|Circuit||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – Montreal|
|Distance||305,270 km / 189,727 miles|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||F14 T||303||Scuderia Ferrari||10.|
|14||Fernando Alonso||F14 T||302||Scuderia Ferrari||6.|
Maranello, 9 June – The Canadian Grand Prix saw improvements relating to various aspects of the F14 T, but it did not deliver the results Scuderia Ferrari was hoping for. The disappointment felt at the track has not compromised the team’s fighting spirit, with the squad now heading back to Maranello, more determined than ever to move forward with the short, medium and long term development programmes.
The current mood within Ferrari is summed up well by Team Principal Marco Mattiacci. “We are very angry with ourselves, but we have no intention of giving up. The Canadian circuit definitely didn’t suit us, given that it highlighted the strong points of some of our competitors and, on top of that, not everything went right either, given that we started from too far back and the others improved more than we did,” he said. “On the positive side of this weekend, everyone wants to fight back, starting with our drivers, Kimi and Fernando, who are both extremely tenacious guys, competent and competitive and they know how to work as a team to point us in the direction of the areas that are a priority in our development programme. Some updates produced good results on track and that’s why we will continue down this path race by race”.
The Team Principal also reiterated the fact that the new path embarked on in Maranello will take time to deliver results. “We have improved since the start of the year, but every step forward we make must be looked at in the context of what our rivals have done. Ferrari has begun work on a specific approach, based around a few key figures; President Montezemolo, James Allison, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and a group of highly talented engineers. It’s a case of restructuring the team, with people being given the best possible conditions in which to get the job done”.
In the short term, the priorities do not change. “There is a clearly defined development programme that we are working through and which will see us bring updates to every race”, added Mattiacci. “Another major target is to speed up our reaction time, which is something our competitors seem to manage to do”.
Marco Mattiacci: “Even before we got to Montreal, we knew this would not be an easy race for us, because this is not a track that suits the characteristics of our car. The final result is definitely not satisfactory, far from it, but the improvement in performance seen over the weekend shows that to get the most out of our package, we have to push in those areas where our opponents are making the difference. Today we saw that for many teams, this was a battle fought on the reliability front and our main rivals were able to make the most of the opportunities presented to them by Mercedes. My congratulations go to Ricciardo for the first win of his career. As for the future, I can’t make predictions, but I would ask the team to take a long hard look at what they are doing and work together, putting in maximum effort so that our drivers can fight for more ambitious results.”
Fernando Alonso: “Looking at the wild final stages of the race, today we picked up some “lucky” points, but we still can’t be happy with where we finished as our aim was to do better than this. In the beginning, my pace wasn’t good and I wasn’t happy with the balance of my car. Then in the second stint, when the track began to improve, we found a good rhythm and we managed to catch the group in front. But we weren’t quick enough to join the fight. What Red Bull did in the race shows how quickly things can change in Formula 1 and that should be further motivation for us to get to a point where we can fight for the win. This weekend, we have made some steps forward, especially on the aerodynamic front, but the others have also improved and now, all we can do is carry on working to be as well prepared as possible for the forthcoming races.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “We knew this would not be an easy race, because on this track, we were not fast enough down the straights and we had some problems in the slow corners. On top of that, today I never had a clear track ahead of me, for one reason or another I was always stuck behind other cars. In the beginning I had some problems with the brakes and the handling of my car wasn’t consistent. Then after a few laps, the tyres behaved better, but still with highs and lows. For a lot of laps, I was stuck behind Kvyat’s Toro Rosso and this cost me precious time. Even if at the moment, nothing seems to be going right for us, the new development package has given us more potential and now we must just try and find more consistency.”
Pat Fry: “Tyre degradation had a significant effect on today’s race as did, in more general terms, everything linked to parameters affected by temperature, as today it was, as expected, very hot. The start wasn’t easy, because we were starting from far back and here, it’s almost impossible to overtake. The Safety Car coming out on the opening lap reduced the effect of fuel consumption and then in the second stint, on a clean track, the pace improved, but even so, it was difficult to make up places. Fernando’s first stop saw him get ahead of Vergne in the Toro Rosso, while Kimi lost time behind Kvyat, but in the end, he managed to get past. In the final stint, the group ahead closed up and our pace was very good with Fernando, but it was almost impossible to overtake. We brought some improvements to the F14 T and even though this track did not produce the results we expected, we will continue to work on the development of the car and on this front our approach will not change for the coming races.”
