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Canada preview quotes - Toro Rosso, Mercedes, Williams & more

03 Jun 2015

Few races on the calendar are as universally popular with the teams and drivers as Canada, with Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve renowned for drawing an enormous crowd and for producing exceptional racing. Those involved look ahead to round seven of the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship…

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo

“Winning (last year) has made me love (the circuit) a little bit more, but really I’ve loved it since my first lap, back when I was driving for Toro Rosso. I remember coming back into the pits and saying ‘what a circuit,’ I was amazed at how good it was - and I’d only done an install. It’s just a ridiculous amount of fun. You can jump across the kerbs and really get the car bouncing around. It’s like getting back to go-kart days, you really feel like you own it - and I love that. You can get aggressive with it, and aim to just brush the wall.

“There’s a lot of risk but that brings a lot of adrenaline with it. It’d be wonderful if you were doing it in isolation but with 100,000 screaming fans urging you on, it’s just mega. How do you judge the risk versus reward between the walls? It’s a clear choice: some guys will play it safe and sacrifice half a tenth to get through there cleanly; others who will take a risk and go flat out trying to find a little bit. The nearer you are, the faster you’ll go. Give the wall a kiss and you feel pretty good: Kiss it too hard and that’s it!

“The city is awesome. Great places to eat and drink - plus the fact Crescent Street is closed off for a big party is very, very cool. The whole city gets involved in the race and you get the impression that the grand prix is really embraced.”

Daniil Kvyat

“(The circuit) is quite intense but in a very different way (to Monaco). The straights are long but you have these big braking zones. It has a little bit of the feeling of street circuit because of the walls but it is more of a traditional, classic track. It has a unique feeling though and it’s a great place for racing. It’s great for drivers and the races are usually very exciting, so I’m looking forward to it.

“The atmosphere is always really good. It’s a great crowd and they seem to really know a lot about F1, which is great. From what I’ve seen (Montreal) is a good city, but to be honest I haven’t actually been out and about there very much. However, my trainer likes it very much, because of the hockey. He’s a former hockey player so he loves it there. We’ve visited the stadium and I’ve watched a few games on the TV because it’s often play-off season [the Stanley Cup] when we’re there, so he’s always watching it.”

Lotus

Romain Grosjean

“I have very good memories from 2012 when I went from seventh on the grid to my first second place in Formula One. It was a really great day and it was really a strong team result as we used a one-stop strategy to get on the podium after a disappointing qualifying session the day before. The last couple of years haven’t been so good for me, I had to retire from last year’s race and in 2013 we struggled in the wet weather conditions.

“As for Montreal itself, it’s a wonderful city to visit. There are obviously a lot of French speakers so it’s like another home race for me, and the fans are so welcoming and knowledgeable. There are also some very good restaurants in Montreal which is always a bonus.

“Montreal is in-between a normal circuit and a street circuit. The walls are very close in some places, while other parts are similar to a European circuit. It’s definitely unique and we normally bring a different downforce package for that reason, which adds another unknown factor to the weekend. The circuit is not used for the rest of the year so the grip will change a lot - something we’ll have to adapt to - and the weather can also be tricky. Hopefully it’ll be nice and sunny because it’s a race I really like – and it’s my favourite circuit to race on the Xbox. The last chicane is a notable feature and overall it’s a good track.

“I enjoy the sensation of being close to the walls. Montreal is different from Monaco as there are some long straights and some big braking moments. The track surface can also present challenges as we’ve seen in other seasons, so it will be interesting to see what the grip level is like this year and that will certainly be on your mind as you take to the track for the first time over the weekend.”

Pastor Maldonado

“Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is amazing and I always enjoy being there. Canada is a great race not only because of the track but because of the people who come to support it. There is a great atmosphere all weekend and the city is quite close to the circuit which means there is a great vibe all round. There is also a lot of history to the Grand Prix and it has been around for a while - it is one of the great GPs during the season.

“What do you need for a fast lap around the track? You need a good race car to have confidence to push and that is something we have with the E23. You use the kerbs quite a lot, so you need to be able to ride the bumps well and you need good turn-in for the chicanes. Also, like Monaco, you need to stay away from the walls. You should get close, but making contact is too close!

“You never know what the weather can be like in Montreal. I’ve been there when it’s been pretty hot, but I’ve also been there when it’s cold and when it’s very wet. Any of these conditions can make things interesting especially as the track isn’t used much so you don’t know how it might react.

“I’m approaching every race wanting to finish in the points. The circuit in Canada has its own challenges but there’s nothing to say we shouldn’t be fast there. This year’s car has felt good so I’ll be pushing for points in the race. At most of the races this year we’ve looked strong all through the weekend and it’s been the final piece of crossing the finish line in the points which has been out of reach. That’s what we want this weekend.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy team principal

“There are a few races which are classics on the calendar, and Montreal is certainly on that list. The Canadian Grand Prix is a part of Formula One’s DNA. Canadians and Montreal have been a real part of the history of Formula One. The city really comes alive for the race weekend, it is a fantastic place to go.”

“I named my first house Gilles’ Blue Ranch which should give you an idea of my enthusiasm for Gilles Villeneuve, who the circuit is named after. He was such a passionate, talented driver, racing in an era very different from today. The whole city has a very special place in my heart, from the architecture, the people, the bars, restaurants and cafes. It’s certainly one place where I wish the race weekend was a lot longer.”

Nick Chester, Technical director

“It isn’t a track that is much run on through the year so it can be quite dirty and low on grip at the start of the weekend. The weather can be variable and generating tyre temperatures can be a challenge in Montreal. We will have the Pirelli soft and super soft tyres available and they should help with the low grip of the track. It’s a circuit that has a lot of long straights making it a power and low drag track. It’s a medium to low downforce circuit meaning that we would take quite a bit of downforce off for Montreal. The E23 performed well in the slow speed corners around Monaco, so this combined with the long straights should suit us quite well.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"Canada often turns out to be one of the best races of the season, with a set of track characteristics that are not replicated anywhere else throughout the year. As a result it often throws up a few surprises and it’s also possible to win from lower down the grid, especially if you use a clever tyre strategy, or if it rains, or if there is a safety car: all of which are very possible in Montreal. Once again we have nominated the soft and supersoft tyres: the supersoft compound has been completely redesigned this year to provide even greater resistance to graining and blistering. With the cool weather that we often see in Montreal, this resistance to graining in particular is something that should be appreciated by the teams. As anything can happen in Canada, the best strategy is always one that has a certain degree of flexibility, allowing teams to react to changing circumstances. As we saw in Monaco, the strategy stakes can be very high."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

"I am looking forward to getting back to racing in Canada after leaving Monaco empty-handed. The track in Montreal should be one that suits us. It's a power circuit because of the long straights and you need good traction to get out of the low-speed corners. To be quick you need to attack the kerbs and be brave enough to get close to the walls. We will have soft and supersoft tyres again, which worked quite well for us in Monaco, so I think we can target points this weekend.

"It's an unusual circuit, but I enjoy driving there and I really like the Canadian Grand Prix as an event. It's one of my favourite races of the year. The city is cool, with a great buzz, and everybody gives us a warm welcome. There's definitely a special feeling throughout the city during Grand Prix week."

Sergio Perez

"I'm very positive at the moment. I feel I'm driving at my best and getting the most from every race. Monaco was pretty much a perfect weekend in terms of maximising our potential. I don't think I could have come away with more from that race. So it was a very satisfying result for the whole team. Montreal is one of my favourite tracks. I still remember my podium there in 2012 - that was such a special result. Last year's race was also one of my best, until the final lap! It was a race we had a real chance to win, but things just didn't go our way in the end.

"Montreal is a race where anything can happen and it's quite unpredictable. You need to be brave and keep fighting all the way. I hope this year we can be strong once again. It's definitely a power track where the engine counts for a lot and the circuit always produces a good race."

Vijay Mallya, team principal

"Coming away from Monaco with six points was a fantastic result. I've been saying we need to maximise our opportunities and continue picking up points, and that's exactly what we delivered in Monaco. Sergio was outstanding all weekend and we could not have asked any more of him. It was a very mature performance and a well-deserved result. Nico also showed his class, but bad luck kept him just outside the points. 

