Round seven of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship sees the sport embark on its first North American trip of the season, to Montreal, home of the Canadian Grand Prix.
Long a favourite race destination for teams, drivers and fans, Canada this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of F1’s arrival on its shores, at Ontario’s Mosport Circuit. After a decade of racing there and at Quebec’s Mont-Tremblant, the race found a permanent and enormously popular home in Montreal and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is now is sixth on the list of most- visited F1 venues, only being eclipsed by the equally storied Nurburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone, Monaco and Monza.
It’s a circuit that presents drivers with a unique set of challenges too, blending high speeds with heavy braking zones. The semi- permanent facility also has the feel of a street circuit in that the barriers are close and the grip level is low, especially at the start of the weekend. In short, it’s not a circuit for the faint of heart.
To counteract the lack of grip, tyre supplier Pirelli is this weekend bringing the softest compounds in its range, the Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft. The combination was last used in Monaco and has also been used in Russia and Australia this year.
Sebastian Vettel heads to Montreal with a 25-point Drivers’ Championship lead over chief title rival Lewis Hamilton. However, this is a circuit at which the Mercedes driver excels, with Montreal being one of three tracks the Briton has won at ﬁve times (the others being the Shanghai International Circuit and the Hungaroring), and after a difficult Monaco, he will be hoping that local form works in his favour this weekend.
In the Constructors’ Championship, a one-two finish in Monaco swung the pendulum back in favour of Ferrari and the Italian squad goes into this weekend with a 17-point advantage over Mercedes.
For 2017, the following alterations to the circuit have been made:
- Large sections of ageing guardrail have been replaced by wall blocks, mainly in Turns 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 10. All the new walls have been ﬁtted with new debris fences of varying height. A new debris fence has also been installed on the wall on the driver’s right between Turn 14 and the finish line.
- The gravel around the outside of Turn 8 has been replaced by asphalt and the Grass-Crete around the outside of Turn 13 has also been replaced by asphalt.
- Tyre barriers have been replaced by TecPro barriers in Turns 1, 2, 3, 8, 10 and 13 and a 180m SAFER barrier has been installed around the outside of Turn 5.
- A second gate has been installed in the pit wall.
There are two DRS zones at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. They share a single detection point, located 110m before Turn Nine. The ﬁrst activation point is 55m before Turn 12 and the second is 70m after Turn 14.