Montreal, 8 June – An anonymous afternoon for Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in what was possibly the most exciting race of the year so far.
Having qualified in the middle of the grid, the Ferrari duo had no place to go given the difficulty in overtaking cars that had a greater top speed than the F14 T. However, a frightening accident on the penultimate lap wiped out two cars so that the Ferrari men ended the race in sixth and tenth places. This was the first race of the year not won by a Mercedes, with Red Bull taking the victory courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian recording his first ever Grand Prix win. Nico Rosberg was second for Mercedes and still leads the championship, while Sebastian Vettel was third in the second Red Bull.
The race got underway in very hot conditions, with the track temperature at 50 degrees. At the start, Fernando dropped a place to eighth on the outside of Turn 2, running behind Vergne in the Toro Rosso and ahead of Kimi who moved up to ninth.
The Safety Car came out after the two Marussia’s collided on lap 1. The laps run in this neutralised period at least meant that fuel consumption worries would be lessened after the SC came in on lap 7. Fernando and Kimi ran as high as third and fourth when others pitted ahead of them. Fernando came in on lap 16, fitting the Soft Pirellis and rejoining in 10th, having managed to get ahead of Vergne by a couple of car lengths as he came out of the pits. Kimi changed to the Softs on lap 17, but the Finn was now down in 13th behind Kvyat in the Toro Rosso.
The story of the race for both Ferrari men was one of frustration at not being able to pass cars ahead. Fernando’s pace was better in the middle stint, but there was nowhere for him to go, as overtaking was proving very difficult, with cars around him having better top speed. Kimi pitted a final time on lap 39, later spinning at the hairpin but continuing.
Fernando was ninth on lap 44 when he made his final stop and was up to eighth shortly after, but both his and Kimi’s promotion up the order came in the closing stages in what was a crazy end to the Canadian Grand Prix. Five cars were locked in a battle for the lead, with Rosberg chased by Perez, Ricciardo, Vettel and Massa. Perez dropped back and as Massa dived to pass him down the pit straight, the Mexican moved slightly off line, causing both men to crash very heavily. It brought out the Safety Car, which led the field past the chequered flag and promoted the two Ferrari men to their final positions, Fernando having been passed on the penultimate lap by Button in the McLaren.
Montreal, 8 June –Scuderia Ferrari did not have the best of races today, with Fernando Alonso bringing home the points for sixth and Kimi Raikkonen finishing tenth. The surprise winner was Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull. It was the Australian’s maiden victory, finishing ahead of series leader Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel in the other Red Bull.
It was not an easy afternoon for Scuderia Ferrari. Fernando dropped a place to eighth at the start, while Kimi moved up one to ninth. After that the two F14Ts ran one behind the other for a while until the first pit stops. Alonso then closed on the leading group but struggled to make any passing moves because of a lack of top speed, while Raikkonen dropped down to 15th after spinning at the hairpin.
The move into the points for the Ferrari duo came on the final lap when Massa and Perez collided and went out, promoting both men up the order by two places. The next Grand Prix is in Austria in a fortnight.
Fernando Alonso: “The result of qualifying reflects the trend we have seen since the start of the season. As often happens, even if on Friday we are front runners, on Saturday we struggle a bit more. The development package we have brought here in Canada has worked well, the car has improved and I am pleased about that, even if at the moment we are unable to extract all the potential out of the car. Mercedes’ dominance today was not a surprise and the Red Bulls and Williams also did better than us. I think tomorrow’s race will not be easy, as it is hard to overtake at the start here, because there is not enough room through the first two corners. We will also have to do a good job of managing tyre degradation and of choosing the right number of stops. It’s been much hotter than yesterday and the tyre that seemed to be the best to race on, the Soft, today appeared less suited to the conditions than the Supersoft. If, as expected, the hot weather continues, the choice will move towards the latter and that will mean making one more stop.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “All weekend, I haven’t been completely satisfied with the handling of my car and again today in qualifying I found it difficult. On my only run in Q3, I went out on a new set of Supersofts, but my F14 T was sliding a lot and I couldn’t put together a good lap. Maybe I could have been one or two places higher up, but I don’t think it would have changed much. Even if the updates we tried yesterday worked, we knew it wouldn’t be easy: probably this is one of the tracks that least suits the characteristics of our car. I expect a very long race tomorrow, in which anything could happen. We will try and get a good start and then give it our all.”
