30 years of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal - part two 05 Jun 2008
With Montreal set to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend, we take a look back at some of the tracks highlights from 1986 to the present day
- Montreals Honda era began in 1986 with a win by Nigel Mansell driving a Williams. Mansell, however, was powerless to repeat his victory in87 when the race was cancelled following a legal dispute. The resulting changes, including a partially redesigned circuit and new garages, meant the track welcomed the Formula One fraternity back in 1988.
- Ayrton Senna took the first of his two Montreal victories at that race. The Brazilian's second triumph, again for McLaren, came two years later (Thierry Boutsen won in 89 for Williams) at the expense of team mate Gerhard Berger, who jumped the start and was handed a one-minute time penalty. Berger, however, made amends with victory in 1992 for the British team.
- The intervening race in 1991 was the scene of one of the most unlikely incidents in Formula One history. On course to a comfortable win, an over-exuberant Nigel Mansell accidentally switched off his Williams engine while waving to the crowd on the final lap and Benettons Nelson Piquet passed him to pick up the winners trophy. It was the Brazilians last Grand Prix victory.
- 1993 saw Alain Prosts only Canadian triumph, while in 1995 Jean Alesi scored the sole victory of his Formula One career at the circuit. But by far the most successful driver in Montreal has been Michael Schumacher, who recorded a record-breaking seven victories. He clinched his first in 1994 but had to wait until 1997 for his next, which came at the expense of McLaren's David Coulthard, whose race was ruined by last-minute gearbox issues.
- With Gilles son Jacques on the grid, in 1996 Montreal had even more reason than usual to celebrate the arrival of the Formula One circus. Although his Williams team mate Damon Hill won from pole, Villeneuve finished second and successfully entered the history books with the fastest lap of the race. It would be the closest Jacques came to emulating his fathers Grand Prix win at the circuit.
- In 1998 Schumacher won again for Ferrari, despite a big first-corner crash, and was on course for victory the following year too, before spinning out and handing victory to McLaren's Mika Hakkinen. The German was back on mistake-free form, however, in 2000 when he took his fourth Montreal victory, again in the Ferrari.
- Over 300,000 fans watched the other Schumacher - Ralf - drive to victory for Williams in 2001. A year later, the elder Schumacher returned to the top step of the podium and so doing clinched Ferraris 150th Formula One victory.
- Michael went on to win in 2003, while his 2004 victory would prove to be his last at the Canadian track. Over the last three years, three different drivers having crossed the line first - Kimi Raikkonen for McLaren in 2005, Fernando Alonso for Renault in 06 (also Michelins 100th Grand Prix victory) and Lewis Hamilton for McLaren last season.
- Since that 2007 race, the Montreal circuit has seen a number of modifications. A safety fence has been installed along the wall into which BMW Saubers Robert Kubica spectacularly crashed last year and the paddock has been modernised to provide better facilities for the teams.