Round seven of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship takes us to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Île Notre-Dame in Montreal. A unique island-based track known for producing some of the most exciting and unpredictable races on the F1 calendar, Gilles Villeneuve is nicknamed the car-breaker, and for a good reason.
Sitting at 4.36km, Gilles Villeneuve is a fast technical track. Errors are not easily forgiven here, and F1 drivers have to be at their absolute technical best, while their cars must be well prepared for a proper beating. So what will each team bring to the Canadian Grand Prix to try and conquer this formidable track?
Engine Power at Maximum
Long fast straights mean many opportunities to overtake or be overtaken at Gilles Villeneuve, so F1 engines will be tested and pushed to their limits. This makes the Canadian Grand Prix the place where teams usually introduce their first major power unit update of the season. However, many have already tested new specifications earlier on in the year.
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc both debuted Ferrari’s new internal combustion engines at the Spanish Grand Prix. The team also mounted PU specs in Monaco. Ferrari has reported that no changes will be made on the SF90 for the Montreal Grand Prix this weekend, but the layout of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve should play to their main strength, the power unit.
Haas and Alfa Romeo: Both Ferrari customer teams will also arrive in Montreal with the upgraded 1.6-liter V-6.
Renault: Renault introduced a new internal combustion engine at the Spanish Grand Prix to both its work cars and customer team, McLaren. The king of overtakes, Daniel Ricciardo, was also fitted with a new turbocharger and MGU-H in his R519.
Mercedes: The silver arrow remains the only engine manufacturer in Formula 1 yet to introduce new specs. But, according to Lewis Hamilton, that is all about to change in Montreal as he expects to be arriving with a new engine for this weekend’s race.
Drivers Make it or Brake it
Gilles Villeneuve is recognized as one of the toughest tracks of the year on the brakes because it consists of 14 big tight turns. Each lap, the F1 drivers will have to slam their brake pedal with extreme force seven times. As F1 technical regulations only allow each car to have “a twin-circuit hydraulic braking system with two separate reservoirs for the front and rear wheels,” efficient braking will be down to the driver and their skills.
Soft Tyres for a Hard Track
The track surface at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is quite smooth, so the softer end of Pirelli’s compound range is the preferred tyres of choice for the Canadian Grand Prix.