Like Monaco, Canada isn’t a conventional racing circuit, and once more the three softest compounds in the P Zero Formula 1 range have been selected: the hard is the C3, the medium is the C4, and the soft is the C5. But that’s where the similarities end. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – named after Canada’s most celebrated driver – holds a unique challenge, on only the second appearance this year for the softest C5.
- Montréal is a semi-permanent track with smooth asphalt, using roads in the Parc Jean Drapeau that are open to the public for recreational activities during the rest of the year. This means that it’s especially ‘green’ and slippery at the start of the grand prix weekend, with a high degree of track evolution as the surface gets rubbered in.
- Canada is all about traction and braking, so getting heat into the front tyres is part of the challenge. There is no much run-off, so safety cars are a reasonably common occurrence, which of course can affect strategy.
- Weather is variable, but cool temperatures and rain are quite common at this time of the year (in 2011, red flag interruptions because of rain let to the longest grand prix in F1 history, lasting more than four hours). As a result of the cool weather and track conditions, some degree of graining can be expected, especially at the start of the weekend.
- Unlike Monaco, there’s plenty of opportunity to overtake in Canada, with a much higher average speed, long straights, and plenty of heavy braking areas. This makes it a very tough circuit on brakes: something that the teams always have to look out for.
- There was a mix of strategies used last year, with most drivers choosing a one-stopper, also influenced by an early safety car. The top two at the end (and on the grid) didn’t start the race on the softest available compound, and that might be the case again this weekend. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) began on the ultrasoft – the approximate equivalent of the current C4 – before switching to the supersoft, which has been deleted from this year’s line-up.
MARIO ISOLA, HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
"Broadly speaking, our nomination for Canada is about the same as last year, when the hypersoft also made its second appearance of the year after Monaco. The main difference is that the hardest compound available this weekend is a bit harder than last year, and there is no equivalent of the supersoft in the 2019 range, so the choices are more spread out. While we have the same nomination as Monaco, a few of the teams have compared Montréal more with Baku – where we made a harder selection - because of the higher speeds, longer straights, and the challenge of balancing tyre temperatures across the front and rear of the car. Montréal is also a race that contains plenty of variety, in terms of strategy, on-track action and weather. The teams always go into it not knowing quite what to expect, so it’s especially important to accumulate as much tyre data as possible in order to be able to make an informed reaction to changing circumstances".
OTHER PIRELLI NEWS
- Unlike Monaco, when the teams stocked up on the softest compound, the harder compounds have also been selected for Montréal. In particular, Ferrari has chosen five sets of the medium tyre: more than any other team on the grid. This could indicate that some teams are planning to use these in Q2 and to start the race.
- Canada is one of Pirelli’s two grand prix title sponsorships this year, alongside France. The Italian firm will also be present at the official Formula 1 Fan Festival, which takes place in Chicago on Saturday during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend.
- Pirelli recently completed a successful two-day test of the 2020 prototype wet weather tyres in Paul Ricard, France, with Ferrari and Red Bull. The next (slick tyre) 2020 development test isn’t due to take place until after the Austrian Grand Prix.
- Oliver Solberg, the 17-year-son of former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg (who won his 2003 title with Subaru on Pirelli tyres) recently became the youngest-ever overall winner of a FIA championship rally, claiming the latest round of the European Rally Championship in Latvia, in a Pirelli-equipped Volkswagen Polo R5.