Back in its more traditional post-Monaco slot, the Canadian Grand Prix provides the gateway to Formula One's annual transatlantic 'flyaway' spell, with the USGP following hard on its heels just seven days later.

Situated somewhere between street and road course, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the sport's more quirky venues, as well as one of its more picturesque, with the Montreal cityscape in the background on one side, the St Lawrence river on the other and the remnants of the Expo '67 dotted around the park in which the course is set.

The circuit is, however, one of the hardest that the teams will face this season, with high speeds, heavy braking, tight chicanes and close concrete retaining walls combining to keep drivers and mechanics alike on their toes. Canada rarely throws anything other than an eventful weekend, with a regularly high attrition rate that often includes some unexpected names.

No time was that more apparent than 1999, when three world champions - Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher - all found the wall on the outside of the final chicane, or 2005, when champion-elect Fernando Alonso overstepped the mark and retired with broken suspension.

Drivers either seem to love the track - see Giancarlo Fisichella's record there - or detest its stop-start nature, but what seems to be common consensus is that Montreal is a great place to have the race, with the close proximity of the city a big draw for all concerned.

FIA F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS

Team orders were the main headline maker in the weeks between Monaco and Montreal, with Lewis Hamilton's comments after the race in the Principality suggesting that he felt he had been deprived of the chance to shoot for glory. McLaren insisted that, with a big advantage over its rivals, it was playing safe by instructing its drivers to hold station. The FIA wondered initially, perhaps flexing its muscle a little after Ron Dennis criticised plans to involve the manufacturers in designing the future of F1, before eventually agreeing that there was no case to answer.

Flexi-wings also returned to the news with the FIA putting in place ever more stringent tests following video footage that suggested that Red Bull Racing was running a moveable rear wing in Spain. The wing had passed the previous tests, causing the governing body to introduce a new 1000 Newton static load check in time for the transatlantic races..

Hamilton and the championship contenders aside, Ralf Schumacher continues to be the man in the news, with his place at Toyota apparently under threat unless he starts to perform. Rumour suggests that he has Canada and America to impress his paymasters, but the German and his manager both deny that he is under pressure.

Although the 'customer car' row has gone quiet while Colin Kolles awaits a date for his hearing in Lucerne, it refuses to go away altogether, with Sir Frank Williams advising the Spyker MD to drop the action on the grounds that a definitive result may not be forthcoming - at great expense to the teams involved.

The shape of future calendars also continues to make the news, with Silverstone again the focus of Bernie Ecclestone. This time, however, F1's commercial guru has turned on the Olympics-obsessed UK government to share some funding with the circuit, rather than calling on the BRDC to shape up. Elsewhere, Valencia was finally confirmed as a second Spanish venue following local elections, while Suzuka is rumoured to be back on the agenda should it get a promised overhaul in time for the 2009 season. France, which will be missing next season, could also return in two years' time, but at a new temporary venue close to the capital Paris, rather than at the unloved Magny-Cours.

Finally, outgoing Toyota Racing chairman and team principal Tsutomu Tomita is to become the new chairman of Fuji Speedway. Tomita's exit from the Cologne-based operation was confirmed at the end of April, when it was revealed that he would return to Japan. The 63-year old will take the helm at the revamped Fuji as it prepares to host the Japanese Grand Prix for the first time since 1977.

NEWS FROM THE TEAMS:

McLaren - Fernando Alonso (#1), Lewis Hamilton (#2):

Having made the headlines for the wrong reasons after Monaco, McLaren departs for North America looking to gain coverage of its performance rather than its tactics. The team currently leads both the constructors' and drivers' championships, with Fernando Alonso and rookie team-mate Lewis Hamilton tied for first place in the latter, with 38 points.

McLaren was a class apart in Monaco, leaving all but Felipe Massa a lap behind, but CEO Martin Whitmarsh is sure that there will be no repeat in Montreal.

"The Canadian Grand Prix is a very different event to the Monaco race," he reasons, "We go from the slowest, tightest track, packed with corners, on the calendar to a circuit that is all about long periods of power and braking. The MP4-22 performed incredibly well in Monte Carlo but, as the track conditions are poles apart, we are not going to Montreal with the same expectations. We go aiming to fight for the victory and to maintain our positions at the top of both the constructors' and drivers' championships, but we are realistic about the potential to dominate."

