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Canada GP: Preview - Haas

NEWS STORY
15/06/2022

Haas F1 Team is preparing for the comeback of the Canadian Grand Prix after an enforced two-year absence, marking Round 9 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

Canada joined Formula 1's calendar in 1967, alternating between Mosport Park and Mont-Tremblant, before setting up a permanent home on the Īle Notre Dame, a man-made island that straddles the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal.

The island, which was constructed for Montreal's Expo 67, is part of the Parc Jean-Drapeau, and its circuit has borne the name of Canadian hero Gilles Villeneuve since his untimely death in 1982. The circuit is just a short metro ride from the vibrant downtown districts of Montreal and the city fully embraces Formula 1 to make the grand prix one of Canada's leading sporting events.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is known for its high-speed sections, medium-speed chicanes, and a couple of heavy braking zones that put a focus on straight-line prowess and stopping power. The exit of the final chicane is dubbed the Wall of Champions, owing to the number of high-profile racers that have suffered weekend-ending damage at the unforgiving complex. The track surface itself has also been susceptible to causing high tire degradation and wear, a situation accentuated by Montreal's weather extremes, with long hot summers counterbalanced by freezing winters.

Track evolution is high, given the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's infrequent usage, an element that will be heightened after Formula 1's two-year absence. The wildlife can also pose a problem; groundhogs have been known to wander from the bushes and onto the track - a situation which has previously damaged front wings and caused worse outcomes for the small creatures.

Kevin Magnussen has started five Canadian grands prix, including the most recent running in 2019, while for Mick Schumacher it will be his first experience of the popular event.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a race where it looked like the full potential of the VF-22 wasn't seen on track. Talk us through the weekend and why Baku didn't suit the style of the car.
Guenther Steiner: "We were actually surprised how good the car came along on Sunday for the race, with Kevin fighting for points, but then we had the mechanical failure with the PU. In general, on Friday we didn't start off on the right foot, we were a little bit off - more than a little bit - but on Saturday we got it in the right region where we needed to be.

"Where we suffered most was on the straight, other people did a better job on low downforce going down the straights, so the whole weekend we suffered a little bit there. If qualifying hadn't been compromised by the red and yellow flag we encountered, it could've been a better race but nevertheless, before the failure we were in a very good position to score points so I'm not too upset, I'm more disappointed that we had another DNF."

For Round 9 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship we head to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix, the first time in three years. What do you like about the city and what are your best memories from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - for example, should the famed teams' raft race make a return?
GS: "It's always nice to go back to Canada, it's always a nice event. I say nice because people really like that we go there and they see it as a great event for their city and the entire F1 community loves Montreal. It's always a good race with a good atmosphere and in general just a good place. With the raft race, these days I just don't think there is the time anymore to do these types of things. It's unfortunate but we have to go with the times, the team cannot just make the time up to create a raft - at the moment it's not doable but maybe one day it returns."

It's a circuit that combines the best traits of a street track with a permanent course, but with cars expected to feel the harsh bumps of the tarmac once again, how do teams battle with porpoising and how long should we expect to see it on track?
GS: "Porpoising is so different from race track to race track. In Barcelona, it seemed that everyone had found a solution for it but then we go back to Baku and we haven't got one, so I'm not really sure what to expect in Montreal. I think it's part of the package of the car and I'm sure that there are enough intelligent engineers in Formula 1 that sooner or later, hopefully sooner, we get in control of porpoising.

"We suffer it a little bit, maybe a little bit less than some other teams but maybe more than others so we just work on each track, giving drivers the best ride possible with the best performance because it's all down to performance. If you compromise performance you can get a very comfortable ride out of it, but who wants to do that? Let's see when we go out in FP1 where we are, but we all know Canada is pretty bumpy, so if it's bumpy it doesn't normally get better, but let's wait and see."

