Reports

Canadian F1 Grand Prix

2017 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX – SET UP

The Canadian Grand Prix celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The race first took place at Mosport in August 1967, after which it switched to Mont Tremblant and then its current home on the Ile Notre-Dame, Montreal, in 1978 – a race that was won by Quebecois Gilles Villeneuve. The track was re-named the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after his death in 1982

NEED TO KNOW

Race title Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2017
Circuit name Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
First race 1978

TRAVEL

City Montreal
Time zone BST -5
Population 3.4 million
Surprising fact Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris
Local speciality Maple syrup. More than 85 per cent of the world’s maple syrup comes from Quebec, where it can be used in almost everything. A local favourite is maple butter on toast
Weather Montreal experiences weather extremes. In winter the temperature regularly drops to -30 degrees, while in the summer it can peak at +30 degrees. The build-up to this weekend’s race is dry, with expected temperatures of 21 degrees

Track

Track length 4.361km / 2.710 miles
2016 pole position Lewis Hamilton - 1:12.812s
2016 winner Lewis Hamilton, 70 laps - 1:31:05.296s
2016 fastest lap Nico Rosberg - 1:15.599s (lap 60)
Lap record 1:13.622s (Rubens Barrichello, 2004)
Tyre choice Purple Ultrasoft | Red Supersoft | Yellow Soft
Distance to Turn One 260m / 0.124 miles
Longest straight 1.16km / 0.721 miles (on the approach to Turn 12)
Top speed 335kmh / 208mph (on the approach to Turn 12)
Full throttle 67 percent
Brake wear High. There are seven significant braking events around the lap, all of them from high speed, and that makes this one of the toughest circuits of the year for brakes
Fuel consumption 1.8kg per lap, which is high
ERS demands High
Gear changes 56 per lap / 3920 per race

RACE

Laps 70 laps
Start time 14:00hrs local / 19:00hrs BST / 14:00hrs CET
Grid advantage Pole position is located on the left-hand-side of the track. The racing line is on the right, but the first braking zone (Turn Two) is for a left-hander, for which the pole-sitter has the inside line
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns One and 12
Don't put the kettle on... Lewis Hamilton won last year’s race with one pitstop, on lap 24, whereas Sebastian Vettel came second after stopping twice. With this year’s harder tyre compounds, strategy is expected to favour one pitstop, but confirmation of this will only come after Friday practice
Pitlane length/Pitstops 400m / 0.249 miles. Estimated time loss for a pitstop is 22s
Safety Car 80 per cent, which is high. The fast nature of the track, combined with the close proximity of the barriers, means even the smallest of mistakes can result in contact with the barrier. Thirteen of the last 18 races have been Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car-affected. It’s worth noting that the Canadian Grand Prix is the spiritual home of the Safety Car because it was at Mosport in 1973 that the Safety Car was first deployed in F1
Watch out for... Turns Two and Three. They are two of the slowest corners on the track, but a lot of action takes place here. It’s rare that the field makes it through this section unscathed on the opening lap of the race because it’s easy for cars to trip over each other – especially with this year’s wider cars. The approach is also the first DRS zone, so there’s often a lot of overtaking under braking

THE DRIVERS

FERNANDO ALONSO

“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!”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

“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.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“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 de 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

“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.”

2017 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE

“TOMORROW OUR PRIORITY IS TO PUSH TO GET INTO Q3”

Today in FP1, both cars ran as per their planned programmes for much of the session, until Fernando Alonso stopped out on track shortly before the end, owing to a hydraulic leak in the power unit. Fernando ended the session in 16th position, having completed 13 laps. Stoffel had a more productive session, completing the usual set-up changes and aero correlation work over 29 laps, and finishing with the 11th-fastest time. 

In FP2, fortunes were somewhat reversed. Stoffel had a smooth start to the session and was able to take to the track soon after a planned floor change. However, the team detected an issue with the MGU-H shortly before the end of the session, which curtailed his running by 15 minutes. The issue is now under investigation. Despite that, he managed 20 laps and finished the session in 19th place. 

