The paddock heads from one waterside street track to another as it exchanges Monaco for Montreal and the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Those involved look ahead to next weekend's Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2017...
“I think our strength comes from the team effort. We are working very hard together to extract the maximum. People see what I do on track, but you don’t see all the work in Maranello. Obviously, looking back we can say that we have done very well so far, but there is no guarantee that just because the last race was good, then the next one will be good as well. So, we have to sit down again and go through everything, paying attention to details. I like this place and I am looking forward to driving here. The car has been very good so far, it should be good here as well, but as I’ve just said there is no guarantee.”
“We have to face this weekend like any other one; we’ll try to maximize everything, go from the practice and see what it brings on Saturday and then on Sunday. Every track is different and it’s never going to be easy. It’s not an easy circuit even if there are not many corners. Also because, in the race like this, usually quite a lot of things can happen.”
“I’m really looking forward to going back to Montreal because it’s such an amazing place to be. It’s a race where our car normally has good performance, so I really hope we can show that again this year and have another good race. I also love the city of Montreal. The fans there really are in love with Formula One. It’s also Lance’s first home Grand Prix so it will be a very special weekend for him.”
“Montreal is going to be amazing for me, as this is not only my home race but it is also held in my home city, which is buzzing while the race is on. I grew up about 20 minutes away from the race track, so this will be something special and not many people will get to experience that feeling. As a kid I attended the race pretty much every year, then missed a few years while living in Europe, but was back there last year. For me it is a pure racing event. It is not the flashiest Grand Prix, as the paddock is small, but it is cool, unique and old school. The fans are really close to the track, the grandstands are huge and the run off areas are not massive, but I love that and hope it doesn’t change.”
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer
“After spending last Friday celebrating the team’s great heritage at Silverstone, we now look forward to getting back to the job in hand this weekend as we head to Canada. Montreal is a big favourite amongst the Formula One teams. The crowds are fantastic; Montreal turns into a party city for the weekend with a real feeling of excitement in the air. And the race itself rarely disappoints, delivering a large number of historic battles over the years including the longest ever F1 race in history in 2011.
“The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the most famous F1 circuits and has hosted Grands Prix since 1978, nearly 40 years ago. It has unique characteristics including long straights interspersed with various quite challenging slow corners and a few notoriously unforgiving walls. The long straights and slow corners generally drive us towards lower downforce levels on the cars, and make it one of the toughest circuits on the calendar for brakes. With the narrower temperature window of current generation tyres it is particularly hard to get them in the right condition, especially for qualifying.
“This is Lance’s home race so it will be a very special weekend for him. We were encouraged by his performance in Monaco so he can build confidence from that and have a good race here. Of course Felipe has raced here many times before, and our car should go better at this type of circuit than we did in Monaco, so we will do our very best to secure positive results this weekend and to put on a great show for our North American fans.”
“I always look forward to the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, because I particularly like the track and the atmosphere around the circuit there. The city, the fans, the track and the event are just spectacular. It is a demanding track, especially because of its chicanes. The characteristic turns make it similar to Monaco. The combination of slow turns and long straights make it essential to bring the tyres to ideal temperature to get the right amount of grip. Of course top speed also plays a defining role.”
“I am looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix very much. In Montreal there will be many events this weekend to celebrate the Grand Prix. The track suits me well. It is a mixture of a street track and a racing track – a traditional race with a long history. Next to the engine power, a high braking stability, traction and good change of direction are the most important factors. The long straights offer good overtaking opportunities. Depending on the weather, the car’s aerodynamic configuration will also play an important role.”
“I really like Montreal, it's one of the coolest cities we travel to. There's a lot of good streets to walk around and do some shopping, many good restaurants and bars… The atmosphere there is just fantastic!
“The track is also quite unique, as it has many chicanes and a few long straights. Trying to put a lap together there is never easy, and you need to build the pace throughout the weekend. It's a good place to go racing as there are many good opportunities for overtaking.
“I'm very into ice hockey and my trainer is a very big fan of this sport – he's an ex ice hockey player in fact! I was trying to learn but we never have time for this… I hope he reads this preview and finally takes me to play a match together! It's a contact sport which I think is very exciting to watch. In Russia it's very popular too – Russians and Canadians are big rivals in this sport!
