2013 Formula One Canadian Grand Prix
After two races in Europe, Formula One once again moves into flyaway mode, travelling to Montreal and the Canadian Grand Prix. The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve hosts the seventh round of an enthralling 2013 FIA F1 World Championship.
Canada never fails to provide an entertaining grand prix. The high speeds and heavy braking zones make it a paradise for overtaking, while the unforgiving walls which hem in the race track on all sides provide a drama all of their own. Additionally, the weather rarely fails to play a part in the race: searing heat and tremendous downpours have both been commonplace in recent years – either of which can serve to turn race strategy on its head.
While the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve creates a host of challenges for engineers, the standout problem around its 4.361 kilometres is braking performance. The long, thin course is a stop-start race track, with a succession of straights broken up by chicanes and a hairpin. The combination of heavy braking zones and relatively short straights sees pads and discs pushed to their limits but denied decent intervals in which to cool down. It means brakes are pushed harder here than anywhere else on the grand prix calendar.
F1 comes to Canada with the familiar sight of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing leading their respective World Championships – but neither the German driver nor his Anglo-Austrian team has demonstrated any conclusive superiority this term. Four teams have recorded victories in the opening six races of the season, and despite each proving itself capable of dominating under the right circumstances, none has reached the top step of the podium without being made to work exceptionally hard for the privilege. The Canadian Grand Prix promises no less.
Friday June 7, 2013
Practice 1 – 14:00 GMT
Practice 2 – 18:00 GMT
Saturday June 8, 2013
Practice 3 – 14:00 GMT
Qualifying – 17:00 GMT
Sunday June 9, 2013
Race – 18:00 GMT
The have been 43 Formula One Canadian Grands Prix, the first being won by Jack Brabham in 1967. That race was held at Mosport Park, as were the races in 1969, 1971-74 and 1976-7. In 1968 and 1970 the race was held at Mont-Tremblant. It moved to its present home in 1978. The Canadian Grand Prix was not held in 1975, 1987 or 2009.
McLaren is the leading constructor at the Canadian Grand Prix with 13 victories, to Ferrari’s 11 and Williams’ seven. Nine of McLaren’s total came at this circuit, including a hat-trick of victories in the past three years.
Michael Schumacher is the leading driver at this race by some distance, with seven victories. Lewis Hamilton is the only multiple winner in this year’s field. He has three victories here (2007, 2010, 2012). Other winners racing this year are Kimi Räikkönen (2005), Fernando Alonso (2006) and Jenson Button (2011).
Of the seven braking points at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, four have loads in excess of 5G, the harshest of which is the approach to the hairpin, at which cars will brake from 300kph down to a first-gear 60kph for the tight turn.
The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve offers a rare opportunity to compare various elite series. Champ Car made its final appearance here in 2006 and Sébastien Bourdais took pole position with a time of 1:20.005. When F1 visited in the same summer, Fernando Alonso had pole with 1:14.942 (though went quicker in Q2). The 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race had Alex Tagliani on pole with a time of 1:40.865, in contrast to Sebastian Vettel’s 2012 F1 pole time of 1:13.784.
Unlike the previous grand prix, held on the streets of Monaco, the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve does not confer any particular advantage on pole position. Since 2000, the race has only been won from pole on four occasions. It has also been won from second on the grid four times in this period.
On his way to victory in 2011, Jenson Button occupied last place as late as lap 40. That notwithstanding, the race doesn’t particularly favour a charge through the field: it has never been won by anyone starting outside the top ten, and then only once from the fifth row, when Jacques Laffite won from tenth position for Ligier in 1981.
Originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit, it was renamed in honour of Gilles Villeneuve after his death. In 1978 Villeneuve won the inaugural grand prix held on the island. Of the current F1 calender, the other circuit named in honour of a former driver is the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, home of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Like Villeneuve, Pace was a grand prix winner and local hero at the circuit now bearing his name.
Villeneuve’s win was the first of his six grand prix victories. Four other drivers have taken their debut win at this circuit: Thierry Boutsen (1989), Jean Alesi (1995), Lewis Hamilton (2007) and Robert Kubica (2008).
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