"The team is in a good place as we head to Canada. We've often gone well in Montreal and it's one of those races where anything can happen – as we saw last year with Sergio challenging for the victory. The track layout means it should be one of our better circuits so it's another opportunity to continue our fight for fifth place in the championship."

Marussia

Will Stevens

"After the luxury of a couple of races at tracks I'm quite familiar with, it's a step back outside the comfort zone for Montreal and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. I'm pleased with the way I acclimatise to new circuits, although this is certainly one to be respected as it's pretty unique; a lot of fun but with more than its fair share of challenges. It has that street circuit feel like Monaco, because the walls are so close, but the similarity ends there and it's a track where we really have to look after the brakes. And of course, the right hand side of the car at ‘The Wall of Champions'! Avoiding that will be my first objective, but bigger picture, I hope to have a stronger race than I experienced in Monaco but another great team result with both cars taking the chequered flag."

Roberto Merhi

"The races are coming thick and fast now and it feels like we are in a good rhythm, which certainly made a difference for me in Monaco. I was very happy with my performance there. I'm looking forward to Canada next, as the track looks pretty challenging but also a lot of fun; a real adrenaline rush. The mix of long straights and really slow sections is interesting and I know the weather can play a big part in mixing things up a bit. I hear great things about Montreal also; plenty of events for the fans and a fantastic city to experience. Monaco gave me a real boost, so I can't wait to be back in the car at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, picking up where I left off there in performance terms and extracting as much as possible from the current package."

John Booth, team principal

"It's a real treat to have a race like Canada taking place hot on the heels of Monaco. Two fantastic Formula One destinations, but two very different racetracks as we switch from very high downforce to low downforce specification for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. This track is all about power and brakes, as the long straights see drivers touching 335km/h and on full throttle for over 50 per cent of the lap, before giving way to some very slow sections, with some turns being taken at sub-100kmh. At the hairpin, they're braking hard down to 60km/h. There's also the ‘Wall' to think about, so it's a real challenge for the drivers to put together a quick and clean lap here. Coupled with the fantastic street parties and incredible atmosphere in downtown Montreal, this is a great race for the fans and, naturally, one where we hope to extend our run of two-car finishes. We look forward to seeing what Will and Roberto can do here."

McLaren

Fernando Alonso

"It's great to be going back to North America. Montreal is a great city and the circuit is up there with the most exciting tracks on the calendar. It has so much history and some great battles have happened there between legendary drivers, so it's always special to get in the car and experience this circuit and all the unpredictable elements that go with it - it's a really exhilarating place.

"Jenson's points in Monaco were a great boost for the whole team and more proof of the progress we are making race by race. On my side of the garage, it's disappointing to have had two technical issues in a row, but as usual we're working extremely hard to understand these problems. Reliability is always the most important factor, so before performance we must focus on making sure we start the weekend positively and maximise the practice sessions to get our car properly set up for this track.

"The circuit itself is tricky - that's what makes it so special - and always provides great racing. It's obviously very different from Monaco because it's so high-speed, but, like Monaco, there are lots of technical corners that mean you need to focus on having good balance and downforce in the car, especially under braking. Despite the reliability issues I've had in the last two races, the car has felt good, so our priority is to have a trouble-free weekend and get the maximum performance out of our package."

Jenson Button

"After the whirlwind that is Monaco I'm really looking forward to heading back to Montreal. I love the city, the people are friendly, the atmosphere is buzzing and it's just a really great place to be. The fans there are incredible and they always give us such a warm welcome.

"The circuit is a real racer's track and I absolutely love it, it's definitely one of my favourites. It's the place where I had probably my most famous victory back in 2011, so it'll be interesting to see what the changeable weather will throw at us this year - it's something that's definitely part of Montreal's charm!

"Getting points on the board has been really positive and shows that we're continuing to make big strides, but, if anything, it's spurred us on even more to keep pushing until we reach where we want to be. Fernando hasn't had much luck in the last few races so we all need to keep our heads down and keep fighting to make sure we get both cars to the flag. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve requires good top speed, so we can't underestimate the challenge, but anything can happen there - and usually does - so we'll be getting stuck in right from the word go."