Alonso holds provisional top spot in the standings on a tie-breaker determined by race wins, and heads to Canada in positive frame of mind - no doubt helped by the fact that the team backed him in Monaco, both with a lighter fuel load in qualifying and by calling off the aggressive Hamilton in the race.

"We have great momentum in the team after such a fantastic result in Monaco, which is a positive way to be going into the North American double-header," the Spaniard says, "There has been no opportunity to test since Monaco, but the team has been pushing hard off track to keep the momentum going. We have some new packages on the car for Montreal, and we are all pushing hard to attack and fight for more race victories. It is a good circuit to race on as there are a number of places you can overtake, which makes it more exciting for the drivers, teams and fans."

Hamilton may have looked a little disgruntled on the Monaco podium, and has probably learned the lesson about speaking his mind after a disappointing race, but is back on true PR form when it came to looking forward to another new venue.

"The result in Monaco was great for everyone in the team, it was a dream result considering it was my first year there in an F1 car, and it means we are going to North America at the top of both championship tables," he notes, "I cannot wait to get back on track and continue to focus on racing. This will be my debut at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and, because of the chances there are to pass, it looks like a great track to compete on. It has some very distinctive characteristics, such as the low grip, the long straights, hard braking and so on, so my initial laps will focus on understanding all these and how best to drive the track to get good times, but it will be great to finally take to the track."

Renault - Giancarlo Fisichella (#3), Heikki Kovalainen (#4):

Defending Canadian Grand Prix winner, the Renault team will have its work cut out to repeat Fernando Alonso's win from 2006, but is bullish enough to suggest that the improvements that took Giancarlo Fisichella to fourth in Monaco could see it battling BMW Sauber for 'best of the rest' honours this weekend.

"The last test and race have given us some more confidence, and I think we will perform well this weekend," the Italian insists, "I think that we can be optimistic. Things have improved for us in the last weeks, the car balance is better, and the overall grip is higher too. Both factories are working flat out to improve the car even more, and all the members of the team are pushing to the limit. They have done a fantastic job so far. That hard work will definitely pay off, and I am confident that, in Montreal, we will show we're back on form.

"Yes, it's important for me and for the team to see we are going forward step by step, and that we are finding answers to the problems we have suffered since the start of the season. The team has worked night and day in the last weeks, and it is a boost to everybody's determination to see the first rewards on track."

Chief engineer Alan Permane backs up Fisichella's belief that the team has gained on its rivals, even if there is still work to do.

"I believe that, on a more normal circuit, we will be within striking distance of BMW," he claims, "Until now, we have been racing with one eye on our mirrors, looking out for the midfield pack that includes Williams, Toyota and Red Bull. With the developments we introduced in Monaco, and those we have planned for the next races, I think we have given ourselves a cushion to that midfield group - and added the performance that can allow us to race aggressively against the cars in front.

"We know that Canada is traditionally a strong track for us, but our work in testing before the race certainly gave us reason to feel optimistic for the next few races - not just Monaco. Monaco was the first sign of our hard work bearing fruit on track. It has also been a good circuit for the team, and the improvements we have made to the car showed their worth on Saturday and Sunday. But although we finished fourth, we were a lap behind the leaders. That shows there is a still a long way to go..."

While Fisichella has made something of a name for himself as a Montreal specialist, rookie team-mate Heikki Kovalainen will be turning his first miles on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, although he is familiar with the layout having attended the race as reserve driver last season. The Finn is keen to get the weekend underway, too, if only to erase the memory of another disappointing performance.

"As I said at the time, there is not really much to take from the Monaco weekend," he sighs, "I didn't have a chance to set a good time on Thursday, and it got worse from there. I was doubly disappointed because I know how hard the team has worked to give Giancarlo and myself a more consistent and faster car. But that's in the past now. I am focused on the Canadian Grand Prix, and on continuing to improve my performance.

