Race length: 305.270 km (189.694 mi)
Circuit length: 4.361 km (2.709 mi)
First held: 1961
Most wins (drivers): Michael Schumacher (7)
Lap Record 1:13.622 by Rubens Barrichello (2004)
The first winner in Montreal was Quebec native Villeneuve, driving a Ferrari. Villeneuve was killed in 1982 on his final qualifying lap for the Belgian Grand Prix. A few weeks after his death, the race course in Montreal was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after him. Gilles Villeneuve was one of the first people inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, and is so far the only Canadian winner of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.
– the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the island of Notre-Dame consists of a combination of streets and racing track. Long straights, five turn sections with chicanes and a hairpin characterise this track.
– the main focus for set-up is speed, traction and braking stability, which is indispensable as no other Formula 1 track in the season challenges the brakes as much as the one in Montreal.
– the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix became the longest ever Formula One race to date; rainstorms delayed the race for hours; but when it got going again Briton Jenson Button stormed through the field from last place after the restart on lap 41 and caught German leader Sebastian Vettel; whom he forced into making a mistake, passed the Red Bull driver and the Briton took victory.
– grid advantage: pole position is located on the left-hand-side of the track. The racing line is on the right, but the first braking zone (Turn Two) is for a left-hander, for which the pole-sitter has the inside line.
– pitlane length/pitstops: 400m/0.249 miles (longest of the season: Silverstone, 457m/0.283 miles). Estimated time loss for a pitstop is 22s.
– safety car: 80 per cent, which is high. The fast nature of the track, combined with the close proximity of the barriers, means even the smallest of mistakes can result in contact with the barrier. Thirteen of the last 18 races have been Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car-affected. It’s worth noting that the Canadian Grand Prix is the spiritual home of the Safety Car because it was at Mosport in 1973 that the Safety Car was first deployed in F1.
History of the Canadian Grand-Prix
On 7 October 2008, the Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the 2009 Formula One calendar, which left the Montreal race off the list for the first time since 1987. In the provisional 2009 schedule released in June 2008, the Canadian Grand Prix was to have been held on 7 June, a date taken by the 2009 Turkish Grand Prix in the revised schedule.
Since the United States Grand Prix was dropped after 2007, this meant that in 2009 no Formula One race was held in North America for the first time since 1958 (The American Indianapolis 500 formed part of the FIA World Drivers’ Championship from 1950 to 1960, but was not run to Formula One regulations and only very rarely entered by regular championship competitors.)
During the Australian Grand Prix, reports surfaced that the Canadian Grand Prix could return during the 2009 season in the event that the race circuit in Abu Dhabi was not ready in time.
On 26 April 2009, Speed reported Bernie Ecclestone as saying the FIA was negotiating a return of the Canadian Grand Prix for the 2010 season, provided upgrades to the circuit were completed.
On 29 August 2009, the BBC reported the provisional schedule for the 2010 season, which had both the Canadian and British Grand Prix marked down as “provisional”. The Canadian GP was scheduled for 6 June. The 2010 Canadian Grand Prix was eventually run in Montreal on 13 June 2010
On 27 November 2009, Quebec’s officials and Canadian Grand Prix organizers announced they had reached a settlement with Formula One Administration and signed a new five-year contract spanning the 2010–2014 seasons.
Under the five-year agreement, the government pays 15 million Canadian dollars a year to host the race, much less than the 35 million a year Ecclestone initially asked for.