2008 Canadian Formula 1 GP – Wolf’s Race Preview

Formula 1 (and me) moves to Canada this weekend for what it will be the only North American F1 race this year. Last time the Montreal race was full of excitement. Takuma Sato’s overtaking Fernando Alonso, Anthony Davidson’s encounter with a groundhog, Robert Kubica’s heavy crash, disqualifications of Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella, turnaround of fortunes for Heikki Kovalainen and the maiden F1 win for Lewis Hamilton – eventful race with 10 DNFs …

We may expect the usual suspects high up on the grid after qualifying – Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber. I see Ferrari as slight favourites here but it is going to be very close between them and McLaren. Massa, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Kovalainen – any of these 4 can take this race. Kubica also should not be forgotten and rememeber – Heidfeld was 2nd here last year … However if there is one race that may provide us with surprise result this year, it may well be Canadian GP…

Canadian GPs do have quite high attrition rate and the retirements in Montreal are often due to accidents. Accidents result in safety cars, safety cars especially with the current rules still in place mess up the strategies … This is a green slippery track like in Melbourne but with a lot less downforce and much higher speeds. And again as ahead of Monaco 2 weeks ago there is a talk of possible rain… I and there is also the “Wall of Champions” :-) . Anything can happen …


Track technical info (ING Renault F1 data)
Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a stop-start, temporary circuit. The long straights mean plenty of heavy braking, while numerous slow corners put the emphasis on strong traction and good engine torque to launch the cars out of them. A competitive car will give the drivers confidence to brake late, while also looking after the rear tyres on a circuit where teams will be running the softest of Bridgestone’s 2008 compounds.

Aerodynamics
Montreal will see the team run with a ‘low downforce’ aerodynamic package. The primary focus is on minimising drag levels in order to achieve competitive straightline speeds (with a maximum of over 320 kph), while the downforce will assist vehicle stability under heavy braking. The low downforce levels mean the car feels light to drive, and nervous under braking, and so the drivers need to be more delicate with their steering inputs, and when applying the brakes and throttle.

Brakes
Along with Monza, Montreal is the most demanding circuit of the year for the brakes. Overheating is not the primary concern, as the discs and pads have ample time to cool on the straights. However, the braking energies are very high, with four braking events from over 300 kph – and the other two from above 250 kph. Basic wear is therefore our concern.

Tyres
The temporary nature of the circuit means that the circuit begins the weekend very ‘green’ and grip levels improve constantly throughout the weekend – just like we see at similar venues such as Melbourne or Monaco. The track surface is not particularly abrasive, and the absence of high-speed corners means that tyre energies are among the lowest of the season. Consequently, the teams will be using the Soft and Super-soft compounds from Bridgestone’s 2008 range, as was the case for the last race in Monaco.

Strategy
Traditionally, Montreal has been a race with strategies ranging from one to three stops – although a two-stop strategy is likely to be the most competitive solution under the 2008 tyre regulations. The absence of high-speed corners means the fuel effect (the time penalty for carrying fuel weight) is relatively low at this circuit, and combined with low fuel consumption, this means there is relatively little penalty in qualifying for carrying extra fuel. Teams will also need to consider the ever-present threat of a safety car period, and so a flexible strategy could reap rewards come Sunday afternoon.

Engine Performance
The engine is used in a very stop-start fashion around the Montreal circuit, which is essentially compromised of six extended full throttle bursts separated by chicanes. The engine spends just under 60% of the lap at full throttle, which is not a particularly high percentage, but the longest full throttle section last for 14s – a more demanding value, which puts the circuit at the higher end of the scale for engine severity. Cooling is not normally a problem thanks to the long straights, but cut grass and other debris are potential hazards. We monitor temperatures closely, and debris can usually be removed at the pit-stops.

Here are the top 10 from past 10 Canadian GP races:

2007
1) Lewis Hamilton – McLaren – 1:44:11.292
2) Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber +4.343
3) Alexander Wurz – Williams +5.325
4) Heikki Kovalainen – Renault +6.729
5) Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari +13.007
6) Takuma Sato – Super Aguri +16.698
7) Fernando Alonso – McLaren +21.936
8)Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +22.888
9) Mark Webber Red Bull +22.960
10) Nico Rosberg – Williams +23.984

2006
1) Fernando Alonso – Renault – 1’34:37.308
2) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +2.1
3) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +8.8
4) Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +15.6
5) Felipe Massa – Ferrari +25.1
6) Jarno Trulli – Toyota +1 lap
7) Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber +1 lap
8)David Coulthard – Red Bull-Ferrari +1 lap
9) Jenson Button – Honda +1 lap
10) Scott Speed – Toro Rosso-Cosworth +1 lap

2005
1) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1’32:09.290
2) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +1.1
3) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +40.4
4) Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +55.1
5) Mark Webber – Williams-BMW +55.7
6) Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +1 Lap
7) David Coulthard – Red Bull-Cosworth +1 Lap
8)Christian Klien – Red Bull-Cosworth +1 Lap
9) Jacques Villeneuve – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
10) Tiago Monteiro – Jordan-Toyota +3 Laps