"Canada is all about finding a good compromise between top speed, for which we use a low downforce package, and stability under braking and through the chicanes, in which we need good grip. There are some quite quick chicanes, in third and fourth gears, and we worked on this area in particular at the Paul Ricard test, as the circuit configuration we used included corners of this type, so we could evaluate the car in the right conditions."

Ferrari - Felipe Massa (#5), Kimi Raikkonen (#6):

After just two races in Europe, Ferrari is back on its travels further afield, but the entire team is probably glad to have left Monaco behind, after being soundly beaten by chief rival McLaren. Felipe Massa was the only driver to hold a candle to the Silver Arrows, but he was a long way behind at the chequered flag, while Kimi Raikkonen had to scrap merely for an eighth-place point after fouling up in qualifying.

No-one, however, expects the scenario to be the same in Montreal, as F1 returns to some approaching a normal venue, even if the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve does have its own quirks. Massa will be looking to return to the sort of form that saw him romp away from the McLarens in Spain, while Raikkonen will be looking to turn his luck around before he gets cast adrift in the race for the title.

Both F2007s will be fitted with the same engines that raced in Monaco, a caution point as Canada is tough on engines, but the main focus, as with all eleven teams, will be on the aero and braking capabilities of the cars.

The Prancing Horse will use new front and rear wings, first tested at Paul Ricard before Monaco, and the F2007 will also boast other minor aerodynamic modifications, as well as a revised package of brake systems and cooling ducts.

"We believe we will have a strong package for this event," sporting director Stefano Domenicali maintains, "There is no reason why we should not be able to fight for the win in Montreal after a weekend in Monaco where our performance did not accurately reflect our potential."

Having seen his run of two wins snapped by Alonso, Massa is keen to regain the upper hand and force himself even deeper into the title race.

"I think the F2007 will run as a very strong package in Canada - and also at Indy, where Ferrari has also had good results," he says, "Montreal is a circuit where a good package can deliver a very good result. An important point is that this weekend is the second race in the engine cycle and, although you can never be one hundred per cent sure, I think we have an engine that is strong in terms of reliability."

Honda - Jenson Button (#7), Rubens Barrichello (#8):

Honda again felt that it had made progress with its difficult RA107 in Monaco, getting both drivers through to the top ten in qualifying, but points again proved elusive as the usual problem of traffic in the Principality played against Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

With Honda Canada once again a major sponsor of the Canadian Grand Prix, the team will be keen to turn itself around this weekend and, despite the lack of testing between races, senior technical director Shuhei Nakamoto is confident that both drivers should be able to contend for points.

"We are pleased that the RA107 is continuing to show positive signs as a result of all the team's hard work," he says, "At the last race, the drivers were able to appreciate the improvements and take the most performance possible out of the car and, at the Paul Ricard test, we found a good set-up on the Montreal configured circuit, which we hope will translate well to the race weekend. We are continuing to develop the car, not only in terms of new aero parts, but also mechanical improvements and, although we have not had the opportunity to test since Monaco, we will keep pushing as hard as possible for the North American races."

Button was pipped for points on the penultimate lap in last year's race, but he remains a fan on the trip to Montreal.

"The Canadian Grand Prix is one of my favourite races on the F1 calendar," he reveals, "Montreal is a fantastic city and the atmosphere over the race weekend is amazing. The Canadians are huge Formula One fans and Montreal puts on a terrific street parade.

"On track, the biggest challenge is getting the last chicane before the pits just right. You can have a perfect lap all the way round but, if you hit those kerbs badly, it will
throw you off."

BMW Sauber - Nick Heidfeld (#9), Robert Kubica (#10):

Although beaten to 'best of the rest' status by circuit specialist Giancarlo Fisichella in Monaco, BMW Sauber duo Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica arrive at the Canadian Grand Prix full of confidence.

Both will be aiming to add to their points totals and further strengthen the team's third place in the constructors' championship, having scored points in every race so far this season.

