Category Archives: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Canada)

CAN: Free Practice 1

Pos Driver Nat Constructor Time
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.564
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:15.682
3. Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes AMG 1:15.782
4. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari 1:15.842
5. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:15.897
6. Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1:15.986
7. Kamui Kobayashi JAP Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.000
8. Sergio Perez MEX Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.249
9. Michael Schumacher GER Mercedes AMG 1:16.347
10. Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.347
11. Paul di Resta GBR Force India-Mercedes 1:16.460
12. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari 1:16.619
13. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams-Renault 1:16.619
14. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus-Renault 1:16.890
15. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Lotus-Renault 1:17.014
16. Jean-Eric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.352
17. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.580
18. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham-Renault 1:17.935
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham-Renault 1:18.177
20. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRT-Cosworth 1:18.182
21. Bruno Senna BRA Williams-Renault 1:18.762
22. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT-Cosworth 1:19.354
23. Timo Glock GER Marussia-Cosworth 1:20.004
24. Charles Pic FRA Marussia-Cosworth 1:20.067

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Red Bull deemed illegal

The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel will have to undergo changes before the Canadian Grand Prix after an important aerodynamic device that had been on the car since Malaysia was deemed illegal by the FIA.

Red Bull had been running with holes in the step plane of the floor. While other teams have used a similar device, they have been using slots to the edge of the floor; Red Bull’s holes are fully enclosed, and therefore illegal.

In an FIA directive issued to the teams on Friday, Charlie Whiting (FIA technical chief) said:

“It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas.

“We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.”

There had been rumours of a protest after Mark Webber won the Monaco Grand Prix, but the teams preferred a clear resolution in time for Canada on 8-10 June.

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2012 calendar finalised

The FIA have announced the finalised calendar for the 2012 Formula One season. The Turkish Grand Prix, overwhelmingly panned due to a lack of local support, has been dropped; Bahrain makes a return after political protests resulted in the cancellation of the 2011 season opener in Sakhir. The calendar will boast a record 20 races, with Formula One making a return to the United States at the new Circuit of the Americas.

Important points to note are the double-headers of: Australia/Malaysia, China/Bahrain, Germany/Hungary, Belgium/Italy, Japan/Korea, India/Abu Dhabi, and USA/Brazil. India and USA have been moved to cooler climes, having originally been scheduled for the summer highs, where temperatures would have exceeded 40C. We can also see that the traditional summer break has been extended to five weeks, which with seven races in the last ten weeks will be much needed by the teams. It may also be the case that there will be a mid-season test session during this period.

16-18 March – Australia (Melbourne)

23-25 March – Malaysia (Sepang)

13-15 April – China (Shanghai)

20-22 April – Bahrain (Sakhir)

11-13 May – Spain (Barcelona)

24-27 May – Monaco (Monte Carlo)

8-10 June – Canada (Montreal)

22-24 June – Europe (Valencia)

6-8 July – Britain (Silverstone)

20-22 July – Germany (Hockenheim)

27-29 July – Hungary (Hungaroring)

31 August-2 September – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)

7-9 September – Italy (Monza)

21-23 September – Singapore (Marina Bay)

5-7 October – Japan (Suzuka)

12-14 October – Korea (Yeongam)

26-28 October – India (New Delhi)

2-4 November – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

16-18 November – United States (Austin)

23-25 November – Brazil (Interlagos)

Testing details have yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that there will be three pre-season tests, one mid-season test, and the post-season young driver test.

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Europe: McLaren Preview

Lewis Hamilton

“For me, Valencia will be a weekend of consolidation after two disappointing results in Monaco and Canada. Those two races were particularly frustrating for me because we showed we had the pace to win both of them, yet I only came away with eight points.

“Still, I’m really pleased that Jenson drove a brilliant race to win in Canada; after his bad luck in Monte-Carlo, he more than deserved this result. It’s a great result for the team, too.

“I’ve always gone well at Valencia, finishing second there in every race, and I really enjoy attacking the track. It’s a difficult circuit with no let-up, but that won’t deter me as I’m really keen to get back on track and get back in the points. This race will  be our third street circuit in a row, so hopefully it’ll give me the chance to reverse the bad luck I’ve encountered in the previous two!

“We’ve arguably had the fastest race car in the last three races, and that’s really encouraging because I know that, when it’s put to best use, I should be able to finish at the front.

“As always, that will be my goal next weekend.”

Jenson Button

“It’s been a fantastic week in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix. I had a few days’ break immediately after the race, which was perfectly timed as it gave me the opportunity to take in all the positive memories of a crazy weekend, and to reflect on an incredible race.

“I wouldn’t say that winning in Montreal has given me extra motivation, because I was already totally committed, but I think it will help to sharpen the focus and conviction of everyone in the team. We’ve proved we can challenge and beat Sebastian [Vettel], and we know we can fight for this world championship.

“I’m looking forward to Valencia. I had a good race there last year and I think the track shares some of the characteristics of Montreal and Monaco, so I’m confident that we’ll be competitive again. The trick will be to find enough performance in the race to overcome any potential difficulties in qualifying. It’s a hard place to pass and, even though there will once again be two DRS zones, I don’t think that’s going to make it much easier during the race.”

Martin Whitmarsh

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Jenson’s fantastic last-to-first result in Canada last weekend proved beyond doubt that, as a team, we never give up. That victory was a great fillip for the entire organisation and shows that our tireless efforts to bring constant upgrades to the track are really paying off.

“As a team, it’s particularly satisfying that our upgrade ‘hit-rate’ has been successful and that we’ve really been able to translate the results we’ve seen at the factory into concrete performance at the track. Again, that’s the result of good teamwork, and is what will successfully carry us through this championship fight.

