Race guide - Canadian Grand Prix

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Following a three-year absence, Formula One is set to return to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for Round Nine of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó picks out some vital facts ahead of the race weekend that takes place on the man-made Notre Dame Island in the middle of the St Lawrence River.,

Following the high-speed layout of the Baku street track, the Montreal circuit also features high top end speeds thanks to its long straights. Combined with its rather short length, it's also the shortest lap of the season for an F1 car, going round in approximately 75 seconds.

The straights are linked by tight hairpins where the cars brake down to a little under 60km/h so the challenge is to combine this strong top-end power with effective engine braking and pick up on the entry and exits to the slow speed corners. Allied to this, the two hairpins and the chicane mean the internals are intensely loaded three times a lap and then stressed further under the acceleration forces, leading Montréal to be called an engine breaker in the past. This shifts emphasis towards good acceleration and high top speed.

This heavy braking and then acceleration leads to the race starting fuel load being one of the highest of the season, along with Abu Dhabi and Australia, although this will be governed to a certain extent by race strategy and the weather, which looks like it will be just as changeable this year.

Another point of great interest is likely the new tyres that Pirelli is bringing. The Italian tyre supplier will bring the softest tyres in the range, as was the case for Montreal in 2019 and also for the last two races this year (Monaco and Azerbaijan). In other words: the C3 is the P Zero White hard, the C4 is the P Zero Yellow medium and the C5 is the P Zero Red soft. In 2019, the winning strategy was a one-stopper: starting on the medium and finishing on the hard.

Circuit highlights

Turns 1 & 2 - The lap starts on the short pit straight where speeds peak at over 300km/h at the end of the straight before the driver shifts down to third gear to take the first corner, a left hander, at approx 120km/h. T1 is the start of a spoon-profiled corner that demands a progressive smooth engine setting throughout. Engine revs will be at approx 11,000rpm for five seconds through this turn, the longest consistently low rev setting of the lap.

Turns 3 & 4 - A fast right-left chicane, where the drivers need to ride the kerbs for the quickest line.

Turns 6 & 7 - Another chicane; this time left-right and much lower speed than the first, with the drivers needing to ride the kerbs once again for the fastest route.

Turn 8 - A 300km/h+ straight leads into a third chicane – right-left once more – which requires quick direction change and good kerb riding capabilities from the car.

Turn 10 - This is the most demanding turn for the brakes as cars reduce their speeds from about 290km/h to 65km/h. Brembo calculates 5.25g deceleration, 141kg pedal load and a total braking time of 2.6 seconds. During that time, more than 2100kW is dissipated through the brakes.

Turn 13 - The fastest section of the track, with maximum speeds of around 330km/h followed by heavy braking and a need to ride the kerbs heavily through the chicane. The exit of the second part of the chicane is bordered by the famous ‘Wall of Champions’ which has caught out many championship winning drivers over the years.

Car setup

Rear Wing - A different family of rear wing is unleashed for Montréal as the layout requires a low to medium downforce package; somewhat removed from the higher downforce configurations of previous circuits so far this year.

Front Wing - As with the rear wing, lower downforce is required than at previous venues as part of the low to medium downforce package.

Suspension - The track layout requires a compromise between running the car as soft as you dare to be able to ride the kerbs, whilst maintaining quick change of direction through the many chicanes.

Brakes - The demands on brakes are far higher here than at any other track, and a lot of Friday running will be dedicated to monitoring brake temperatures in order to evaluate and simulate race performance.

Engine - It’s quite a harsh circuit for the engine, with long periods spent at full throttle accelerating out of the slow corners and along the straights. It is not a particularly severe layout for the gearbox however.