2004
1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:28’24.803
2) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +5.108 secs
3) Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +20.409 secs
4) Giancarlo Fisichella – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
5) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +1 Lap
6) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +1 Lap
7) Timo Glock – Jordan-Ford +2 Laps
8)Nick Heidfeld – Jordan-Ford +2 Laps
9) Christian Klien – Jaguar-Cosworth +3 Laps
10) Zsolt Baumgartner – Minardi-Cosworth +4 Laps

2003
1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:31’13.591
2) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +0.784 secs
3) Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +1.355 secs
4) Fernando Alonso – Renault +4.481 secs
5) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +64.261 secs
6) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +0.502 secs
7) Mark Webber – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap
8)Olivier Panis – Toyota +1 Lap
9) Jos Verstappen – Minardi-Cosworth +2 Laps
10) Antonio Pizzonia – Jaguar-Cosworth +4 Laps

2002
1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:33’36.111
2) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +1.132 secs
3) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +7.082 secs
4) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +37.563 secs
5) Giancarlo Fisichella – Jordan-Honda +42.812 secs
6) Jarno Trulli – Renault +48.947 secs
7) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +51.518 secs
8)Olivier Panis – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
9) Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
10) Takuma Sato – Jordan-Honda +1 Lap

2001
1) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW – 1:34:31.522
2) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +20.235
3) Mika Häkkinen – McLaren-Mercedes +40.672
4) Kimi Räikkönen – Sauber-Petronas +1:08.116
5) Jean Alesi – Prost-Acer +1:10.435
6) Pedro de la Rosa – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap
7) Ricardo Zonta – Jordan-Honda +1 Lap
8)Luciano Burti – Prost-Acer +1 Lap
9) Tarso Marques – Minardi-European +3 Laps

2000
1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:41:12.3
2) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +0.174
3) Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +15.365
4) Mika Häkkinen – McLaren-Mercedes +18.561
5) Jos Verstappen – Arrows-Supertec +52.208
6) Jarno Trulli – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +1:01.687
7) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +1:02.216
8)Ricardo Zonta – BAR-Honda +1:10.455
9) Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +1:19.899
10) Pedro Diniz – Sauber-Petronas +1:54.544

1999
1) Mika Häkkinen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:41:36.2 2
2) Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +0.782
3) Eddie Irvine – Ferrari +1.797
4) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-Supertec +2.392
5) Johnny Herbert – Stewart-Ford +2.805
6) Pedro Diniz – Sauber-Petronas +3.711
7) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +5.004
8)Marc Gené – Minardi-Ford +1 Lap
9) Olivier Panis – Prost-Peugeot +1 Lap
10) Luca Badoer – Minardi-Ford +2 Laps

1998

1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1’40:57.3
2) Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +16.662
3) Eddie Irvine – Ferrari +1:00.059
4) Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +1:03.232
5) Rubens Barrichello – Stewart-Ford +1:21.513
6) Jan Magnussen – Stewart-Ford +1 Lap
7) Shinji Nakano – Minardi-Ford +1 Lap
8)Ricardo Rosset – Tyrrell-Ford +1 Lap
9) Pedro Diniz – Arrows +1 Lap
10) Jacques Villeneuve – Williams-Mecachrome +6 Laps

5 Comments Post a Comment
  1. klokanNo Gravatar says:

    I think good chance for Kimi to be back in 1st. I suppose Ferrari weekend again.

  2. BenNo Gravatar says:

    We could even have a new leader in Massa. I expect Ferrari to be strongest here too on normal circumstances, but if it rains I’m not so sure. I think Kubica raced very well under tough conditions last week, and so did Webber. So I would not rule either of them out for a maiden win either. I look forward to it thats for sure. The Canada grand prix was one of my favorites last year.

  3. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    McLaren has faired well here, so you would think that would at least balance the disadvantage they have to Ferrari in car performance.

    I agree with Wolf that it is a toss up between McLaren and Ferrari, but think that unofficial team orders will put Kimi and Hamilton at the front with the driver’s championship so close.

  4. RajNo Gravatar says:

    I am with Kimi and Ferrari for the montreal GP, but Hamilton who won here last season could pull off a win as well, I’d say its a much watch race… :-) oh n btw, I wrote about a not so talked about aspect of the Montreal GP, the sex trade particularly with moinors involved that drastically increases during the Montreal GP weekend every year on my blog. The post is here http://www.goforceindia.com/the-other-side-of-canadian-gp-sex-trade-human-trafficking/
    care to drop in your comments on what you think about it Wolf and all the other guys?

    Raj’s last blog post..The other side of Canadian GP – Sex Trade & Human Trafficking

  5. [...] Formula One season continues with Canadian GP. The rain may again be on cards, the walls do attract drivers in Montreal so perhaps a time for [...]

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