Pat Fry: “Today we knew we’d be facing a difficult qualifying, but to be honest, we were hoping for something a bit better. We also knew that at this track, we wouldn’t just be fighting Red Bull, but other teams as well who, thanks to the few corners and long straights here, would give us a hard time and that proved to be the case. The session began in particularly high temperatures, almost 20 degrees hotter than yesterday and we struggled more than our rivals to find enough grip with both cars. From a technical point of view Red Bull, thanks to their higher level of downforce and Williams, with the better driveability of the Mercedes engine, were able to get more out of the tyres, which meant they were more competitive than us. Tomorrow, we will try and do all we can to get a good start, although this year it has not been so easy to make the most of the straights for overtaking. We will definitely have to keep an eye on tyre degradation, which has a bigger effect here, especially with the rears.”
Montreal, 7 June – Starting from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid is never ideal, but the outcome of today’s qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari was not entirely unpredictable. The long straights and lack of corners at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve were always going to favour the most powerful engine in the pack, while our closest rivals, Red Bull, were able to exploit a slight advantage on the aero front.
Therefore, both men will be facing an uphill battle over the 70 laps tomorrow, starting from seventh and tenth on the grid. However, if you were able to watch any of the on-board footage from Fernando Alonso’s and Kimi Raikkonen’s F14 T, you could see that there was certainly no lack of commitment from the Prancing Horse jockeys as they tackled the challenging Montreal track, almost brushing the unforgiving walls and charging over the kerbs.
Monaco winner Nico Rosberg took pole ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with the second row featuring reigning champion Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull, with Valtteri Bottas fourth for Williams.
As predicted, temperatures were much higher today and although it didn’t seem to have a very significant influence on tyre degradation, it did mean that in some cases, the Supersoft tyre was perhaps not performing as well as the Soft in qualifying. For tomorrow, one or two stops still seem the most likely strategy choices, while pit wall crews will have to be ready for any eventuality, as this is a circuit where the Safety Car has frequently made an appearance in the past. And it seems that might be the case for a few more years to come, as it was announced today that the authorities have signed a new contract to keep the Canadian Grand Prix here in Montreal for a further decade.
Although qualifying began at 13h00 today, tomorrow’s race gets underway an hour later at 14h00 local time.
Montreal, 7 June – Not the best of qualifying sessions for Scuderia Ferrari in Canada. Fernando Alonso will start tomorrow’s race from seventh on the grid, while Kimi Raikkonen is in tenth place. Having made it to Q2 without any bother, the two F14 Ts then had a harder time. Fernando excelled himself, with a great 1.16.131 which put him through to Q3, using two sets of new tyres. Kimi had to make an additional run, which meant that when he got to the final part, he only had one set of new tyres left.
On his second flying lap in Q3, Alonso did a 1.15.814, while Kimi’s single run netted him a 1.16.214. Pole went to Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, the seventh of his career. Next up was his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Also ahead of Alonso tomorrow will be Vettel, Bottas, Massa and Ricciardo.
Montreal, 7 June –Fourth and sixth fastest times for the Scuderia Ferrari drivers in the third free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix. Fernando’s fastest lap was a 1.16.488 and he completed 15 laps, while Kimi Raikkonen was just four hundredths slower in 1.16.528, running 22 laps.
The Scuderia drivers continued with an evaluation of the various updates brought here and Raikkonen also managed to finish the set-up work he had been unable to complete yesterday, having lost some time in the first session. The track and air temperature played a part, notably higher today and the lap times therefore dropped significantly. Lewis Hamilton was fastest for Mercedes with a 1.15.610, while second was Felipe Massa who did a 1.16.086 in the Williams. Behind him came series leader Nico Rosberg, then Alonso, Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Raikkonen. At 13h00 local time the serious business of qualifying gets underway.
Fernando Alonso: “I am reasonably pleased with the day’s testing as we got through a lot of work without encountering any particular problems. We tried some new components and now we must concentrate on getting a good understanding of how they are working. As always on a Friday, we must analyse all the data we have gathered to try and be as well prepared as possible for tomorrow’s qualifying, also taking into account the fact that tyre behaviour is very similar to what we saw in Monaco. Certainly, the Supersofts are not like they were in the past and in a race, they last for many laps. For that reason I think there won’t be any problems either in qualifying or the first stint of the race.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Like every Friday, today’s programme centred on looking at different set-ups in the first session and a race simulation with both compounds in the second one. This morning, because of a problem on my car, I was unable to run as much as planned and that’s never a good thing, because getting in plenty of laps is very important. Thanks to speedy work from the team, in the afternoon, we managed to make up for the run lost in the morning and even if it’s too early to make predictions, overall, it didn’t go badly and by the end of the day my feeling with the car had improved. I am still not 100% happy with the handling of the F14 T, but I am sure that an analysis of the data we gathered will point us in the right direction for qualifying and the race.”