“We’ve typically gone well around the Valencia street circuit but we’ve never won there before. I think we go into the weekend feeling encouraged and motivated by our performance, but still realistic that Red Bull remains the pacesetter – particularly in qualifying.

“We’re now into the heart of the season and need to ensure that we’re regularly delivering performance to the car. We’ve shown time and time again that this is one of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ key strengths and I’m confident we can continue to deliver. For Valencia and beyond, our aim is clear: we want to win.

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Picture Credits: Hoch Zwei

Canada: Mercedes GP Preview

In the midst of Formula One’s European season, Round Seven of the 2011 World Championship sees the sport take a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to the vibrant city of Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday 12 June.

• Mercedes-Benz power has achieved eight podiums in Canada since 1999, including four victories.
• Six of the last nine races have featured Safety Cars; the historical probability of 67% is one of the year´s highest.
• The 2010 race featured 61 pit stops; so far in 2011, there have been an average of 60 pit stops per race.

Michael Schumacher

“Montreal is a great city to visit and the Canadian Grand Prix is always one of those races where it feels like the whole city gets involved and creates a really nice atmosphere. The circuit itself is very much a stop-and-go scenario with much of the focus on top speed and braking. We also have the two DRS zones this year for the first time, so it will be interesting to see the impact that this makes. It is really difficult to have an idea of how our car will perform in Montreal. There is no doubt that Monaco was a tough weekend for the team but, as always, we will learn our lessons, and be ready to fight again in Canada.”

Nico Rosberg

“The Canadian Grand Prix is one of my favourite race weekends of the season. Montreal is a great city, with a carnival atmosphere over the weekend, and the fans are always really friendly and so enthusiastic. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a nice race track; it’s also very challenging and hard on the engine and brakes. I’m looking forward to the weekend, and I hope that we can move up and be back competing where we belong. The spirit within the team is great and we will fight for a better result than in Monaco. I am confident that we will be able to do it.”

Ross Brawn, Team Principal

“The Canadian Grand Prix is always one of the most popular races on the calendar, and an important weekend to showcase our sport to the North American market. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the first real high-speed circuit of the season, where the brakes are important and engine power is a factor. All of the teams suffered with big tyre problems because of graining last year, so it will be interesting to see how the new Pirelli tyres behave next weekend. It’s not easy to predict whether the tyre situation will follow what we experienced in 2010 or whether we will have a different situation. We have two DRS zones which will increase overtaking at a circuit where passing was already possible. With the combination of DRS and the tyres, this should lead to an exciting and eventful weekend.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“Much like in Monaco where we raced last weekend, Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve mostly features slow speed corners, and we will again be using the soft and super soft Pirelli compounds; however this is where the similarities end. The circuit features long full-throttle sections that see the cars exceed 295 kph on four separate occasions. It is also one of the toughest tracks of the year for the brakes, with six major braking events per lap. In summary, this is a low downforce and low drag circuit that presents significant technical challenges. On the sporting side, we will be able to assess the impact of two DRS zones in race conditions for the first time, which could contribute to making the action even more exciting. As a team, our aim is to respond to our Monaco weekend with better race performance. We know that we can demonstrate the speed for a top ten qualifying position over a single lap; we have to ensure that we maintain the same level in the race on Sunday in Montreal.”

It may sound counter-intuitive but being quick in Formula One isn’t just about going fast – stopping well is also a major part of the equation. Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve features seven braking events in all, of which six are considered to be ‘heavy’ and four involve braking from over 295 kph. It amounts to one of the toughest circuits of the year for the brakes. Getting the braking system right for Montreal involves fitting revised air ducts to optimise the cooling, and using different materials to ensure consistent performance for each one of the race’s 70 laps. It’s no small challenge…

How severe a test is Montreal for the brakes?
The energy input to the brakes is roughly double that measured in Spa. At both circuits, the drivers spend around 15 seconds of the total lap time braking; in Montreal this accounts for 20% of the lap spent on the brakes, while in Spa it only represents 14%.

Where is the heaviest braking event on the circuit?
The biggest single braking event comes at Turn 10, where the cars must slow from 295 kph to just 60 kph for the corner apex. The cars shed 235 kph in a distance of just 140m. When deceleration is at its greatest, the drivers are subjected to peak forces of some 5.5G.

How hard are the drivers working in the cockpit under braking?
The force the drivers exert on the pedal is approximately 2000 newtons – that’s equivalent to lifting 200 kg. The theoretical stopping distance of a Formula One car from 300 kph to zero is approximately 135 metres in a straight line, but varies according to drag levels and tyre grip.

What temperatures do the brakes reach?
Peak temperatures during a braking event don’t occur when maximum force is applied, but later during the braking phase owing to heat transfer rates. The discs can reach up to 1000°C while caliper temperatures stabilise at around 200°C.

What parts of the braking system are altered for a heavy braking circuit like Montreal?
The thickness and diameter of the brake discs is limited by the regulations to 28mm and 278mm respectively. The brake material – the type of carbon disc and pad – is changed between high and low severity circuits to provide the necessary durability. Large brake ducts are used in order to achieve adequate cooling; these large ducts cost around 0.2s compared to the smallest versions run during the year.

What is a typical brake balance at Montreal?
A typical figure is a front to rear brake force distribution of approximately 55% front/45% rear. However, this changes with KERS, which provides significant torque to the rear axle under braking. This means the drivers must run the brake balance even further forward to prevent the rear tyres from locking.

How will the DRS zones, and the resultant higher straightline speeds, affect the braking demands?
Braking energy inputs will be slightly increased when the DRS is activated. However, this will be highly dependent on how often it is activated during the race, and with what fuel load. Its impact will be greater on higher fuel loads.

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Picture Credits: Mercedes GP