"Last year, we crossed the Atlantic in fifth place in the standings but, in 2007, we will be arriving in Canada as the third best team," motorsport director Mario Theissen stresses, "In 2006, we were only able to take two points away from the pair of races in North America, and this is something we are naturally looking to improve on, aiming to collect as many points as possible on the back of our good result in Monaco in order to further strengthen our position in the championship."

Like most drivers, Heidfeld is a fan of the Canadian race, citing the 'unmistakable atmosphere' and 'special character' of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but also admitting that the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Montreal is much to his liking.

"I like the city a lot," he reveals, "There is always a great atmosphere there and the people get really excited about the grand prix. I usually travel to Montreal a few days before the race and have time to do some shopping in the city. I also like to stop by at a few galleries in the old part of town - Patricia and I have several pictures at home which I bought there."

Team-mate Robert Kubica was still the team's reserve when the F1 circus visited Canada in 2006, so has yet to race there, but was almost instantly quick when carrying out third driver duties on Friday.

"Last year, I was quite good there, so I am looking to repeat that performance and think our car can perform very well because of the downforce configuration," the Pole says, "Montreal means driving with lower downforce for the first time this season, but I like the track because it is a street circuit and has pretty low grip.

"It will be interesting to see how I can cope with the Bridgestone tyres compared to the Michelins of last year, and how I have to change my driving style. I will see how big an influence it was for me to change to the different tyres. Montreal was the track where my driving style of last year gave me an advantage but, as I am not driving the same as in 2006, we have to see how it will be this year."

Technical director Willy Rampf confirms that the F1.07 will feature 'a special aero package' for the unique nature of the circuit, as well as running maximum brake cooling and high-performance specifications for discs and pads.

"This is a circuit that punishes even the slightest error, as the crash barriers are largely extremely close to the track and there are not many run-off areas," he notes, "We were very competitive in Canada last year, and I am extremely confident that we will be able to come away with good results again this year."

Toyota - Ralf Schumacher (#11), Jarno Trulli (#12):

If double retirement in Spain was disappointing for Toyota, missing the top ten in qualifying for Monaco, running mid-pack at best - at right at the very back if you're Ralf Schumacher - hardly lifted spirits in Monaco.

However, the Cologne-based team crosses the Atlantic this weekend expecting to recover, with the relatively low-downforce Circuit Gilles Villeneuve bringing another new aero package that Toyota is confident will give both its drivers a chance to push for points.

"Montreal is the first time we will race our medium/low downforce aerodynamic package, which consists of new front and rear wings and other small changes, so our first task in Friday practice will be to maximise this package, which we also plan to use at Indianapolis," senior general manager Pascal Vasselon comments, "The Montreal track is very tough on brakes, so we have also introduced improvements to our brake ducts which will help aero efficiency and also cooling, as this is very important.

"Monaco was a very disappointing weekend for us, but we will put that behind us. We go to Canada with the goal of closing the gap on the front teams and scoring points again."

Both Schumacher and team-mate Jarno Trulli admit to being fans of the Canadian trip and both have decent records in Montreal.

"It is such a great place to hold a race, with a beautiful city and lively atmosphere," the German explains, "I find it an enjoyable place to be and I have a good record in the race - I won in 2001 and was second in 2003. The circuit itself is one of the best of the season - technically challenging, as it has long straights followed by heavy braking, which really takes it out of the car. But the team has taken this into account and we have made changes for this race, with a totally different aero package compared to Monaco. Obviously, Monaco was a bad weekend for the team but we are working hard on the issues we had there and I hope we'll see an improvement in Canada."

Trulli is confident that the team can bounce back from its poor weekends in Europe.

"I certainly hope I can enjoy this weekend more than our race in Monaco, which was very difficult after the problems we had in qualifying," he says, "Montreal is a completely different kind of circuit, which makes different demands on the car, particularly when it comes to the brakes. I am sure we will move forward from our Monaco performance and I expect to be fighting further up the field. It has been two races now where we have not scored points, so we are really motivated to do better in Canada. I scored points there last year after one of my best races of the season and that is the target again. I'm optimistic we can get a good result."