Pat Fry: “We had a particularly busy day in our garage today. What might have looked like two normal practice sessions were actually particularly demanding for the engineers and mechanics, because of several problems, albeit small ones, that affected the running of our programme. However, the number of laps completed by both drivers was enough to get the necessary information to carry out the job of fine tuning the cars. There were two sides to the programme, evaluating the updates introduced for this race and comparing the two compounds, the Soft and Supersoft, brought here by Pirelli. As usual here in Canada, the track is very dirty and that affects grip levels. On this front, we can expect a significant improvement over the course of the weekend. We have to keep that in mind when working on set-up and also when assessing tyre degradation. This latter factor, along with managing fuel consumption, will play an important part in qualifying and in the race, given that temperatures are expected to rise over Saturday and again on Sunday. It’s always difficult to make predictions on Friday because the relative performance level of the teams has yet to be assessed. We will try and give Kimi and Fernando the best possible package and then we will see what results that can deliver.”
Montreal, 6 June –In the second free practice session for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari continued a busy programme of evaluation of the latest updates fitted to the F14 T, which got underway this morning. In the second 90 minutes of the day, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen split the work, the Finn trying parts the Spaniard had used in the morning and vice versa.
Having solved the problems that had slowed him in the morning, Kimi set the fourth fastest time of 1.16.648 on the Supersofts, 53 thousandths quicker than Fernando who was fifth. Raikkonen completed 31 laps, Alonso 27. The Mercedes duo were quickest, with Lewis Hamilton posting a 1.16.118 and Nico Rosberg doing a 1.16.293. Sebastian Vettel was third for Red Bull in 1.16.573. Behind the Prancing Horse duo came Massa, Bottas and Magnussen.
Like most teams, Scuderia Ferrari spent the final thirty minutes of the session working on a long run test, in preparation for the race. Here again, the two men split the workload, with Alonso starting off on the Supersoft tyres, while Raikkonen opted for the Soft, before switching to the softer compound at the end. As usual, Saturday’s programme features the third free practice session in the morning, with qualifying taking place in the afternoon.
Montreal, 6 June –The first free practice session this Friday of the Canadian Grand Prix was a busy one for Scuderia Ferrari. There were various new parts to evaluate on the F14 Ts. Fernando Alonso was fastest in 1.17.238, while Kimi Raikkonen was ninth with a 1.18.578. Fernando had a trouble free session, covering 21 laps in his F14 T. Kimi Raikkonen had a glitch to deal with, unable to use the power unit to its full extent at the start of the session. The Finn completed 15 laps. Behind Alonso came the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, just 16 thousandths off the Spaniard’s time and Nico Rosberg, a tenth and a half behind. Between the top three and Raikkonen were Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo, Button and Magnussen.
Montreal, 5 June –Some days the press get “talkative Kimi” and other times it’s “laconic Kimi” and today it was a case of the latter, as the Scuderia Ferrari driver was not interested in commenting about feuds between other teams’ drivers, nor seeing much significance in the fact that this Sunday he takes part in his 200th Grand Prix.
However, he was more forthcoming on the topic of the updates brought to Canada for the F14 T. “We have to see how practice goes tomorrow, before getting an idea of what they might bring,” said the Finn. “The weather forecast promised for Friday is not so good and we must hope it’s dry, so we can really get an idea of how things are. Any small improvements are always welcome. We know what we are doing and we are making progress. However, it’s a long process and it won’t happen in just a few weeks.”
As for the rest of the season, Kimi did not foresee a major change to the current hierarchy down pit lane. “I think it would be very hard to challenge Mercedes for the championship,” he maintained. “But within Ferrari we still want to do the best that we can at every race, we want to get stronger for the future and aim for the podium. But I am not prepared to start guessing about whether I can win a race soon.” As for this weekend – “usually, we have quite exciting races here because of the layout of the circuit and also the weather can play a part.”
