This weekend will see the running of the Canadian Grand Prix as the ninth round of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship.
The Canadian race, which calls Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve home, hasn’t been on the calendar since 2019 due to Covid restrictions, but thankfully that’s all behind us now.
The 2.71-mile track is made up of the perimeter roads on the artificial island of Notre-Dame, in the Saint Lawrence river, and tends to deliver action-packed races. Overtaking is relatively straightforward, speeds are high, and the cars are pushed to their limits.
The layout consists of long straights interrupted by a series of chicanes and slow corners, making it much like the previous round’s Baku City Circuit. As a result, the right setup involves finding a good compromise that delivers stability under braking and excellent traction, without ignoring what is an important detail at this track, namely the need to be able to ride the relatively tall curbs.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, home of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix
The cars tend to run in low downforce aero configurations to favor straight-line speed that can exceed 186 mph at the end of the straights. This lack of downforce leads to some instability in the corners and therefore, mechanical grip going through the tires is even more important than usual.
Although the track surface is traditionally quite smooth, tire degradation runs on the high side due to the constant cycle of heavy braking and heavy acceleration, which is something teams need to be aware of. Pirelli has nominated its softest compounds in the range: the C3 is the White hard, the C4 is the Yellow medium and the C5 is the Red soft. In 2019, the winning strategy was a one-stopper: starting on the medium and finishing on the hard.
The weather is something else to look out for as it can be quite changeable, with cool temperatures and rain quite common, even in the summer. As a result of the cool weather and track conditions, there’s some degree of graining of the tires, which hurts grip, especially at the start of the weekend. Looking at the forecast, we may see light showers during Saturday’s qualifying but Sunday’s race should be dry.
Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen leads the 2022 Drivers’ Championship with 150 points. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is second with 129 points and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is third with 116 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 279 points versus the 199 of Ferrari and 161 of Mercedes. The last winner in Canada was Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes.