Since 1978, the Formula 1 circus has put up the Big Top in the biggest city of Quebec province, which features a mix of a typical urban skyline and the Old Town, the latter being a particular favourite with tourists.
The race cars will be whizzing around the Montreal circuit named in honour of the unforgettable Gilles Villeneuve, the local hero who won the first ever edition of this race back in 1978.
The track layout uses the perimeter roads of the manmade Ile Notre Dame, in the St, Laurence Seaway estuary. The Gilles Villeneuve circuit is 4.3 kilometres in length and features long straights, interrupted by a series of chicanes and slow corners.
Here, what you need is a car that’s very stable under braking and with great traction, while being able to ride the kerbs in reasonable comfort is the key to success. That’s easy to say, but harder to achieve. The cars run in low downforce configuration to favour top speed as much as possible, but that means grip in the corners is always at a premium and the cars tend to slide a lot.
As a semi-permanent track, Montreal offers low levels of grip and the choice and management of the tyres can be the difference between winning and losing. Other unpredictable factors that must not be overlooked are the changeable weather and the high probability of the Safety Car having to make an appearance.
Ferrari is the most successful team on the Gilles Villenueve Circuit, with 11 wins to its name, while Michael Schumacher heads the drivers’ list on 7, one more than Lewis Hamilton.
FIRST GRAND PRIX: 1978
NUMBER OF LAPS: 70
CIRCUIT LENGTH: 4.361 KM
RACE DISTANCE: 305.270 KM
LAP RECORD: 1:13.622 – RUBENS BARRICHELLO (2004)
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