Montreal, 5 June – In the makeshift Scuderia Ferrari hospitality unit, floating on the Olympic Rowing Basin at this unique race track, Fernando Alonso initiated the Canadian GP media proceedings with his usual Thursday encounter with the press. As has been the case in Montreal once every four years the first topic concerned Spain’s chances in the upcoming football World Cup, in which it is the reigning champion. “There are always ups and downs in football, but in recent years the team has made the whole country very happy and expectations will be high again and hopefully they will make us happy again!”
Then, it was onto the more serious matter of this weekend. “It’s going to be tough on a track where once again the dominant factor is the power effect, not like Monaco or Barcelona,” said the Ferrari man. “It’s not going to be easy but I like the track and we have performed well here over the past four years, so I expect to have a good weekend, scoring good points. We have some updates that we have been working on for some weeks, testing them in the simulator. It’s a short lap so the times will be very close which means that one or two tenths can equate to six or seven positions.”
With one team being dominant so far this year, Fernando was asked at what point the Scuderia should concentrate on the 2015 season. “We need to keep fighting for important goals and we have targets to achieve this year, maintained the Spaniard. “However we must not compromise next year’s project this year. We need to keep developing in 2014, because many things carry over for the following year. But if there is something fundamental for next year, obviously we mustn’t take any time away from that. I am not worried about this. Since Marco Mattiacci arrived, everything is moving in the right direction. He has good vision and a very clever approach and we are going to be stronger and stronger.”
Maranello, 5 June – There’s a special logo on the Ferrari F14 Ts that Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will drive in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix and at the team’s home race in Monza in September. The logo, which will feature on the sides of the cars, next to the rear view mirrors, celebrates 200 years of the Arma dei Carabinieri, Italy’s Military Police.
The logo features the famous emblem of a flaming grenade with the initial letters of the Italian Republic, as well as the Carabinieri motto, “Nei secoli fedele” (faithful through the centuries,) as well as the Italian flag, with two dates, 1814, when the organisation was established and 2014, the year of the bicentenary. Having the logo on the cars emphasizes its ever present links to the Carabinieri, based on shared deep values such as respect for one’s history and tradition and on the fact that both are symbolic of Italy around the world. These links were demonstrated in spectacular fashion back in 2012, when Ferrari supported the 4th Carabinieri Cavalry Regiment trip to London. This special division performed its famous historic carousel as part of the Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor Great Park.
Montreal, 4 June – It was an interesting afternoon in Montreal for Kimi Raikkonen who made a special three-dimensional journey thanks to Scuderia Ferrari sponsor Shell. With the help of a special pair of glasses he was transported to the inside of a road car’s six-cylinder engine.
The 3D glasses allowed Kimi to immerse himself in a drop of V-Power fuel and to see how far petrol technology has evolved in recent years thanks to motor sport. After all Formula 1 has always been the home of the most advanced research and it has often been considered the final test bench before top products are put into the marketplace.
Kimi, who enjoyed this new experience, admitted that fuel technology was still an area that was not easy for him to understand: ‘But I realise that this is a field that requires a very high level of professionalism, just as with the engineers and drivers in Formula 1. I have a great admiration for the work that Shell carries out both for and alongside Ferrari and I have the utmost faith in the people who work on developing the fuels and oils that we use.”
Raikkonen finished with a word on the Canadian Grand Prix: ‘The Montreal track is easy only in appearance. I believe the preparation for Sunday’s results will start on Friday and I hope the evolutions we have brought will confirm they work on the track. Obviously our target for the race is a good result after a start to the season that has been hard, especially for me. But we will have to see how our improvements compare to those of our opponents who certainly haven’t stopped work over the last few days. From Friday we will know more.”
Montreal, 4 June – At the start of the year, Kimi Raikkonen was surprised to learn that he is currently the oldest driver on the Formula 1 grid. The Finn will turn 35 in October. And now, another statistic has caught his attention. “I’ve been told this weekend’s Canadian GP will be my 200th Grand Prix, which shows how time flies”, says the Scuderia Ferrari driver. “I’ll still be racing flat out and the numbers don’t really change anything, but I’m sure it’s a milestone I will look back on with pride in years to come”.
Hitting the 200 puts Raikkonen fourteenth in the all-time table, which is headed by Rubens Barrichello on 323 Formula 1 race starts. In a career that dates back to 2001, with a two year “sabbatical” in 2010 and ’11, Kimi won the Canadian Grand Prix back in 2005. “Apart from this being my 200th race, I’m not here just to make up the numbers and getting a good result in Montreal would give us a better reason to celebrate” – continues Kimi – “The Canadian race is one of the most challenging of the season and a track where you have to get everything just right in terms of the car set-up. We have some upgrades for this weekend, but of course the other teams have not been standing still, so the order should not have changed much. Hopefully we can close the gap a bit and get the best result of the season so far for my 200th race, which would be great for the whole team”.