Eric Boullier, McLaren Honda racing director

"From Monaco to Montreal - two very different racetracks but ones that share a lot of similar characteristics. Like Monaco, Montreal is a real racer's track, but for very different reasons: there's lots of sweeping corners and it's a complex technical challenge for our engineers. For McLaren, it's a very special place - we've won 13 grands prix there - and it's a circuit that always produces fantastic racing.

"Of course, we can't be pleased with eighth position, and we're still a long way behind where we want to be. Nonetheless, I'm proud of our progress and the rate of development we're maintaining, and we're continuing this push with every grand prix. Although I don't like to dwell on the past too much, comparing the pre-season tests with our current performance shows just how hard we've worked to fight towards the front.

"Our more promising performances have been scuppered by frustrating technical issues though, most recently on Fernando's side of the garage, so we're working hard to iron these out so that we can really see the potential of both cars and keep developing. We must target improved reliability and consistency in order to achieve our maximum potential. While the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve doesn't play to our car's strengths, Montreal is a great place to put our car to the test; it's a world-class city with world-class fans and we'll be working very hard as usual to put on a good show for our loyal supporters."

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

"At Monaco, I was very happy that McLaren-Honda scored its first championship points. This was down to the continuous hard work of the team. Of course, it was unfortunate Fernando retired as we were hoping to get both cars home in the points, but we gain more confidence as the season goes on. Our power unit is progressing in the right direction, and we've taken another step upwards as a team.

"The Canadian GP will be very different. This track is flat with long and fast straights, where the throttle is often fully open, which is tough on the power unit and fuel economy. Furthermore, hard braking is required. All in all, the circuit needs a completely different power unit setting from Monaco. We'll prepare the power unit so that it performs to its full potential during the weekend."

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson

"I am looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix. I like the track, it is a combination of a street and permanent circuit. It is a traditional race with a lot of history and I will enjoy to race there. Montreal is one of the tracks that should suits our car better mainly because of the long straights. As we do have a high top speed, it could be positive for us. Besides the engine power, braking stability as well as a good change of direction will be important. The many long straights also make overtaking easier on this track. Due to the track characteristics, I think our performance should be stronger in Montreal."

Felipe Nasr

"It will be my first time driving on this track in Montreal. It is a challenging circuit because there are some tricky chicanes, but I think I am going to enjoy driving there. In oder to prepare well I will watch on-board videos. I am confident the many long straights could be a benefit for us as we do have a competitive straightline speed. The track also requires good braking stability and traction."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering

"Although we managed to score two points at Monaco, the last two races have been rather difficult for the Sauber F1 team. Our main target for the Canadian grand prix is to turn this around. The nature of the Montreal circuit is remarkably different and we expect it to fit the C34 better: straight-line speed, braking and generally low-speed cornering performance dominate for lap time. Depending on the weather, at times rainy, the track allows to alter the aerodynamic configuration of the car trading off downforce for drag reduction. We will have again the soft and supersoft tyres. It will be important to place our drivers further up the grid, and from there target to score more points."

Williams

Valtteri Bottas

“Montreal is a great track and a great city. Every year I really look forward to this race, as the circuit is fast and enjoyable to drive plus the fans really make it a special one. The track is a street circuit so improves a lot during practice and qualifying. You need a good power unit and efficient aerodynamics from the car to be quick here, as well as good traction out of the slow chicanes and hairpins. With the improvements to the car that we are taking to Montreal, I think we will be able to fight for a strong points finish.”

Felipe Massa

“Last year was a good race and we showed strong pace all weekend, but unfortunately for me it didn’t end in the best possible way. We know the FW37 is similar and so should be quick at this particular track. The Montreal circuit is completely different to the last race and we fully expect our performance levels to be back to where they were at the start of the season. We should be able to start getting closer to Ferrari and have a real battle with them and the other teams around us.”

