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F1: The challenges of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit of Montreal

As of the year 1978 Formula 1 has been hosted on Montreal’s Gilles Villeneuve circuit: 33 of a total of 43 editions of the Canadian Grand Prix – the first in the year 1967 on the Mosport circuit – were held on the artificial island of Notre Dame in the Saint Lawrence River.

The track, named after the great Ferrari driver, is a mix of a permanent and a city circuit: the walls are extremely close to the track, there are only a few run-off areas and the surface is rough.

Hard braking is followed by extreme accelerations, where the cars can reach 330 km/h in four different sections on the 4.361 km long track.

These characteristics ask for a compromise regarding the set up in terms of its downforce, because high speed is required as well as a sufficient level of stability during braking.

Over the years the Canadian GP offered some exciting racing with overtaking, breathtaking moments due to driving errors and many Safety Cars on the track also due to the unpredictable weather.
F1 Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Montreal Quebec Canada
Race Laps: 70
Circuit Length: 4.361 km
Race Distance: 305.270 km
Lap Record: R Barrichello, 1m13.622 (2004)

Quick description
Very high brake energy track, therefore critical in terms of brake wear and cooling
Track surface is very smooth with very low grip
High track improvement on Friday
Longitudinal track with several major traction points
Braking stability is critical, particularly in T8 & T10 due to bumps
Ability to ride kerbs and maximise top speed are both important for quick lap times
Track was partly re-surfaced in 2010 (mainly apexes) but no major difference from 2008 layout

Circuit particularity
Bumpiness: bumpy
Kerbs: medium / high
Ride height setting particularity: none
Engine severity: high
Gearbox severity: high
Lat/Long grip: longitudinal
Aero eff ratio: high
Aero settings: medium / low
Brake wear severity: very high
Brake cooling necessity: high