Canadian Grand Prix: PreviewJune 15, 2022
Haas F1 Team is preparing for the comeback of the Canadian Grand Prix after an enforced two-year absence, marking Round 9 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Canada joined Formula 1’s calendar in 1967, alternating between Mosport Park and Mont-Tremblant, before setting up a permanent home on the Île Notre Dame, a man-made island that straddles the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal.
The island, which was constructed for Montreal’s Expo 67, is part of the Parc Jean-Drapeau, and its circuit has borne the name of Canadian hero Gilles Villeneuve since his untimely death in 1982. The circuit is just a short metro ride from the vibrant downtown districts of Montreal and the city fully embraces Formula 1 to make the grand prix one of Canada’s leading sporting events.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is known for its high-speed sections, medium-speed chicanes, and a couple of heavy braking zones that put a focus on straight-line prowess and stopping power. The exit of the final chicane is dubbed the Wall of Champions, owing to the number of high-profile racers that have suffered weekend-ending damage at the unforgiving complex. The track surface itself has also been susceptible to causing high tire degradation and wear, a situation accentuated by Montreal’s weather extremes, with long hot summers counterbalanced by freezing winters.
Track evolution is high, given the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s infrequent usage, an element that will be heightened after Formula 1’s two-year absence. The wildlife can also pose a problem; groundhogs have been known to wander from the bushes and onto the track – a situation which has previously damaged front wings and caused worse outcomes for the small creatures.
Kevin Magnussen has started five Canadian grands prix, including the most recent running in 2019, while for Mick Schumacher it will be his first experience of the popular event.
Guenther Steiner – Team Principal of Haas F1 Team
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a race where it looked like the full potential of the VF-22 wasn’t seen on track. Talk us through the weekend and why Baku didn’t suit the style of the car.
“We were actually surprised how good the car came along on Sunday for the race, with Kevin fighting for points, but then we had the mechanical failure with the PU. In general, on Friday we didn’t start off on the right foot, we were a little bit off – more than a little bit – but on Saturday we got it in the right region where we needed to be.
“Where we suffered most was on the straight, other people did a better job on low downforce going down the straights, so the whole weekend we suffered a little bit there. If qualifying hadn’t been compromised by the red and yellow flag we encountered, it could’ve been a better race but nevertheless, before the failure we were in a very good position to score points so I’m not too upset, I’m more disappointed that we had another DNF.”
For Round 9 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship we head to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix, the first time in three years. What do you like about the city and what are your best memories from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – for example, should the famed teams’ raft race make a return?
“It’s always nice to go back to Canada, it’s always a nice event. I say nice because people really like that we go there and they see it as a great event for their city and the entire F1 community loves Montreal. It’s always a good race with a good atmosphere and in general just a good place. With the raft race, these days I just don’t think there is the time anymore to do these types of things. It’s unfortunate but we have to go with the times, the team cannot just make the time up to create a raft – at the moment it’s not doable but maybe one day it returns.”
It’s a circuit that combines the best traits of a street track with a permanent course, but with cars expected to feel the harsh bumps of the tarmac once again, how do teams battle with porpoising and how long should we expect to see it on track?
“Porpoising is so different from race track to race track. In Barcelona, it seemed that everyone had found a solution for it but then we go back to Baku and we haven’t got one, so I’m not really sure what to expect in Montreal. I think it’s part of the package of the car and I’m sure that there are enough intelligent engineers in Formula 1 that sooner or later, hopefully sooner, we get in control of porpoising.
“We suffer it a little bit, maybe a little bit less than some other teams but maybe more than others so we just work on each track, giving drivers the best ride possible with the best performance because it’s all down to performance. If you compromise performance you can get a very comfortable ride out of it, but who wants to do that? Let’s see when we go out in FP1 where we are, but we all know Canada is pretty bumpy, so if it’s bumpy it doesn’t normally get better, but let’s wait and see.”
With a lot of talk about the budget cap going on up and down the paddock, where does Haas F1 Team stand and will operations become lean throughout the second half of the season or are you confident in the team’s forecasting for the season?
“This budget cap, combined with inflation which the world is experiencing, has become a talking point but I think each team has to manage how it is. The situation is we got unexpected inflation with the invasion of Ukraine mainly, so we just try to manage it. It’s tough but we’re used to running an efficient organization and we just need to cut the cloth accordingly. That’s what we’re trying to do and I’m very sure we will show up to all races and we’ll try to make the savings somewhere else.”