Posted By F1 Fast Lap


Race Date:
08 Jun 2014
Circuit Name:
Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
First Grand Prix:
Number of Laps:
Circuit Length:
4.361 km
Race Distance:
305.270 km
Lap Record:
1:13.622 - R Barrichello (2004)

In the 1960s the rivalry between French and English speaking Canada meant that the country's Grand Prix had two homes: Mosport Park one year and Mont-Tremblant the next. By 1970, however, Mont-Tremblant was deemed too dangerous and the race moved full time to Mosport Park.

In 1977 the French Canadians, motivated by the incredible success of Gilles Villeneuve, decided it was about time they built a race track. Building a new circuit simply wasn't feasible, however, as time and money were against them. Their solution was simple and effective. Taking the Ile Notre-Dame, they connected all the island's roads and made a circuit. The island had been the home of the 1967 World Fair (Expo'67) and was full of futuristic looking buildings. It was, everyone agreed, a perfect venue for a Grand Prix.

After $2m was spent on upgrading the circuit to Formula One standards, the first race was held there in October 1978. Gilles Villeneuve, in his first season with Ferrari, was yet to win a Formula One race, but at his home Grand Prix he took a memorable debut victory. Following his tragic death in 1982, the track was renamed in his honour.

His son, Jacques, never won at the track but some of the great drivers of the sport have taken the spoils here. Michael Schumacher holds the record of having won seven times in Canada. It is also the scene of Jean Alesi's single Grand Prix victory in 1995, driving the number 27 Ferrari, the same car number which carried Gilles Villeneuve into the hearts of the Canadian Formula One fans.

There is a slight right kink before turn 1 and you have to brake roughly 50 metres from the apex, downshifting from seventh to third gear. Turn 2 (Virage Senna) follows immediately after - one more downshift is required for the slow right-hander and a late apex can be useful for a good exit. Turns 3 and 4 are quite tricky - a good line is key - riding the kerbs and going within inches of the wall is important for a fast time. The chicane itself is a right-left taken in third gear. Turn 5 is a flat-out right-hander which leads to turns 6 and 7. Again, a good line is vital and the kerbs need to be ridden well here. It is a left-right chicane taken in second gear and leads onto the backstraight. Turns 8 and 9 make up yet another chicane, and are very similar to turns 3 and 4 - a right-left taken in second gear where cars run as close to the barrier as possible to maximize exit speed. Turn 10 (L'Epingle) is a tight, first gear right-hand hairpin and taking a "V" line can be good to maximise speed down the following straight. Turns 13 and 14 are perhaps the most famous corners at the circuit - yet another chicane that requires plenty of kerb use and a line that takes you close to the wall, the corners are well known for catching out many drivers on the exit wall named the 'Wall of Champions'. To avoid this, you have to make sure you don't clout the kerbs too hard and if you feel like you are going to understeer into one, take to the escape road. The turns themselves, a right-left chicane, are taken in third gear after a heavy braking zone.

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