Canadian Grand Prix Preview

The Canadian Grand Prix is next!

By: Daniel Murray-Smith

Following the chequered flag in Baku at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix the drivers and their teams will set out on an almost 9000-kilometre journey to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix.

This is a return for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after the previous two races were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The last race in 2019 gave us an infamous moment after Sebastian Vettel had the race win taken away from him after being given a five second time penalty, he, and many others, deemed to be unfair.

So, aside from the championship battle, what is there to look out for this year for the 51st race at this popular and renowned F1 circuit?

  1. Drivers Under Pressure

As is always the case around this time of year contract negotiations are well underway. In past years we have seen crazy announcements and driver moves, most recently George Russell taking Valterri Bottas’ seat at Mercedes and the latter taking a drive at Alfa Romeo.

This means that races around this ‘silly season’ put extra pressure on the drivers who have been underperforming over the course of the season to keep their seat for next year, I’m looking at you Latifi, Stroll, Schumacher, and Ricciardo!

Schumacher has had his fair share of crashes and has almost singlehandedly exhausted the Haas budget for 2022 already. Latifi and Stroll have had their fair share of blunders, spins and problems which has led to all three of them scoring 2 points between them – both of which are Lance Stroll’s. 

All have struggled for pace comparatively to their teammates but the most noticeable has been Daniel Ricciardo’s inferiority to Lando Norris, due to the talent he holds. The Aussie has consistently been off the pace and will be hoping for redemption at the circuit he took his first victory at, way back in 2014.

  1. Porpoising

At its most basic, porpoising is when the aerodynamics of the car interact in a certain way that makes it bounce up and down when at high speeds. It has been a topic of conversation throughout the whole year since the new cars have struggled considerably more with it than any other year.

It had started to seem like many of the teams had found a way to make it a bit better going into Monaco but at Baku the porpoising has potentially been the worst we’ve seen so far.

The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a fast-flowing circuit where porpoising could also be an issue, so in the short amount of time the teams have between the two races it will be interesting to see if they can figure out a way to make it slightly better.

It is also worth taking into account that there have been calls for an intervention to be made by the FIA due to the long-lasting damages that it could cause such as neck and back pain.

An intervention would likely come as an unupgradable suspension system but the FIA may still leave it to the teams to figure it out as best they can, without sacrificing too much speed.

  1. AlphaTauri

The Red bull sister team have had a pretty quiet season thus far, sitting in seventh place in the constructors’ standings and neither driver having finished or qualified in the top six.

That was until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where Pierre Gasly put himself in 6th place, splitting the two Mercedes with Yuki Tsunoda behind in 8th

These are good signs for the Italian team and if they continue this trajectory, they may develop a car that can at least get in the mix in qualifying, like Gasly managed to do on numerous occasions last season. 

There is still quite a gap to Alpine in 6th place in the standings but the team would be optimistic of catching up and joining that midfield battle, a good result in Canada would certainly help their hopes.

  1. A new champion for the infamous wall?

Finally, racing in Canada wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the wall after the final chicane of the track. “The Wall of Champions” was named after Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher all planted themselves into it at the 1999 GP.

For a few years now there hasn’t been a new champion to fall victim to the wall but with Max Verstappen having won his first world championship last year it will be interesting to see if he could fall to the same fate as many before him.

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