Montréal grinds to a halt this week as Formula One drives into town for the sixth round of the Championship and the Canadians embrace one of their most favoured sporting events, the Canadian Grand Prix. Hosted by the city since 1978, this year's race will be Montréal's 29th and the country's 39th since the event debuted on the calendar in 1967. The first of the North American back-to-backs, Montréal is a preferred venue among the teams as the circuit provides every challenge a Formula One driver could wish for, while the fans bring the atmosphere as Formula One fever grips one of Canada's most vibrant cities.
The enforced test ban between Monaco and Montréal means that the team will draw heavily on the preparation work carried out at the Paul Ricard test as well as from a history of success achieved at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. AT&T Williams has picked up no less than seven victories; a total second only to Ferrari's ten, and holds the record number of poles and fastest laps achieved at the track. While Alex's two points in Monaco strengthened the team's fifth position in the Championship, there's further work to be done to bridge the gap to the leaders.
Nico Rosberg: AT&T Williams are in fifth place in the Constructors' Championship at the moment which is a nice position to be in. As a team, we've scored a few points this year already and we must keep that momentum going, it'll certainly be my aim this weekend. I was really quick in Montréal last year so I'm definitely looking forward to racing there again. We'll have a revised aero package on the cars for the weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works with our tyres. The track is great and the whole event resembles Monaco a bit. It's a great city, so it's always good to go to Canada.
Alex Wurz: Canada is another city Grand Prix. I enjoy these kinds of races a lot because the atmosphere is just more intense than at some “standard” race tracks. In terms of track layout, Canada requires much less downforce than we had in Monaco, so it remains to be seen which team will have the best downforce package for the race weekend. A forecast is quite difficult for Canada. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that it will be very close again between the teams, so it will be yet another hard Grand Prix. At the front, I expect an equal match between Ferrari and McLaren, and they will probably be closer than they were in Monaco. The fight to get into the top ten in qualifying, and to get into points-scoring positions, will be as close as ever.
Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1: Montréal normally has quite low grip levels at the start of the weekend because the circuit is not used much throughout the year and a lot of the spray from the adjacent river is continuously blown onto the track by high winds. These winds can be incredibly unpredictable and play havoc with our finely tuned gear ratios! The circuit has a great layout, though, with long straights and a lot of slow corners and chicanes, which
present a couple of good overtaking spots every lap. As a result, the racing at Montréal is always exciting to watch.
The track is traditionally hard on brakes and, although engine power has been reduced in recent years, we expect it to still be the hardest track on brake wear that we visit. The chances of a safety car being deployed are normally high in Montreal, mainly due to the walls that are close to the side of the track. For that reason, expect to see two stop, and maybe even some one stop, strategies.
AT&T Williams go to Canada with the target of strengthening our current Championship position. We haven't had the chance to carry out any ontrack testing since Monaco due to the test ban, but we've been busy on the simulators and preparing the parts for the North American double header.