With a lot of talk about the budget cap going on up and down the paddock, where does Haas F1 Team stand and will operations become lean throughout the second half of the season or are you confident in the team's forecasting for the season?
GS: "This budget cap, combined with inflation which the world is experiencing, has become a talking point but I think each team has to manage how it is. The situation is we got unexpected inflation with the invasion of Ukraine mainly, so we just try to manage it. It's tough but we're used to running an efficient organization and we just need to cut the cloth accordingly. That's what we're trying to do and I'm very sure we will show up to all races and we'll try to make the savings somewhere else."

For Round 9 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship we head to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Formula 1 hasn't visited Montreal since 2019 - talk us through the characteristics of the track and some previous memories of racing around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
Kevin Magnussen: "Montreal is a cool, cool place. It's a nice track as well, it's pretty unique, it's kind of like a street circuit but then also a hybrid - I really like it. It's very bumpy so it's going to be harsh in these new cars as they're very stiff. it's going to be challenge I'm sure but a good one."

Your best finish in Montreal with Haas came in 2017, when you finished in 12th place - do you think this will be the year that you break into the points with the team?
KM: "The goal is to score points, that's for sure. I think we have the car to do that and I'm looking forward to going there."

The Canadian Grand Prix is one race where your dad still has better results than you, achieving P6 in 1998 - a race where Mick's dad won. What has Jan made of your return to Formula 1 and how does it now feel coming to races with your own family?
KM: "It's always awesome to have family come to races - they've been such a big part of my career ever since I was a little boy and to have them at races is great. Of course, with my dad it's a little extra because he's been there himself and he's good to talk to because he understands everything that I say. Everything that I'm talking about, he's been there himself."

This is the last flyaway event before October. How does the season change when you get into the swing of things in Europe and your own routine becomes more consistent?
KM: "It's going to be nice to have a bit of a European season now after Canada. No jetlag and short flights - I'm looking forward to that!"

For Round 9 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship we head to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Have you been to Montreal before and what do you know about the scene there?
Mick Schumacher: "I've been to Montreal maybe once or twice as a child, aged 11 or 12. I remember it was fun to go and visit because it was so different to all the other race tracks I'd been to before and you have the groundhogs running around which is quite fun. As a kid, I was fishing out the back of the Mercedes garage and I actually caught a few - I built the hook myself from the office stationery - and eventually we bought a little fishing rod. I also remember asking if I could go onto the grid, and the team said only if I made a cake. I baked a cake, did the frosting and once I gave it to them, I got the grid pass! I have good memories from Canada."

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will be another new track for you this season, tell us about what you know of its characteristics and what sections you're most looking forward to racing on?
MS: "It has all the flares of a street track, just because of the walls, but it's a permanent track. I think it's quite unique in the fact that you're surrounded by water for most of the time - the only place that comes close is Melbourne - so I think that is quite different. In terms of the track, I haven't driven there yet but I've driven on the simulator so I'm just excited to go. A lot of crazy races have happened there in the past so I'm sure this year will be an interesting one too."

As well as it being a new race for you, it will be the first time in three years Formula 1 returns to Canada. Following the 'Drive to Survive' effect in America, how exciting is it to return to places which have a shared passion for motorsport?
MS: "It's definitely great having fans back at the track in general. It's obviously motivating in so many ways but also it's so nice to see that people are passionate about the sport and are actually interested in Formula 1. I've been interested in it since I was three, so it's great to have that shared passion."

This is the last flyaway event before October. How does the season change when you get into the swing of things in Europe and your own routine becomes more consistent?
MS: "For everybody, not just for us drivers, it's a tough journey. We go from one continent to another within a few days, which is crazy that it is that way, but that's how it is and everyone has to handle it. I'm sure once everyone gets back to Europe, it will be slightly less stressful to get cars ready, pack up to leave a track and try to make it to the next race. It's just more of a rhythm when we get to Europe but it's still a huge amount of stress - albeit less than going from Azerbaijan to Canada."

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