“I remember trying syrup for the first time at one of the race weekends in Canada – the organisers gave all us drivers a box full of typically Canadian food and the syrup was good! If I have time to go shopping I will try and get some to take back home.
“One day I'd like to go and visit the Niagara Falls, they look like some amazing waterfalls! I always try and plan it around the Canadian GP week, but never really found the time… I will need to make sure I do one day!”
“Montreal is actually one of my favourite cities. The hotel where we stay at is nice and there are many good restaurants to go to in the evenings – especially some great steakhouses! I really enjoy it there!
“The entrance to the Paddock in Canada is quite a particular one, as you have to walk on a floating bridge to cross the lake – I've always said that I would jump into that water if I won the race… But if it's as cold as it was last year, there's no way I would do that, not even if I won the world championship! So maybe I should change this – I will do anything else except jumping in the water, because I can't stand the cold!
“My favourite parts of the track are Turns 4 and 5, and also Turns 6 and 7. You drive between the walls and it's normally a section where there are a lot of leaves, which makes it even more of a challenge… You drive very fast through these turns and ride on the kerbs. I must also admit that the Wall of Champions is a challenge I always look forward to, even though I've crashed there in the past…”
“I said after Monaco that I was proud of the team and the way we raced in Monaco. We gave it everything, but it wasn’t our day. It’s frustrating because the car felt good all weekend. It was a shame not to make the most of this opportunity and continue our run of races in the points.
“I feel confident about Montreal. It’s a track where I’ve had some good races and I like the challenge of the circuit. It’s all about being late on the brakes and aggressive through the chicanes. You have to be precise too with the walls so close to the track.
“I think the sport needs more tracks similar to Montreal where mistakes are punished. These old-school tracks excite the drivers and fans, and usually produce entertaining races.”
“Montreal is another new track for me so I’m going to be on the learning curve on Friday. I know the lap from playing video games and being on the simulator, and I’ve always liked the circuit characteristics.
“Although I haven’t driven in Montreal, I know the place already from my visit last year. It’s definitely a cool event because everybody in the city supports the race and Canada really loves Formula One. It feels like a big party in the streets, especially on the Saturday night.
“After the bad luck in Monaco I want to get back to scoring points in Montreal. The car is getting better with each race and I think I’m fully up-to-speed now. I’m really happy with the team and the way we work together – we’ve already built up a good understanding and they know what I need from the car.”
Vijay Mallya, team principal
“I was naturally disappointed to see us leave Monaco empty-handed. Operationally we were strong and the car showed good pace, but sometimes the luck doesn’t go your way and there’s nothing you can do.
“The positives we take from Monaco leave us feeling optimistic for Canada. The car is working well and we’ve made progress over the last few races. The confidence throughout the team continues to grow and we approach every race knowing we can fight for points. It’s important we get back into our rhythm in Montreal and build on our strong start to the year.”
Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer
“Canada is a challenging track, with long straights and high speeds. Fuel consumption is high and the brakes are tested - with high energy and temperatures, wear is something to look after. On the other hand, the circuit is relatively easy on the tyres. We are bringing the three softest compounds to this race, yet still expect tyre degradation to be low. Good lap times come from being able to ride the apexes and the exit kerbs, but this can be risky as the majority of corner exits have walls. It’s easier to overtake in Montreal than in Monaco and the weather can produce some surprises because it changes quickly. Races here tend to be very unpredictable.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“I’m expecting an interesting weekend in Canada. It could be a tricky race for us in terms of the layout of the track. But, equally, it’s a circuit that suits both of our drivers. Lewis (Hamilton) has won a number of times in the past and Valtteri (Bottas) has always gone strongly there for Williams. It will be about doing our homework right to give the drivers the car they need to succeed. We have two excellent drivers and we will hold true to our philosophy of letting them race each other to drive the team forward – even if sometimes it can be difficult because you can’t always have the one who is ahead in the championship winning.
“It’s painful, but we are not the favourites for this year’s championship. At the moment it’s Ferrari. They have a very strong package and we need to rise to the challenge to prove once again that we are the team to beat. There are still 14 races left and everything is completely open. We’re looking forward to Montreal and the chance to bounce back with a strong result – hopefully producing valuable answers to some tough questions in the process.”
