gives a good change of direction through the slow corners, with softer settings at the rear in order to improve the car's braking stability on corner entry, and traction on the exit.
Overheating is not the primary concern with the brakes at this circuit, as the long straights give them ample time to cool properly. However, we must monitor disc and pad wear extremely carefully as they must absorb significant braking energies around the lap. We measure the wear levels in real time, and according to the read-outs, we may ask the driver to adjust the brake balance forwards or rearwards.
Tyre wear will not be particularly significant here, because the track surface is not particularly abrasive. However, the traction demands of the circuit mean the rear tyres will endure a harder time than the fronts, and blistering could be an issue in hot conditions.
The repeated pattern of heavy braking/heavy acceleration that characterises the Montreal circuit, means we use the engine in a very stop-start' fashion. With nearly 66 percent of the lap spent at full throttle, and long continuous sections at maximum load, the circuit is at the demanding end of the scale for the engine. Good torque is also a bonus, to help launch the car out of the slow corners.
We will pay particular attention to gear ratios and the selection of seventh gear at this circuit. Not only do we have to take into account the effects of slipstreaming down the long straights, but also the wind direction, which can have a significant positive or negative impact on speeds down the back straight in particular.
Cut grass around the circuit has in the past proved a hazard when it comes to cooling the engine properly in Canada. It is an area we monitor closely.