Maranello, 3 June – After two races in Europe, the F1 circus leaves the Old Continent and heads west for the first time this year to take in one of the most popular events on the calendar, the Canadian Grand Prix. Before crossing the Atlantic, Fernando Alonso spent a few days in the factory at Maranello, helping the team prepare for the race, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was involved in sponsor work in Scandinavia.
“After Monaco I felt a good atmosphere in the factory,” said Fernando. “Everyone is very motivated and hungry for good results. We are realistic and well aware of where we are at the moment, but from now on, we want to be in a position to get better results and enjoy our race weekends a bit more and everyone is working in one direction to improve the car”.
The Spaniard has always enjoyed being in the factory and he feels it can provide tangible results. “It is important to spend time with the engineers, the mechanics and other team personnel away from the race weekend, because there are always new ideas or things that spring to mind,” reckoned Fernando. “It can happen that even while you are just having lunch together, you remember something that you would like to try at the next Grand Prix or even in the simulator. That’s why it’s good for me to spend time here in a unique family environment”.
In the short term, the focus has naturally been on the upcoming Grand Prix. “We have been improving the car on the aero side, while in the simulator, we have done a lot of work on the set-up with the aim of arriving in Canada with a better car,” revealed the Ferrari man. “We can’t make any predictions because our improvement has to be seen in relation to what our competitors come up with. We need to match them and then find a plus”.
As a past winner at the Gilles Villeneuve track, Alonso is a fan of the place. “It has only six or seven corners, but each one has something special. They have an element of danger and getting them right brings you a lot of lap time. There is definitely no room for error, as all the walls are very very close. You can feel the city of Montreal has a lot of passion for the race and everyone gets involved in some way. I won here which definitely provides good memories and I also remember that big storm a couple of years back which meant the race was stopped for hours and we were waiting on the grid. There have been ups and downs in terms of results and hopefully this year will be a good one”.
Maranello, 2 June –This Sunday sees the 45th running of the Canadian Grand Prix. The race was first held in 1967, when Jack Brabham won in his own car. It’s been held on three circuits: Mosport Park eight times, Mont-Tremblant twice and Montreal, 34 times, making it a classic on the calendar.
Ferrari has won the race 11 times which is a 25% success rate. The first win was even a one-two finish at Mont-Tremblant, where Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni crossed the line in that order in the 312B. The Montreal track made its debut eight years later, built on the perimeter roads of the man-made Ile Notre Dame. It used the excavated soil from the construction of the 1976 Olympic village. Local hero Gilles Villeneuve won in the Ferrari 312 T3. The fallout from this win was incredible, being the first victory for a Canadian, as well as taking place in Quebec, where Gilles was born. The track was named in his honour after his death at Zolder in May 1982 and the following year, Ferrari won again in Montreal with Rene Arnoux and a further two years on, Michele Alboreto was victorious.
In 1995, the famous number 27 won again, giving Jean Alesi the best day of his career: Michael Schumacher in the Benetton had an electrical problem, which meant he had to pit to change the steering wheel and to have the system reset. For once, Alesi managed to shake the monkey off his back that had been there for so long. The Frenchman crossed the line to celebrate his 31st birthday in the best way possible. Montreal has a big Italian population and the fans invaded the track, risking getting run over as cars were still on track. Alesi had to park his car as he was mobbed by fans and in the end, it was the aforementioned Schumacher who gave him a lift back, wrapped in the French flag.
In fact, the remaining 6 Ferrari wins in Canada all came courtesy of Schumacher, the first of them in 1997. The following year was a bit more controversial, as the Ferrari man drove into Heinz-Harald Frentzen coming out of the pits, putting the Williams out of the race. Michael was given a stop-go penalty, but he still managed to win.
Walls close to the track edge are a feature of this circuit and one in particular, on the outside of the last turn before the pit straight, has ended the hopes of many of the best drivers over the years. It has become known as the “Wall of Champions” and it has caught out big names such as Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill, Rubens Barrichello and more recently, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel, the latter on Friday in 2011. Schumacher wasn’t immune to it either, his race coming to an end there in 1999 while leading, but he made up for it, winning in 2000, 2002 and 2004, making him the king of Canada with no less than seven wins.