Canada Preview: Red Bull


This year's event sees the 37th running of the Canadian Grand Prix with Montreal hosting its 27th race, the first dating back to 1978. The city is the second largest in Canada and centre of the French-speaking part of the country. The circuit is unique in many respects and is situated on the Ile Notre Dame, an island in the St. Lawrence Seaway, so spectators are often presented with the surreal image of racing cars flashing by in front of supertankers making their way to the ocean. The paddock backs onto an Olympic Rowing Basin, as the facility was used for the Olympic Games in 1968. The 'Circuit Gilles Villeneuve', named after Jacques' father, is the only one on the calendar not to offer spectator parking as everyone arrives from the city by Metro. As a racing circuit, it is an odd mixture, with barriers very close to the side of the road, so little room for error, some very long fast straights and some really tight turns, including a hairpin, which is one of the most popular viewing points.

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Following Nürburgring which produced a very positive result for the team, we are looking forward to the race in Montreal. It is a challenging and technically demanding circuit. I think our car should be reasonably well suited to it and we just need to try and extract a bit more time out of the car over the single qualifying lap, having seen that we are able to run competitively in the race. Christian had a good run in Canada last year and was very competitive. His confidence is high, following a good test in Silverstone and he is looking forward to racing again. I'm sure he will be looking to carry on from where he left off after qualifying 7th in Bahrain. Montreal is a track that rewards an intelligent and aggressive approach to the actual race and we know we can rely on David to provide just that.

"For this weekend and next week in Indianapolis, we have decided to give Red Bull Junior driver Scott Speed a couple of outings in the third car on Friday morning, following a successful test at Silverstone this week and in Barcelona earlier in the year. These races coincide with a gap in his GP2 schedule. We will be watching his progress with interest. Scott is obviously the most promising talent to come out of the USA for some considerable time. His achievements in Europe have been extremely impressive."

Gunther Steiner, Technical Director: "The 'Gilles Villeneuve' circuit requires a special medium downforce aerodynamic package and we tested ours at Silverstone this week. Despite occasional adverse weather conditions, we were able to evaluate it over two days and it gave encouraging results, with the car seemingly well balanced with these lower levels of downforce. The braking system is always very important here, as you have high speed sections followed by very tight slow corners. Braking efficiency, stability, wear and cooling are therefore going to be key elements of our package. One unknown factor is that the track was resurfaced earlier this year and with no testing taking place here, it will be interesting to see what effect that has on tyre wear and performance. Of course, Michelin carried out an analysis of the new surface, so hopefully we will have made the right tyre choice."

David Coulthard: "Montreal is one of the most fun cities on the F1 calendar, the circuit is great and the people are always extremely hospitable - they remind me a bit of the Scot's. I have a very good friend in Montreal who always lays on something a little bit special when we all arrive in town. Grand Prix week is now synonymous with the post race party held by Guy Laliberte (the founder and president of Cirque Du Soleil), which is one of the highlights of the F1 season. I like the city, there are great places to eat, including Jacques Villeneuve's restaurant and club “Newtown,” where we are always made to feel very welcome. As for the track itself, it is a combination of very high speed corner entries and some kerb-hopping chicanes. It is tough on engines and particularly on brakes and represents a difficult challenge for the drivers and engineers alike. All in all, Montreal is one of the most popular venues on the calendar and I'm looking forward to being there - great city, nice people, good race, it's got the lot!"

Christian Klien: "Montreal is a place I really like. I'm impressed by the huge shopping malls, while the city has a very European and international feel to it and the people are very friendly. The track has an interesting location, surrounded by water. I was quite successful there last year and out qualified my team-mate Mark Webber. I have been testing in Silverstone for two days and as usual the weather was not so good which made it tricky to get as much work done as we planned. However, we tried some new bits on the aerodynamic side, as well as some electronic modifications, which we will use in Canada and hopefully they will bring us a little step forward. For sure I am really looking forward to be racing again."

Scott Speed, Friday Test Driver: "This is an incredible opportunity for me. Putting aside the fact that my second appearance at a grand prix will be in my homeland, it is really exciting to be driving an F1 car in front of a big crowd. I have never driven at either Montreal or Indy, so it will be a good experience for me. I don't know what to expect, but I am there to do a job, so I don't feel any extra pressure at the thought of the media interest that might come with it. Apart from last week's session at Silverstone, I did a two day test at Barcelona after the Malaysian GP. An F1 car is completely different to anything else I have ever driven, so the more miles I can do, the better. My GP2 car is more similar to an American Champ or CART car, but I feel comfortable in the F1 car. F1 also involves a lot more technology, but I love that side of the sport. Ever since I was ten years old, I was looking at the data from my go-kart.

"The technology is probably one of the main reasons I was drawn to F1, apart from the fact it is clearly the pinnacle of the sport. There is so much data available, that there is always something to learn and that makes the job even more interesting.

"It is a common misconception that people in America are not interested in F1. From my experience, everyone racing in the States would love to compete in F1. But for an American, it can be an unattainable target. For a start, you have to move to Europe, which financially is almost impossible for most kids. It means you have to leave home and that requires a big sacrifice in terms of leaving your family behind. In my case, backing from Red Bull made it possible. Without that, I would probably be on my way to Champ car. To the kids growing up in karting, to those competing in Nascar and IRL, it is obvious that F1 is the ultimate. Interest in F1 in the States is definitely growing."

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Published: 06/06/2005
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