Red Bull Racing - David Coulthard (#14), Mark Webber (#15):

From a position to score more points, Red Bull Racing left Monaco empty-handed as Mark Webber's RB3 again succumbed to reliability gremlins and David Coulthard paid the price for a moment's inattention in qualifying that saw him demoted to mid-grid. For the Scot, Sunday was a hard afternoon as he came home 14th, while Webber's frustration at losing another top eight position was clear.

"We are trying to get on top of our reliability problems that centred on gearbox electrics and hydraulics, and I think we have moved forward on that front," designer Adrian Newey admits, "Meanwhile, our preparation takes into account that Montreal is the hardest circuit on brakes on the calendar. Like most teams, therefore, we will be focusing some attention on our brake ducts and also running a smaller rear wing."

Red Bull came under some scrutiny after the Spanish race when its rear wing appeared to be moving substantially in action. As a result, the governing body will introduce new rules for all teams this weekend.

"We have to comply with a new deflection test introduced by the FIA to ascertain if your rear wing is flexing illegally," Newey confirms, "We tested our Montreal configuration on the last two days of the Ricard test before Monaco. The rear wing we ran at this test was a cut-down version of our Melbourne wing, so Montreal will be the first outing for our definitive low downforce rear wing. "

Williams - Nico Rosberg (#16), Alex Wurz (#17):

The enforced test ban between Monaco and Montr?al means that the Williams team will also draw heavily on the preparation work carried out at the Paul Ricard test, as well as from a history of success achieved at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where it has picked up no less than seven victories - a total second only to Ferrari's ten.

The team heads to Canada in good heart after Nico Rosberg's rapid pace in Monaco and team-mate Alex Wurz's two points, which strengthened the fifth position Williams currently holds in the constructors' championship. However, with the midfield group remaining as tight as has been all season - witness Rosberg's slide from fifth to twelfth through little fault of his own - the team is quick to admit that it needs to keep on its toes.

"We go to Canada with the target of strengthening our current championship position," technical director Sam Michael confirms, "We haven't had the chance to carry out any on track testing since Monaco due to the test ban, but we've been busy on the simulators and preparing the parts for the North American double-header.

"Montr?al normally has quite low grip levels at the start of the weekend because the circuit is not used much throughout the year and a lot of the spray from the adjacent river is continuously blown onto the track by high winds. These winds can be incredibly unpredictable and play havoc with our finely-tuned gear ratios! The circuit has a great layout, though, with long straights and a lot of slow corners and chicanes, which present a couple of good overtaking spots every lap. As a result, the racing at Montr?al is always exciting to watch."

Despite having only been to the Montreal circuit once - and had his race end on lap two after a coming together with the wall - Rosberg is looking forward to going back.

"I was really quick in Montr?al last year, so I'm definitely looking forward to racing there again," the German says, "We'll have a revised aero package on the cars for the weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works with our tyres. Williams are in fifth place in the constructors' championship at the moment, which is a nice position to be in. As a team, we've scored a few points this year already and we must keep that momentum going. It'll certainly be my aim this weekend."

Wurz, meanwhile, returns to race action in Canada after a few years away, and is equally keen to get back on a layout he enjoys, despite ending one of his first races there upside down in the gavel at turn one.

"Canada is another city grand prix, and I enjoy these kinds of races a lot because the atmosphere is just more intense than at some 'standard' race tracks," the extreme sports fans explains, "Canada requires much less downforce than we had in Monaco, so it remains to be seen which team will have the best downforce package for the race weekend.

"A forecast is quite difficult for Canada. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that it will be very close again between the teams, so it will be yet another hard grand prix. The fight to get into the top ten in qualifying, and to get into points-scoring positions, will be as close as ever."

Scuderia Toro Rosso - Vitantonio Liuzzi (#18), Scott Speed (#19):

Scuderia Toro Rosso produced its best result of the season so far when Scott Speed raced to ninth place in Monaco, but its weekend was soured slightly by Tonio Liuzzi's second lap accident, thought to have been caused by a brush with Red Bull stable-mate David Coulthard at the start.

Although reliability was better in the Principality, the team has been working hard on making its STR2s more bullet-proof, while all the time working on the right set-up options for the lower-downforce Montreal layout, which both drivers will be experiencing for the second time in an F1 car.

