Canada preview quotes - Lotus, McLaren & more on Montreal 31 May 2013
Round seven of the championship sees the paddock crossing the Atlantic to Montreals Isle Notre-Dame and the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2013. Lewis Hamilton took victory for McLaren last season, but can he do the same for Mercedes this year? Those involved discuss their prospects for the race
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 12th, 2012 Race - 8th
I have won (in Canada) which was pretty good, but I have experienced some setbacks there as well. Many times the race has been quite a lottery as there seem to be different things which affect it. The weather can change a lot, sometimes the tyres or the track arent working very well, sometimes there are a lot of safety cars, or sometimes another driver runs into the back of you when youre waiting at a red light. As for the place itself, Ive always liked Montréal. It is one of the nicest cities we visit all year. What do you need for a good result in Canada? A good car. Like at every circuit you need to get the set-up exactly right. You need a well-balanced chassis in the medium downforce configuration and you dont want to be too hard on brakes as theres a lot of aggressive braking there. Its something I quite enjoy, the stop and go style of the circuit. Qualifying is important at every circuit, but not as essential as it was in Monaco to get a good result. Its not easy to get past, but there are one or two places to overtake.
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 7th, 2012 Race - 2nd
Last year we had a fantastic result at this race and well certainly be trying for a fantastic result once more. For sure it will be a bit more difficult with the (10-place grid) penalty, but well take the challenge and do the very best we can. The track is interesting; not an easy one to learn, but as we say most of the time if you have a good result then you like the track! Id certainly like to finish this years race on the podium again; that would be a good record to maintain. I enjoy the sensation of being close to the walls; although as I learnt this year in Monaco I dont enjoy the sensation of being too close to the walls! Montréal is different from Monaco as there are some long straights and big braking moments. The track surface can also present challenges as weve seen in past seasons, so it will be interesting to see what the grip level is like this year. Finally, the weather in Montréal can be quite changeable as weve seen many times. Im sure itll be a challenging and exciting Grand Prix. The citys great too. People speak French, the place is lively, there are some great restaurants and everybody is really welcoming.
We did well (in Canada) last year and its good in terms of the memories, but that doesnt mean well necessarily do well there this year. What we do know is that this years car is strong and has performed well on all different types of track layout, so its reasonable to expect a good weekend in Canada. I dont think it will be an easy weekend, but well be disappointed if both cars arent close to - or on - the podium.
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
Montréal is the first circuit we run at with a medium downforce level. Monaco is super high and everywhere else weve visited so far is high, so it will be interesting to validate our performance with lower downforce levels on the car. There are similarities to Monaco; no real high speed corners, with most turns taken in first or second gear and the kerbs used for the majority of them. As most of the corners are chicanes, you have a set-up trade-off between sufficient roll stiffness to allow the driver to have a sharp car for change of direction, but with suspension soft enough to ride over the kerbs. The track used to be very bumpy - especially under braking - but recent resurfacing has improved this enormously.
Its the highest brake energy circuit of the year, but this wont pose any significant problems. In years gone by we would have spent a lot of the weekend focusing on brake wear and ensuring we werent running too hot. Brake disc development over the past five years means this isnt an issue or concern anymore. Our focus will be ensuring the brake temperatures are in the optimal range for operation and ensuring the brakes are matched at both front and rear for stability.
Traditionally this circuit is fairly easy on tyres thanks to a smooth track surface. Well use Pirellis super soft and medium compounds to the original, non-revised 2013 constructions for the race. In the practice sessions we will have an opportunity to sample some development tyres; two sets per driver with a new rear construction.
Last year was a mixture of one and two stop strategies and its reasonable to expect a similar approach this year; depending on the conditions experienced in the race of course. For Romain we will be looking at all the options and seeing if theres anything different we can do to help vault him up the order, as he will be starting out of position thanks to his penalty. We went well with both cars last year and theres nothing to suggest we shouldnt go well this year.
(In terms of updates) we have a revised aero package, with track specific front and rear wings as well as an update to the floor. There arent too many changes for this race, but looking ahead to the subsequent Grand Prix we have a revised bodywork package for Silverstone.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 10th, 2012 Race - 16th
Ive always enjoyed the Canadian Grand Prix Montreal is one of the nicest cities on the calendar, were always made to feel welcome by the Quebecois, and its a race that everyone in Formula 1 looks forward to. Like Monaco, the Canadian Grand Prix can be something of an enjoyable lottery but whereas Monaco is a low-speed, high-grip place, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the opposite: high-speed and low-grip. It's a mix that always comes together to provide the fans with great racing, which is another reason why its become one of the most popular races of the year. Going back to Canada always brings back happy memories of my race there in 2011. Coming through from last to first really does show that anythings possible in Formula 1. While we wont be heading to Montreal with a winning package, were making steady progress, and theres always that added motivation that you can pull off a surprising result at this race. Im looking forward to a great weekend in Canada.