“It’s good to be heading back to Canada – it feels like I’ve spent a lot of time in North America recently! The Indy 500 was an incredible experience and it’s been amazing to learn a completely different style of driving, on a different circuit layout and with a very different car, but I’m ready to get back to my ‘day job’ and go racing in F1 again.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Canadian Grand Prix. The circuit is unique in that it’s very demanding on both the car and driver, so it’s a real racer’s track. While I was in Indy I was still keeping up-to-date with the news from Monaco, and Stoffel and Jenson both reported positively on the new upgrades and reliability, so I hope we can continue to see a step forward in Canada.
“The layout of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve means it’s very power-limited and therefore dependent on straight-line speed and power. It’s not going to suit our car as much as the twisty, slower corners of Monaco, but I’m excited to get back in the MCL32, catch up with the guys and girls in the team and get back out on track – not only turning left this time!”
“Monaco was definitely an eventful weekend for the whole team. I felt really comfortable in the car each time I got out on track, and I felt we could really push the limits of our package and maybe come home in the points – it’s a shame it didn’t end up that way. There has definitely been a step forward in the chassis thanks to the upgrades the team has been working hard to bring to every race, so let’s see how these translate to Canada, which is a very different circuit set-up.
“It’s a new venue for me this weekend as I’ve never raced there before, but I’ve driven the track plenty of times in the simulator already. It’s a tough circuit and I can see why people say it’s a ‘driver’s track’ – there’s a lot to keep you busy and high concentration is essential – the Wall of Champions is proof of that! It will definitely be a completely different experience to Monaco in terms of preparation and set-up, but I’m excited to drive it for real for the first time and get a feel for its characteristics.
“The race will be tough on brakes, tough on engines and tough on the drivers, and with the potential of Safety Cars in the mix, there’s a lot to think about in terms of strategy and set-up this weekend. It will be good to have Fernando back alongside me, and he has a lot of experience at this track that will be useful to tap in to. It won’t be the easiest Grand Prix for us, but, in contrast to Monaco, there are more overtaking opportunities, which will hopefully mean more chances for us to be in the mix.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director
“After one of the busiest weeks in McLaren’s history as we concentrated our efforts on both sides of the pond in Monaco and Indianapolis, it’s now time to focus our attention on the Canadian Grand Prix. In Monaco, we welcomed the popular return of Jenson, who put in a strong performance, particularly in qualifying, proving he has lost none of his renowned skills behind the wheel. Stoffel, too, showed impressively strong form all weekend and equipped himself very well to mix it with the midfield around the formidable Monaco street circuit. Although we were looking good for a point or two, sadly, it wasn’t meant to be, but we nevertheless go to Canada buoyed by the strength of the ongoing development work we are undertaking back at base.
“Of course, we’re also very much looking forward to having Fernando back in the car again in Canada, after his McLaren Honda Andretti Indy 500 adventure. What he has achieved in just a few short weeks has been phenomenal, and the whole team is looking forward to catching up with him and congratulating him on a hugely impressive performance.
“The whole McLaren Honda team enjoys returning to Montreal each year, and the venue is up there among the favourite races on the calendar for many. We stay downtown – the city has an incredible atmosphere – and we always receive a very warm welcome. The Canadians love their racing, like we do, and the Grand Prix has a worthy reputation for being unpredictable and exciting.
“McLaren has enjoyed numerous victories in Canada, arguably the most famous of which in the hands of Jenson Button six years ago, in a four-hour race that became the definition of ‘unpredictable’ racing in Canada. The infamous Wall of Champions has claimed the cars and pride of many a world-class driver, and the demanding characteristics of the circuit present a unique set of challenges for the drivers, engineers and mechanics.
“The nature of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is high-speed, with tight chicanes, limited run-off and heavy braking. While its complex traits won’t suit the strengths of our package, we are still pushing the envelope at every race by bringing useful developments that are correlating well and eking out more performance. We still have a long way to go, and this circuit will be a tricky platform on which our package is less likely to shine, but we will work hard as always to maximise what we have in our armoury and take advantage of every opportunity on track.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co. Ltd, Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer
“The Canadian Grand Prix is always a special race for us. It is one of the most vibrant and popular on the Formula 1 calendar, and has a wonderful atmosphere – the fans really embrace the Grand Prix each year. We also have the warm support of our colleagues from Honda Canada.