On the other side of the garage, the team worked hard to ready Fernando’s car following the hydraulic leak, and fortunately it was a straightforward task that did not require any major component changes. Fernando got back behind the wheel just over 30 minutes before the end of running, and clocked the 7th-fastest time after 19 laps.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-03
FP1 1:16.521s (+2.712s) 13 laps 16th
FP2 1:14.245s (+1.310s) 19 laps 7th
FP3 1:13.885s (+1.313s) 18 laps 12th

“It’s not been an easy Friday. We lost FP1 and most of FP2 owing to a hydraulic leak issue. Due to the lack of track time, the car isn’t yet perfectly ‘tuned’ and there’s certainly room for improvement with regard to the set-up. 

“Nevertheless, I think we know this circuit, we’ve raced here for many years, and we should understand how to attack qualifying and the race, so our time loss should hopefully not translate into too much of a handicap. 

“Our expectations here are probably to be on the fringes of the top 10, but I’m glad we managed to put in some good laps at the end of the session, as we did in Barcelona, and we duly made it to P7 at the end. Tomorrow our priority is to push to get into Q3, but for that we need to do a good job.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-02
FP1 1:15.943s (+2.134s) 29 laps 11th
FP2 1:15.624s (+2.689s) 20 laps 19th
FP3 1:14.228s (+1.656s) 22 laps 16th

“Today has been a bit of a tricky day for the team. On my side, the first practice session went pretty well, and I was able to spend time getting to grips with the track as it’s my first time driving here. First off, the asphalt was quite dusty, but it improved quite a lot through the session. In the end, I was feeling quite positive and had a reasonable feeling in the car. 

“In FP2 I started well and felt that the set-up changes we’d made between the sessions had gone in the right direction. Unfortunately, on the Ultrasoft I had a spin towards the end – and then, shortly after, we discovered an issue with the MGU-H, which finished our afternoon’s running. 

“All in all, it hasn’t been a trouble-free day, which is a shame, but hopefully tomorrow everything will fall into place again and we should be able to improve our position.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“Today was yet another frustrating day for us, marred by a hydraulic failure for Fernando and an MGU-H problem for Stoffel. 

“Nonetheless, both drivers were happy enough with the balance and feel of their cars, Fernando posting a particularly impressive lap towards the end of FP2. 

“Tomorrow is a new day – and, as long as we have PU reliability, we should be in a position to make satisfactory preparations for qualifying.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“We faced a challenging opening day to the Canadian Grand Prix. 

“Despite the smooth start we had with both drivers, Fernando had to stop the car during the final part of FP1 due to a hydraulic issue. Although the issue itself was not a big one, it was disappointing Fernando lost some of his session time in FP2 to fix the issue.

“Stoffel went through the session plan almost as scheduled this morning, but this afternoon we made a call to stop his car as we detected an issue with his MGU-H at the end of the FP2 session. 

“Although we had a tough start today, we expect higher temperatures in tomorrow's qualifying. That means we’ll have different conditions to today, which could level out the playing field from FP3, and we think that will give us greater opportunity to catch up to our rivals in terms of set-up despite the loss of time this afternoon. 

“We'll fully utilise our time in FP3 to prepare for qualifying, and we hope to have a smooth session.”

2017 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

“FERNANDO GOT THE ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM OUT OF HIS CAR THIS AFTERNOON”

On a warm and sunny morning in Montreal, both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed a trouble-free FP3, allowing them to execute their run plans as scheduled and conduct the necessary final evaluations and set-up tweaks before qualifying. Stoffel completed 22 laps and set the 16th-fastest time, while Fernando did 18 laps, finishing the session in 12th before conducting pit-stop simulations. 

By qualifying, track temperatures had risen by a further six degrees Celsius. Both drivers started Q1 smoothly, but Stoffel fell foul of yellow flags on his final lap at the end of the session after Pascal Wehrlein went off the track. The incident meant Stoffel had to abort his final timed lap, and consequently missed out on progressing through to Q2 by just over a tenth of a second. He has qualified 16th for tomorrow’s race. 

