Round 9 of the 2023 Formula 1 season heads to North America for the second of four visits this year. The Canada Grand Prix is set to kick off with free practice on Friday 16th of June at 8:30 PM EAT.
Wildfires in Alberta over 3000 kilometres away had cast doubt on whether the race would happen.
Max Verstappen the current championship leader with 170 points will be looking for his 41st grand prix victory. The reigning driver’s world champion is on song with a dominant display so far this season sitting 53 points clear of second-placed Sergio Perez, his teammate at Red Bull.
Mercedes collected the highest haul of 33 points from the Spanish GP after tuning a major update package they couldn’t put through the paces in the Monaco GP the previous week.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton led his teammate and compatriot George Russell to a double podium finish behind Verstappen. Perez was fourth having started from 11th.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was 5th after a disappointing outing followed by Lance Stroll of Aston Martin in 6th. Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon Zhou Guanyu and Pierre Gasly of Aston Martin, Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Alpine rounded off the top 10.
The rear-limited Gilles Villeneuve track with its twisty chicanes is a contrast to the front-limited Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s sweeping turns.
It traditionally does, however, provide numerous overtaking opportunities across its 4.361 kilometers. Drivers will navigate 6 left turns and 8 right turns across 70 laps over a race distance of 305.27 Kilometres in the race that flags off at 9 PM EAT.
Tire supplier Pirelli will be bringing its 3 softest compounds to Montreal for the race weekend. Teams will pick from the red-walled C5, the softest of the lot and also the fasted to heat up and have performance.
They will also have the yellow-walled C4 which doesn’t heat up as fast but retains performance further than the C5. Lastly, they will also have the white-walled C3 which is the slowest to heat up but has the longest performance stint.
Should it rain, teams will also have the green-walled intermediate tires for slight wetness and the blue-walled full wets for heavier rainfall and water on the race track.
To accommodate changing temperatures over the weekend, Pirelli is anticipating a two-stopper for most teams.
Potentially though, back-markers may opt for the one-stopper to make up places during competitor pit stop windows.
The semi-permanent, purpose-built, street circuit is characterized by low downforce and high traction as well as track evolution. The track is also characterized by high tire stress due to high brake incidents. It is however only mildly abrasive so minimal tire management will be required.
The pit entry of the Gilles Villeneuve has been reduced to 4.5 meters while the concrete wall at the end of the pit wall are some changes made to the track. Other changes include the run-off area at turn three which has been expanded. The concrete wall and barrier at the turn 1 run-off have been realigned as have the walls at turn 7.
Free practice starts on Friday at 8:30 PM EAT on Friday with qualifying scheduled for 7:30 PM EAT on Friday. The race will start at 9 PM EAT on Sunday.