"Monaco provided another fantastic weekend for the team. We approached the event with cautious optimism, but without being entirely confident that our car would enjoy the same performance differential as seen at the previous rounds of the season. This made the result all the more satisfying, particularly given the special effort put in by everyone involved to prepare for the unique challenges of this race. We now head to Canada, which is another unusual circuit but in the opposite vein to Monte Carlo. It’s very much a power circuit and we’re looking forward to seeing how the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid package performs around this type of track layout. Endurance will also be an important factor given the high demands placed on the components, so this weekend will provide a comprehensive test of the Power Unit. There were some concerns after Monaco following a retirement for Valtteri Bottas but the team at Brixworth have been working extremely hard to understand that problem and ensure that it is contained across every engine. We are confident that this will be the case. In Montreal, we have a circuit at which Lewis has traditionally excelled and, with both him and Nico on top of their game, we’re expecting them to push each other all the way through the weekend once more. As always this will of course depend on the team providing a good package and equally strong reliability. We will be bringing a number of updates to the car, both on the power unit and aerodynamic side, so it should be an interesting weekend. Montreal is a fantastic venue that provides great racing, good weather and a lively atmosphere thanks to some very enthusiastic fans. Overall we’re excited about the weekend ahead."
Montreal: On the Pit Wall
Canada stands in stark contrast to the most recent rounds of the season in Spain and Monaco. Where Barcelona is seen as a reference point for overall car performance and the streets of Monte Carlo are totally unique, Montreal presents teams with fresh challenges in terms of high power requirements and heavy braking zones. Despite a lap of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve being relatively short, the nature of the layout could well reveal larger performance differentials between cars than those seen at previous events this season.
Brakes are one of the key performance areas in Canada. There is a lot of duty going into the brakes at various points around the circuit, with some big stops following long periods at full power. Managing the brakes in the most efficient manner will be a focal point of the weekend.
The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is high power sensitivity circuit. Aside from the long straights and fast nature of the circuit, power delivery out of the slower turns, the hairpin in particular, is crucial. Furthermore, as one of the more thirsty tracks on the calendar, this is a circuit where the efficiency formula will come to the fore.
Unlike Monaco, overtaking is particularly prevalent in Canada. The DRS effect is reasonably powerful here which, coupled with big braking zones, should generate ample passing opportunities.
Problems with the track surface at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve often occur over the winter. This is most prevalent at the Turn 10 hairpin, where the tarmac is often found to be pulling up around the apex. As a result, the track surface is resurfaced quite frequently and thus changes considerably, making it tricky to predict how tyres may perform on a given day.
As per the last race in Monaco, the soft and supersoft compounds have been nominated for this event. Around the streets of Monte Carlo, these compounds behaved very sensibly with no significant issues to report. However, Montreal is a much tougher circuit in terms of tyre duty and should provide a sterner test of this particular allocation.
Although the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix was very wet indeed, it stands as the only rain-affected race in Montreal since 2001. Although there have been wet sessions throughout a handful of weekends, Sundays have tended to remain dry.
In terms of retirements, Montreal is above average for a number of reasons. The infamous ‘Wall of Champions’ has brought races to a premature end for many drivers, as has damage incurred through excessive contact with the sizeable kerbs. However, the layout itself has traditionally proven the main factor as it is particularly tough on engines. The advantage for the teams in terms of countering this threat is that, with six races complete, the season now enters a new gearbox cycle window. Some teams may also elect to use fresh engines, as this could be seen as a benefit given the power sensitive nature of the circuit and the stress it places on components.
Unsurprisingly given the potential for reliability issues, safety cars have traditionally been prevalent in Canada. Six of the last nine Canadian Grands Prix have been neutralised by a safety car at least once during the race: five in the case of 2011. Similar to Albert Park in Melbourne, removing a stricken car from the track quickly and cleanly is a tough task. In many locations, even a mechanical breakdown will require a Safety Car to neutralise the race.