Fernando opted to do his final run earlier than Stoffel in Q1, and was already comfortably through to Q2 when he too was forced to abort his last lap. He finished the session in 10th place. In Q2, he completed two runs of two laps each, and was lucky not to encounter any traffic on either run. He will start tomorrow’s race from 12th on the grid.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-03
Q1 1:13.669s (10th) Option tyre
Q2 1:13.693s (12th) Option tyre

“I think what we achieved in today’s qualifying was the maximum we could have hoped for. I’m happy with our performance – it was probably a bit quicker than we expected, actually, considering our power deficit. We’re in P12, not ideal position to start from, but I think our time compared to the pole time here is quite competitive for us. Obviously, we’d like to be further forward, but I believe we maximised the potential today with a good, clean lap. 

“The car has felt great so far. It’s been fun out there today, and the level of grip is very high. Even though the tyres are difficult to warm up, they’re very consistent and you can push throughout the run, so I think it’s going to be an interesting race. 

“The key to tomorrow’s race will be performance and reliability, as always. We’ll have to do some fuel saving and keep an eye on engine cooling, so it won’t be easy. But the first priority tomorrow will be to finish the race, and, if we can be in the points, that’ll be great.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-02
Q1 1:14.182s (16th) Option tyre

“It’s a shame that I had to abort my final Q1 lap when the yellow flags came out. I think we had the potential to get into Q2 – we were struggling a little bit with switching on the tyres on the first timed lap and we’d been improving our time on the second lap. I think the potential was there to progress on the second timed lap, and it would have been good enough to get us through to Q2 if it hadn’t been for the yellows, unfortunately. That’s how it is sometimes: we were unlucky. 

“In general we’ve found it difficult to get the tyres in the performance window and we know how difficult it is if you can’t get the temperatures up. In terms of actual performance, we’re not that far away; it’s just a case of needing that little bit more time to get the tyres working, and then we’re up there. 

“We’ll give it our best shot tomorrow. We know this track isn’t the most favourable for us, with all the long straights, and we’re compromising the set-up a little bit in order to boost our straight-line speed. Tomorrow, we’ll see: it’ll be a long race, hopefully it’ll be a decent one, and we can bring both cars to the finish, after which we’ll see where we end up.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“Fernando put in a typically brilliant performance here at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today, wringing every last hundredth of a second of available speed out of his car, and qualified an encouraging 12th as a result. 

“OK, I grant you, 12th isn’t much for him or indeed us to write home about, but believe me when I tell you that he got the absolute maximum out of his car this afternoon. 

“He had the benefit of not having been hampered by traffic on his quick laps, but Stoffel wasn’t so lucky. Both he and Fernando had found that two laps were required to put sufficient heat into the tyres to turn in an optimal lap, and as luck would have it Stoffel was confronted by waved yellow flags as he embarked on his second fast lap in Q1, triggered by Pascal’s [Wehrlein] accident. Bearing that in mind, his 16th place was a very creditable effort. 

“Fernando will be racing hard for points tomorrow – and, with good reliability, a bit of attrition in front of him, and a modicum of luck, Stoffel may well be able to do the same.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Despite the troubles we faced yesterday, we thought we were quick enough this weekend to go through to Q3, so it was disappointing that we only just missed out. 

“In this morning’s session, our team worked incredibly hard to make up for the lost track time yesterday, and we were able to go through the programme as planned in order to set up the cars for qualifying. 

“Fernando once again extracted the maximum speed out of the car, but just missed out on Q3 after a close battle with the midfield pack. Stoffel was very unlucky when yellow flags ruined his final run in Q1. 

“Although we’re expecting a long and hard race here tomorrow, I still think we have sufficient speed to be able to take home some points. Anything can happen in Canada, and hopefully with a bit of luck on our side we can have a successful afternoon.”