Sergio Perez, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 15th, 2012 Race - 3rd
There may not be much to show from Monaco, but it was another positive race for me we had stronger pace throughout the weekend, and I felt that I raced hard and fairly, earning my positions the hard way by competing for, and winning, them on the track. There are plenty of positives to take forward to Canada. Its a race I enjoy I finished on the podium there last year; and I feel like the team is bringing performance to the car at every race. Although were still not where we need to be, I hope the Montreal weekend will be another step. At the very least, I think we can have a good weekend its a race that can reward a fighter because its often so unpredictable. For me, racing in Canada is always special because its one of the three races closest to my home in Mexico. As in Austin last year, I hope therell be plenty of Mexican fans travelling up to Montreal to support me during my first Canadian Grand Prix for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
McLaren has always gone well in Canada weve won 13 Canadian Grands Prix and while were not heading to Montreal next week with a realistic shot at victory, we well know that this is a race where an unexpected result is always possible. The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the Formula 1 calendar, and a race that the whole paddock enjoys. Its a showcase for F1 at its best the track has a natural flow that encourages bold driving, but which punishes mistakes with narrow run-offs and uncompromising concrete walls. The track surface is abrasive and relatively gripless, and the long back straight is perfect for lengthy slipstreaming battles and overtaking. In addition, the Canadian and North American fans are passionate and knowledgeable about the sport its one of those races thats packed-out from Thursday to Sunday, and filled with a varied and exciting support race timetable. Its one of the best races of the year.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 1st, 2012 Race - 4th
Why do I like the Canadian Grand Prix? The circuit has a nice rhythm and its one of the best races we have all year. The atmosphere and fans are great, the whole city lives F1 for the whole week and that makes us feel very special. I like it. Obviously one of the craziest moments was in 2011. There was so much rain; I havent seen that much rain carry on for so long since! During the race we had a big break and were in the lead. The race was difficult and with half a lap to go, I made my first mistake of the race which cost us the win. But thats racing and its probably great for the fans to watch when they dont know who is going to win until the last moment.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 4th, 2012 Race - 7th
Canada is a really good race. Its a popular Grand Prix for fans and drivers; the fans are very passionate and its always an interesting Grand Prix because its another street circuit. There are some very good restaurants in Montreal, the whole city stops for the race and the atmosphere is a bit more traditional I would say. I havent been on the podium there yet, so I need to sort that out. Its not a favourite memory, but I remember when (Nigel) Mansell retired on the last lap when he was in the lead. Also when Jean Alesi won his only race there, that was good.
Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - 13th, 2012 Race - 12th
The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is one of my favourites. Its a challenging track with a mixture of a permanent racetrack and a street circuit. It has some tight sections that dont allow for any mistakes. I like the whole layout and, in particular, the kerbs. The atmosphere on Île Notre-Dame is always great and the whole city of Montréal welcomes Formula One. Its a very nice Grand Prix, and Im looking forward to it.
Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a
So far I have driven once at the track on Île Notre-Dame, and that was in 2007 in Formula BMW. It went quite well with one podium finish and a fourth place. Its a really nice circuit and I like it a lot. The track is slippery and tyre management will yet again be very important, which gives us an opportunity to put a good strategy together. Obviously overtaking will be easier than in Monaco, which can benefit us. Its hard to judge how competitive we will be, as it will also depend on the weather. Hopefully with better conditions we can have a more consistent weekend, which will help us to progress and make the most of our potential.
Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
The Montréal circuit is very narrow and has walls very close to the track. It typically produces one of the most exciting races of the season and a Safety Car is highly likely. The circuit is comprised of long straights and slow speed corners, which encourage overtaking, and also contribute to it being one of the hardest for the brakes. The circuit efficiency requires a lower drag level rear wing compared to Monaco, but you still need a strong car in low speed corners. This year the medium compound replaces the soft as the prime tyre, while the option remains as the super soft. Pirelli has also announced we will have a new rear construction to evaluate on Friday before its planned race introduction at Silverstone.
Jules Bianchi, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a
I was hoping for better things at my home race last weekend but now I am fully focused on the races ahead, not looking back. Canada is one of the races I have been most looking forward to all season and I have heard a lot of things about the track and the fantastic city of Montreal. Having been in the simulator this week I feel excited for the weekend, although I think we can expect to be challenged by the demands of the circuit characteristics. The last race was the first retirement of the season for myself and the Team, which is disappointing after such a good run of 10 car finishes in 10 races until then. It seems to be an isolated problem, so we look forward to getting back to full reliability and continuing to push forwards.
Max Chilton, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a
Im looking forward to my Canadian Grand Prix debut and returning to the learning experience of an unknown track. From what I know and have seen in the simulator, this is one of those circuits that will keep the drivers and the engineers fully occupied by the engineering challenge, as there is such a careful balance to strike between the low and higher downforce sections of the track, at the same time as managing brakes and tyres. After a good result in Monaco I am hopeful that we can carry that momentum forward and enjoy a positive weekend.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Everyone at the Marussia F1 Team thoroughly enjoys the Canadian Grand Prix experience, although the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has not necessarily favoured our car on our three previous visits. We are hopeful that we can turn that corner in Montreal next weekend. It has been quite a tight turnaround after Monaco to prepare the cars for the freight but they leave this weekend and in the intervening period before we arrive well continue to evaluate a frustrating Monaco and try to get a good head start for the race ahead. Canada always throws up quite a few challenges - a technically demanding track, variable weather and the rather more unusual concern over groundhogs. The one thing we were pleased with in the last race was our result and relative performance, so well be happy to continue building on that next weekend.
