Canada GP: Preview - Virgin


Formula 1 returns to much-loved Montreal this weekend as the Canadian Grand Prix - Round 8 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship - makes a comeback to the F1 calendar after a one-year absence. The race is held at the 4.361km Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and continues to be the only F1 event staged in North America.

The track is located on the Ile Notre Dame, a man-made island in the St Lawrence River that was originally built to house the city's Expo in 1967. The island subsequently staged the rowing competitions at the 1976 Olympics, before becoming the home of the Canadian Grand Prix in 1978.

The circuit consists of slow corners and six long straights, which encourages the teams to run their cars in low downforce trim. The longest of these straights is a one-kilometre dash between the hairpin at Turn 10 and the final chicane, at the end of which the cars reach a top speed of around 324kph (201mph).

Timo Glock: "We head to Canada in good spirits after a positive outcome to our weekend in Turkey, which saw both myself and Lucas take the chequered flag. I'm pretty excited to be coming back to Montreal. It's a race that everyone has a lot of affection for - drivers, team members and fans - so I hope it's back on the calendar for good. I've had a lot of fun races and good results here in the past. In fact, this was the scene of my first F1 race and I got my first championship points in it. I raced here in Champ Car in 2005 and finished on the podium, so it's a circuit that has a lot of happy memories for me. Montreal is also a great city with a fun carnival atmosphere, especially on Crescent Street. Virgin Mobile are presenting the activities there this weekend, so Lucas and I will be down there on Saturday night to say hello to the Virgin Racing fans. In terms of our racing objectives for the weekend, we'll be looking for another two-car finish with more clear signs that we are making good progress with car performance. I'm looking forward to it."

Lucas di Grassi: "I'm really looking forward to racing in Canada for the first time. We had a good result in Turkey and I hope we can achieve the same outcome this weekend but with fewer frustrations along the way. With regard to the problems we had with the engine, we don't expect to have any similar issues this time. We need a clean start on Friday in Free Practice and to keep building from there. This will be my second race with the new chassis. I've done some work in the simulators to prepare for this race. The first two corners are pretty tight, so it will be interesting to see how 24 cars get through there at the start of the race because it was always pretty hair-raising when it was only 10 teams rather than 12. This is a big race for Virgin on and off the race track with plenty of fun things happening at the Crescent Street Festival and hopefully the reward of best of the new teams once again."

John Booth, Team Principal: "We were very pleased with our result in Turkey which underlined the continued progress we are making on the track and operationally. It's been another tight turnaround for us, getting the cars and equipment back from Turkey and turning them around in time to send them on their way across to Canada, although the task is made much easier by the fact that we have equal equipment again. We're very excited to be racing in Montreal at what is a fantastic and technically challenging race track, although it does of course have a record as a bit of a car breaker. The main areas of concern are brake wear as the cars slow from seventh to second gear six times during the lap, high rear tyre wear due to the traction demands of the circuit and an unusually high number of gear changes. Having said that, we have in Timo and Lucas two great young drivers who have coped incredibly well with everything that we've thrown at them so far this season and no doubt they will do another good job here again this weekend."

Nick Wirth, Technical Director: "Getting a two car finish in Istanbul was very important for us, as it is finally allowing us to focus on performance. Whilst the big performance steps for us this year are yet to be brought to the track, we have a nice Montreal aero package which consists of new aero parts all over the car, specifically for this track. The circuit itself is another interesting challenge, mainly in that it changes throughout the weekend and that makes getting the best race set-up quite tricky. Brake wear and temperature is something that will challenge the teams this race, and if a number of people get that wrong, things can get very interesting close to the finish. We're looking forward to another step in progress and performance this weekend, and more good reliability."

To experience the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in more detail click here

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Published: 08/06/2010
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