2017 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX – RACE

“FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS SEASON, WE DARED TO HOPE…”

A difficult day in the McLaren Honda garage at the Canadian Grand Prix. Both Fernando and Stoffel did well to avoid any first-lap chaos – Fernando lucky to avoid being caught up in a three-car incident. Stoffel made a strong start from the line, taking advantage of the melee and crossed the line after the first lap in 11th place. 

Both drivers opted for a one-stop strategy with a long first stint, and quickly settled into the pack. During the Virtual Safety Car following Max Verstappen’s retirement, Stoffel was overtaken by Kevin Magnussen before the VSC had ended – for which Magnussen later received a penalty, although the damage had been done as it left Stoffel vulnerable to the chasing pack behind on the notoriously power-hungry straights of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. He lost four places in three laps, and was powerless to mount any sort of fightback, settling into 15th position for much of the remainder of the race following his sole pit-stop, until he was gifted a position (14th) on lap 67 of 70. 

That position was granted to Stoffel by Fernando, who suffered a cruel fate three laps before the end of the race while in a points-paying position (10th) for the first time this season. On lap 67, Fernando lost oil pressure owing to a mechanical issue in the power unit, and was forced to retire from the race.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-03
Started 12th
Finished DNF - classified 16th (PU issue) 66 laps
Fastest lap 1:15.853s (lap 63) +1.302 (4th)
Pit stops One - lap 42 (2.86s) Option > Prime

“We were in the points with a couple of laps to the end but my engine gave up. I am frustrated, of course, but it’s not only about losing a point today, of course. 

“As a driver, we try to come here and drive as fast as we can, so missing on that point is disappointing especially for the guys, who have been working so much day and night, preparing the car, preparing the strategy and taking care of every single detail. 

“Our chassis feels quite strong in the corners, but we are being overtaken by everyone in the middle on the straights. It’s tough times. 

“The support we have from the fans in Canada is great, so when my car stopped I thought we should give something back, and I went up the grandstand to give my gloves to the people who had been cheering me on.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-02
Started 16th
Finished 14th
Fastest lap 1:16.774s (lap 69) +2.223s (14th)
Pit stops One - lap 45 (2.73s) Option > Prime

“It was a difficult race. I think we more or less knew that before the start. We found it tough on the straights, and also the amount of fuel saving we had to do today really hurt us. The closing speed of the other cars was really impressive, so we were a bit of a sitting duck. In the end, we made it to the finish, but it’s not the result we were hoping for. 

“It’s incredibly difficult to stay with the group ahead, and when we can stay with the group we are vulnerable and don’t have the power to defend, so we have to invent some tricks to keep the other cars behind, and then it all starts to become very challenging. 

“There’s no point moaning about it – I’m just trying to get on with my job – but I just hope there will be improvements soon so we can actually start racing with the others.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

"For the first time this season, running in 10th place within spitting distance of the flag, we dared to hope. 

"OK, what we were daring to hope for were hardly rich pickings: a solitary world championship point for Fernando, who had driven superbly all afternoon, as he's driven superbly every race-day afternoon for the past two-and-a-half years. But, after so much toil and heartache, even that single point would have felt like a victory. 

"And then came yet another gut-wrenching failure. 

"It's difficult to find the right words to express our disappointment, our frustration and, yes, our sadness. So I'll say only this: it's simply, and absolutely, not good enough."

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Today was especially disappointing as Fernando was on course to score our first point of the 2017 season. 

“Of course, it is not our aim to score the occasional point, but it would have at least been a step forward and a reward for all of the team’s hard work these past few races. 

“After avoiding the first-lap incident, Fernando managed his race well and had consistent pace throughout. The team also did a great job with the strategy keeping him ahead of his closest rivals. Unfortunately, with just a couple of laps remaining, Fernando's PU lost oil pressure due to a mechanical issue. We won’t know the exact cause until we get the power unit back to Sakura for a full investigation. 

“Stoffel had a great start to his race, but lost out during the Safety Car periods. Despite this, it was a step in the right direction for him today, and positive that he finished the race. 

“There is still a gap between us and our competitors, and we must continue to improve our reliability. We cannot stay in our current position and we will maintain our tireless development in order to close the gap.”