"We will be running new front and rear wings to suit the low downforce nature of the track," technical chief Giorgio Ascanelli comments, "The front wing also requires new bargeboards and all these items will have their first track test on Friday. For now, we're having to trust in our wind tunnel data. Of course, we have new braking solutions for this track which is the hardest on brakes, while also keeping some elements of our Monaco package as Montreal is also a soft tyre, bumpy circuit."

Spyker F1 - Christijan Albers (#20), Adrian Sutil (#21):

In contrast to STR, Spyker will be looking to recapture the sort of reliability that saw it take successive 'double' finishes in Bahrain and Spain after neither Christijan Albers or Adrian Sutil saw the chequered flag in Monaco. The team was boosted, however, by the German's legitimate P1 in Saturday morning's wet practice session.

Despite a frustrating race, the team came away from the weekend pleased with its overall improvement in pace relative to the rest of the field, and aims to continue to improve over the next two races before returning to Europe.

"I think it was a very positive weekend," chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne confirms, "It was the first time this year where we have genuinely outqualified some people on pace and we would have finished ahead of some teams on pace. It wasn't just by default or them not finishing. Having a good race pace is obviously a step forward and, with Adrian, we could have finished in front of people.

"I don't think it's necessarily anything to do with the nature of the Monte Carlo circuit either - I think we are seeing the true level of performance of the car now. Some people did struggle, and this was probably due to the circuit, but I think our pace is just a sign of the progress the team is making. It's not just the high downforce circuits - we had a good test in low downforce configuration at Paul Ricard too. I hope we will see a similar relative speed in Canada and Indy."

Having hit the wall at Casino Square two weekends ago, Sutil will be looking to avoid a repeat as he makes his debut on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"Monaco is one of my favourite tracks, and Montreal is a bit different, as the walls are not so close and it's not quite as tight, but I think it will be a good race," the German says, "I'm looking forward to it - the goal has definitely got to be to keep cars behind us, have a clean race and get to the finish.

"We saw an improvement in the [Monaco] race and put in a good performance. The car was quick and we could race and outqualify other cars. We were able to fight with the Aguri and the Toyota, which was very interesting. I think we could be in the same position again in Canada."

With Canada being renowned as a race of attrition, Spyker will be hoping that a reliable run could bring it to within touching distance of the points, although Albers is hedging his bets while the team waits for its B-spec machine.

"The gap to the others was smaller [in Monaco], for sure," he admits, "We were not that far away in the race, but Monaco is a special track and the differences in cars are not so obvious. But I hope we can keep up like this for the rest of the season.

"We found some gains at Paul Ricard. We were able to put in some kilometres and gather some reasonable data for the race, which should help us. We know that we are still lacking in top speed and Canada is a high speed track, but we tested some issues that will help us in the braking areas and with balance and set-up. We are always pushing for a good result. It's not always easy, but we have to go for it and push - the guys back at the factory really deserve it."

Super Aguri F1 - Takuma Sato (#22), Anthony Davidson (#23):

After the point-scoring exploits of Spain, 17th and 18th in Monaco wasn't quite what Super Aguri had expected but, with both drivers missing the cut in the first round of qualifying, life was always going to be tough.

Although Takuma Sato has plenty of circuit experience in Canada, team-mate Anthony Davidson will be making his race debut there, but is fired-up to open his account for the squad.

"The [Monaco] drive-through was the shadow in a good performance so far this season," the Briton's engineer, Antonio Cuquerella," insists, "Ant has been competitive since the first race, showing us very good speed and gaining experience in participating in races and qualifying that he did not have before. During the flyaway races, Ant showed us his potential and, race-by-race, he has been transforming it into results. He is increasing in self confidence and, from these first five races, we have converted the test driver into a race driver."

Cuquerella also confirms that, like its rivals, SAF1 will arrive in Canada armed with a revised aero package designed to cope with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's unique characteristics.

"On the set-up side, we are going to be completely different because of the aero requirements," he reveals, "The Montreal circuit needs very good change of direction for the car and braking stability and, as we use the kerbs in many places, we need to set-up the car for these conditions. As we start with a very green track, this will make us change the balance of the car completely from the beginning to the end of the weekend."

