Sebastien Buemi will get an early taste of Formula One's return to Canada this weekend, but the experience is unlikely to help him when racing gets underway in June.
The Swiss driver, who made the move to the top flight with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2009 and therefore has never raced at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, is scheduled to conduct the latest Red Bull-driven event when he pilots an F1 car around a specially-constructed four-kilometre track on the frozen waters of the neighbouring Olympic rowing basin.
The event is designed to help publicise F1's return to Montreal after being forced to take a sabbatical last season, and will see Buemi follow in the tracks of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld when he takes to the mix of straights, corners and arenas that will best allow him to demonstrate the potential of an F1 car – albeit one on ice - to the expected crowds.
Heidfeld previously drove a 2006-spec BMW-Sauber on a frozen lake in Switzerland as part of the White Turf
snow-racing spectacular back in 2007. The German used specially studded Bridgestone tyres for that run, as Ferrari had done for its pre-season launches on the ice and snow of Madonna di Campiglio, and it is expected that Buemi will employ something similar as he attempts to wow Montreal.
"That was quite a unique experience," Heidfeld admitted at the time of his demo, "The frozen track was, of course, much rougher than what I'm used to in F1. Although it was by no means easy to apply force on such a surface, I enjoyed the drive immensely."