“After Jenson’s one-off appearance in Monaco, we will have Fernando back behind the wheel fresh from his great Indy 500 challenge. His bid to win in his rookie year came to a disappointing end, but once again Fernando showed what an incredible talent he is. He was a contender for victory throughout the legendary race and drove like a seasoned oval racer. I am looking forward to seeing him after his great adventure.
“Despite the beautiful nature of the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, this power-hungry, demanding track will not play to our strengths. With its power-oriented nature, stop and start corners, abrasive surface and long straights, it will no doubt be another challenging race weekend for us. However, we will keep pushing forward, no matter how tough the challenge ahead.”
“I like the whole circuit. I’ve always loved it and really enjoy racing there. It’s always a great feeling.
“ was a great race. I started P7. I had a one-stop strategy while everyone else was on a two-stop strategy. Initially, I thought I would finish fifth or sixth as I was stuck behind the Mercedes of (Nico) Rosberg. I couldn’t overtake. Then, everyone pitted. The ones who didn’t were really struggling with grip, so I could overtake them. I didn’t quite have the pace to chase Lewis (Hamilton) and take the win.
“[This year] there are a few things we can take [from Monaco], a few set-up items we’ve tried. Hopefully, we can make a good package. Canada is, of course, much faster than Monaco. It’s a city circuit, but very different from Monaco. You run less downforce because of the long straights. Mechanically, I think there are a few things we can carry over.
“We’ll be working on our brakes. It’s not our number one strength, but we’re getting better. For Canada, you need to know that when you hit the pedal, you’re going to get 100 percent of what you want. You don’t want a different feel from your demand. That’s what we need to work on. For the race, let’s see which cooling we can run. Worst case scenario – we have to do a bit of lift-and-coast to manage them.”
“It’s similar [to Monaco] in the way that you need big balls for Canada. It’s a really enjoyable circuit to drive. Always when the walls are close to the track, it makes it a lot more exciting.
“It’s going to be pretty tricky [with brakes]. We’ve had difficulties with temperatures and wear on the brakes this year. Canada is definitely going to be another tricky one, but I’m sure we’ll manage. “[The circuit’s] pretty bumpy and you need good braking points. The last chicane is pretty cool; one – because it’s a bumpy ride and you’ve got to be really precise with the turn in on the corner, and two – you’ve got that famous Wall of Champions on the outside that is always very exciting.”
Guenther Steiner, team principal
“Hopefully, we can apply the tyre data we’ve got from Monaco and it works the same or very similarly on the surface in Canada. The rest is down to aero and suspension adjustments. We’ve got some data from last year and I hope we can do well there.
“The biggest thing is the confidence of the driver in the brakes. More confidence means more speed. They need to be confident that the brakes always operate the same, at the same point, at the same time. That is the most important thing. The team can monitor the wear with telemetry, so if we get in danger we can actually tell the driver over the radio that they’re having a problem.”
“Canada is a great Grand Prix weekend, I love the circuit, I love the city and I love the atmosphere. The circuit is a combination of a street circuit and a race track. There are big walls on the exit with nice kerbs you have to ride. It is a track with a really nice flow so I enjoy it very much. The week in Montreal is always one of the best of the year.
“At the hairpin, you are surrounded by grandstands left and right and as a driver you get a really good sense of atmosphere there. On the drivers’ parade you usually get goose bumps when you see all the fans cheering, it is a lot of fun, especially when it is a full house. You can see how much Canada loves Formula 1 because the whole city embraces the race and the locals give us a very warm welcome. There’s a huge buzz around town and a lot of events that create a special atmosphere.
“Canada has a lot of focus on top speed, with a couple of straights combined with hard braking zones. It is one of the toughest tracks for brakes. You need confidence from the anchors, especially when you are trying to go deep into the corners. The final chicane can always be a tricky one as you can lose a lot of time there. It can be difficult as Canada is all about high speed, the low-downforce configuration always makes the car feel light. Kerbs are important, you need to ride them well if you can and use them to ensure a good lap time.
“It’s hard to overtake there, but the final chicane is definitely the best opportunity. You have to try and stay out of the ‘Wall of Champions’, though! The tyre choices are at the softer end of the range, so there will be some aggressive strategies, we will see what we can do.”