Rob Smedley, Head of vehicle performance

“I think that, regardless of the result in Monaco, Canada should very much suit the Williams car, especially in race trim. We are confident heading into the weekend that we can get some good points. It’s a great track, with medium/high efficiency and a strong trend towards low drag and high power, which are two areas that we are fairly well off in. We need to get the car set-up and tyre management under control early on in the race weekend, which will then give us the opportunity to then tweak and hone our package to maximise our points haul. Montreal’s also a great place; a nice cosmopolitan city with very passionate and welcoming fans.”

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

"I think everything that needs to be said about Monaco has already been said. Obviously, it was a huge disappointment for me and also for the team. But we'll learn from it and move forwards together like we always do. I just want to get back out there and bounce back - and I could hardly ask for a better place to do that than Montreal. This is always one of my favourite weekends. The racing is fantastic, the city is a lot of fun and the crowds are really enthusiastic. I haven't always had the best of luck in Canada - but I've never finished off the podium there either and it's given me some great memories, including my first win. I know I've got the car underneath me and the team behind me to do it again, so I'm aiming for nothing less."

Nico Rosberg

"I still can't quite believe I was standing on the top step in Monaco for the third time the other week. It was all very surreal and I don't think I've ever been so lucky. However, that weekend also showed that I need to raise my game even further in the battle this year. I've got the boost of two wins behind me now, there is a long way to go this season and I know there is more to come from me personally, so it's all to play for. Next up it's Canada, which was a really difficult race for us last year but an exciting one too. Hopefully we will avoid the traps that caught us out last year and it'll be another good battle for the fans to enjoy."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"Monaco has been tough for all of us to swallow. You can never afford to drop points and this was a reminder that any error can prove costly. However, we must also remember how far we have come to be disappointed with a P1 and P3 finish in Monaco. So, we take it on the chin as a team, learn from our mistakes and now look ahead to the next race in Canada. It's a circuit that is tough on the car so good preparation will be crucial. We saw Nico produce one of the drives of the season there last year and Lewis has an exceptional record in Montreal, so we know we can rely on them to do the job. But there is no room for complacency, with our rivals ready and waiting to jump on any opportunity. There is still a long way to go this season and many points to be won."

Paddy Lowe, Executive director (technical)

"There has been a great deal of comment concerning our mistake in Monaco and its consequences. On behalf of the team, this error should be put into context. It was a single error made in a split second based on incorrect data. Sport is all about split-second decisions, trading risk with reward, and we do not always get these decisions right. But in my opinion this team gets them right more than most. However, as in all aspects we must always improve, and the failure in Monaco will undoubtedly play its part in that process. Moving on to Canada: this is one of the team's favourite venues and presents a rather unique circuit with long straights, mostly slow corners and hence a lot of very big stops. So the main themes for the weekend are power and brakes! We will bring new Power Units to this event, the second units of 2015 for each driver. Our first Power Units were used for six complete race weekends, an incredible achievement by the team at Brixworth that saw both achieve total mileages of over 4,000 km. We suspect our competitors may also bring new Power Units, which this year may be upgraded in-season using development tokens, so it will be interesting to see whether and how the 'balance of power' is shifted this weekend. The Montreal track is hard on the whole car, not just the engine and brakes, so we are concentrating our efforts to get two cars to the finish, something we did not manage last year. We take nothing for granted performance-wise, either; the uniqueness of the track means that there will be a lot to get right if we are to bring home the top prizes."

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen

“I’m feeling fine now after the unfortunate end to the Monaco Grand Prix and there are no after affects from the crash. I even spent a day karting afterwards so everything is fine on the physical side. Canada will be a challenging race for us with its long straights, but I think we can have another strong weekend anyway. It will be the first time for me in Canada and I’ve heard a lot of great things about the circuit, the city and the country so I’m looking forward to it.”

Carlos Sainz

“Canada will be another completely new track for me. It’s a semi-street circuit and like the last venue in Monaco, you can get very close to the walls at the side of the track. I was in Montreal last year, as I went to watch the Grand Prix, and I really enjoyed spending time in the city, which I liked a lot and the track itself looks very interesting. I’m looking forward to my first experience of driving the track, which looks as though it provides some good overtaking opportunities. We will again have the Soft and Supersoft tyres and we can expect high degradation, so it could be a challenging weekend on that front."