Alexander Rossi, Caterham reserve driver
After Monaco I was home in the States for the first time since January, preparing for my FP1 session at the Canadian GP, and then for the start of my Le Mans work straight after Montreal! Looking back, Monaco wasnt a great weekend for us in GP2 with Caterham Racing, but well bounce back at Silverstone. We know the areas that we need to improve the situation.
Returning to F1 action is obviously another important step in the plan Ive worked over a decade for and I take all the opportunities I get very seriously. This will be my first outing in the CT03 and on the 2013 Pirelli tyres in F1 and its good that my 2013 F1 debut is on North American soil, in front of a crowd who are seriously passionate about F1 and really know what our sport is all about. Ive raced and won in Montreal back in Formula BMW and I enjoy the circuit a lot - it will be a special feeling to play an active role in the race weekend with the team.
Even though FP1 sessions always seem to be over in the blink of an eye, itll be good to play an important part in the teams work on track. I was last in an F1 car in the CT02 2012 car in Abu Dhabi, last November for the young driver test so Im looking forward to see how far the car has progressed since then. This year for the F1 team Ive done aero testing, simulation work and I drove at the teams filming day, so this will be a good session for me to use what I learnt about the car in the sim and the aero tests as a comparison to help the team progress this weekend. It will be all about working to the run plan for the session and helping the team set the car up for the race drivers for the rest of the weekend.
I leave Montreal on Friday evening, straight after FP2 and head back to Europe for the first Le Mans sessions. Thats another boxed ticked on my list of things for my CV. Its great to be taking part in one of the great races with a team thats already been successful in endurance racing, and to help a bunch of Caterham guys I already know well. Like F1, my aim in the first few days with the Le Mans team will be to learn as much I can and build up to the performance, adding value where it counts. Its a huge honour to be able to take part and its something Ill remember for ever, but first my main priority is F1.
Charles Pic, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - 23rd, 2012 Race - 20th
Straight after Monaco its on to another French speaking race as we go to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Last year was my first time racing in Canada and I have to say it was one of the best races of the year, maybe not so much for the final result but for the atmosphere on track which was really good. We go to a few races where the track is full of fans from Thursday morning, and Montreal is one of those. I guess having Jacques and Gilles Villeneuve as locals to have supported in the past means F1 is very special to fans in Montreal, but whatever the reasons, they love F1!
On track its a very good challenge. Its a semi-street circuit, with the barriers very close for most of the lap, and its a very technical circuit. The track surface is smooth and on Friday morning theres very little grip. It does evolve over the weekend but its still hard on tyres all weekend so managing deg levels is going to be even more important than normal. Its also very hard on brakes - theres a couple of very heavy braking zones and you need to be able to really attack those to get the best lap time in, so well also be working a lot in the practice sessions on maximising braking stability and, depending on what the weather does, brake cooling.
You also need to be able to attack the kerbs, both to maintain speed and to save time, so thatll be another area well look at in FP1 and FP2, making sure we can really hit the kerbs hard without losing stability and balance. If you get all that right its a very satisfying feeling when you get to the end of the lap as its quick, a lap that feels really good in an F1 car!
Giedo van der Garde, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a
Next up its Canada, a track Ive never raced at but one I went to last year with Caterham as reserve driver. I sat in on all the briefings and debriefs last year so I have quite a bit of information about what its going to be like from 2012, and Ive spent quite a bit of time on my sim at home trying the track, but you obviously dont really know what its like until you drive around it, but it will only take a couple of laps to get used to it.
What I do remember from last year was how hardcore the fans are in Montreal! We have a couple of big North American sponsors, so the team had a lot of guests in the paddock and in the grandstands, but I remember that from early on Thursday morning the whole place was packed! In the city itself it was the same - theres one street where the whole place is shut down for the race weekend and we had a team dinner there on the Saturday night. It was a fantastic atmosphere, a lot like it is at home in Holland for big sports events, so I felt really comfortable there and am excited about getting back, this time to race!
On track I think itll be interesting to see where we are after Monaco. I was glad to bring the car home, but after the best Saturday of the year so far we obviously wanted to finish higher up. Even with that, there were some good signs in the race that we are making decent progress. Personally, for me it was another step in the learning curve, and for the team in general we saw that wed fixed the rear wing issue wed found in Barcelona, and had enough pace to get the car into Q2 and to record one of the fastest laps in the race in the early stages. Montreal is a medium to low downforce track and with the constant updates were making to the package we took to Spain, I think we could be ok.
More to follow.
For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.