“I raced there for the first time last year, it is a street circuit again but a different one compared to Monaco, as there are more opportunities to overtake. The weather is a question mark as there have been many wet races there in the past. I enjoyed it last year, even though my race was rather curtailed for reasons outside my control. We should be a good chunk more competitive this time around. We’ll do everything we can to maximise the car around the track and we’ll be pushing all the way as usual. In terms of the city, the place is really cool and one which genuinely embraces Formula 1.
“It is a fun track with lots of sequences, we need to prepare for the exits of the corners and get ready for the long straights. Then there is the ‘Wall of Champions’, where you can win or lose a lot of time, or hit the wall as well. Monaco is good practice I think, we had a strong race there and hopefully we can build on the confidence. It will be a similar story to Monaco in terms of the new cars, with width and wider rear tyres making things tricky. You are right up against the walls in a lot of corners in Canada, and it will be even tighter and narrower with these cars!”
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director
“Montreal promises to be an exciting one for everybody involved. It is the 50th anniversary of Formula 1 in Canada and the 375th anniversary of Montreal as a city. It all adds up to be a special weekend, and we are very excited to get out there and getting on the circuit.
“Monaco was a very testing weekend for the team. We experienced reliability issues on mechanical components that were on the last race of their cycle. These are challenges that all teams can experience, it is part and parcel of life in modern-day Formula 1. Monaco highlighted the areas we need to improve and further confirmed elements we knew about. And with the new components, we are now ready to attack the next race with the same perseverance and attitude.
“Canada is all about bouncing back and making a fresh start. We now have a more robust engine and gearbox and we can fully focus on maximising performance. The team in Enstone are heading to the race with an aerodynamic package adapted to the Montreal circuit. However due to the challenges of the track, we certainly don’t expect an easy race.”
Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer
“Montreal is more demanding than Monaco regarding engine performance. It has longer straights, twisty bits with low speed corners but a bit more opportunity for the car to exercise its legs. Montreal is similar to Monaco in terms of demands on the driver to not make any minor errors as you can pay a heavy price. That is always a feature of Montreal, it puts a lot of energy on the brakes and tyres, lots of acceleration and braking which works the car hard. We will go with the softest three compounds, the softer of those compounds will be most favourable. We have some new bits including some aero upgrades specifically for this Grand Prix.
“There are a lot of kerbs around Montreal and to get a good time there you need to use them. Traditionally, in the last few races, that has not been our strong point, but we are making progress there and it will be a test for us. It will be a one-stop, I suspect. Temperature can be variable in Montreal which can make a big difference with tyres. Track temperature will play a significant part in strategy and set-up.”
“I love the Canadian Grand Prix and it’s my type of track. It’s another street circuit where you can get close to the walls, I’ve had a race win there and it’s great fun both on and off-track. What’s not to love?
“It’s also a tricky track to get right and although there aren’t a whole lot of corners they are all quite complex.
“I was pretty happy with my qualifying lap last year and the last chicane was fun but it would be really great to get back on the podium. Last year it was also freezing cold and to be honest that sucked. You would just about warm up after a few laps in the car, so hopefully it will be a little bit warmer this year.
“I will definitely spend some time in the US before heading to the race. I’ve got some friends coming with me so we will probably go to California first and maybe I will go on a little road trip after the race weekend. But first, let’s hope we can get a good result in front of those mega Canadian fans.”
“There is always a big crowd at the Canadian Grand Prix, especially at turns one and two and you can feel the atmosphere when you’re in the car. The fans are really into motor racing which is always nice to see and I’m looking forward to experiencing that again.
“One of my favourite points on the track is also one of the trickiest and that’s the last chicane. You arrive at the braking point at very high speed and the brakes can be quite cold. It’s tricky to really nail this corner but I had a good battle with Nico there last year and it’s always good when you come out in front. There are also tight walls on the exit of the chicane and you should be careful not to brush these as it is easy to damage a wheel rim. As usual the cars will run slightly less downforce in Canada so they will be a little looser under braking but we have more grip this year so it should be more comfortable for everyone compared to 2016.
“We stay in downtown Montreal which is a really nice place to be. I like being on the American continent, there is always a good feeling and I find the people very friendly so I always enjoy going back there!”
More to follow.