TYRES:

Bridgestone faces a logistical headache as it approaches the two transatlantic grands prix, with the soft and supersoft compounds set to be used at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the soft and medium specs a week later at Indianapolis.

The Ile Notre Dame venue provides a tough challenge for tyres over a 70-lap race distance, with relatively low grip levels meaning that the softer compound tyres tend to deliver the best performance as they provide the grip required. The surface is not massively abrasive, so it does not affect the performance greatly, but the heavy braking required means the Potenzas will face higher than normal heat levels during the event.

"Similar to Monte Carlo, being more or less a street circuit, Montreal is not used many times so it's very dusty and very slippery, which is why we've opted for the soft and supersoft compounds," head of track engineering operations Kees van de Grint explains, "There's a lot of heat generated and, because of this, we can also expect high temperatures in the tyres.It will be a bit of a challenge to make the tyres survive on this track, especially at the beginning of the weekend with the high speeds and the expected high temperatures.

"Logistics-wise, the two North American races are a challenge because first of all we need to ship all the tyres and equipment there. The fitting kit for Canada was shipped from Australia, whilst the kit for the USA was shipped from Malaysia. Obviously, we don't have the usual facilities as we do on the short haul, so it's a big organisational operation, but, fortunately, we have a lot of good people who manage that so we always have the right equipment available."

THE TRACK:

Race Distance: 70 laps - Circuit Length: 2.710 miles (4.361 kms)

The Canadian Grand Prix is run on a temporary circuit situated on ?le Notre- Dame which is a man-made island in the middle of the St Lawrence Seaway, close to central Montreal. Set among lakes and parkland pavilions used in the Expo 1967, and alongside the 1976 Olympic Games rowing basin, this unusual track has frequently been the scene of high drama.

The start of the race is often incident-packed, but generally drivers enjoy the track, which gives reasonable overtaking opportunities and requires medium levels of downforce. However, it is unlikely that the hard-working Formula One teams share their driver's enthusiasm. With so many fast blasts, slow chicanes and hairpins, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a reputation for being a real car-breaker.

THE WINNER?

With no-one stepping out of the pack to challenge the top two teams in Monaco, it would appear to be a case of 'as you were' for Canada, although Ferrari needs to step up its game if it is to regain the superiority it enjoyed in Spain two races ago. In reality, the Scuderia will be back on form as racing returns to something approaching a 'normal' circuit and Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton could find themselves in for a tougher weekend, especially if Kimi Raikkonen gets his act - and his luck - together to make it a four-way scrap at the front. Should Montreal's attrition rate account for any of the frontrunners, expect to see Renault challenging BMW for best of the rest honours.

LAST SEASON:

Having never stepped onto the podium in Montreal, Fernando Alonso ensured his first visit was to the top step with a dominant victory. The Renault driver was able to overcome the challenge of Kimi Raikkonen in the early stages of the race, and then a late safety car period, to take the chequered flag for a fourth consecutive victory that extended his championship lead to 25 points over runner-up Michael Schumacher - whose race was compromised after he became stuck behind the slower Jarno Trulli in the opening stages. Raikkonen completed the podium, while Giancarlo Fisichella recovered from a jump start penalty to take fourth, ahead of the one-stopping Felipe Massa, Trulli, Nick Heidfeld and David Coulthard, who fought from the back of the grid to deprive fellow Brit Jenson Button on the penultimate lap.

"Until last year, I hadn't had great results in Canada, so it was fantastic to win there," Alonso recalls, "It is always a tough race, and you see a lot of retirements because you are stressing the whole car with the high speeds and the hard braking zones. The track conditions also change over the race weekend, the grip levels improve as more rubber is laid and the dusty conditions go. On race day, it is much better than Friday."

1. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 01:34:37.308 70 laps
2. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +2.1secs
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +8.8secs
4. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault-Renault +15.6secs
5. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +25.1secs
6. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +1 lap
7. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +1 lap
8. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Ferrari +1 lap

 

Comments

Loading Comments...