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2024 F1 Canadian Grand Prix preview: More drivers to run updates

2024 F1 Canadian Grand Prix preview: More drivers to run updates

  • The 2024 Canadian Grand Prix is the ninth round of this year’s Formula 1 season
  • 2024 Canadian Grand Prix takes place at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal
  • Red Bull driver Max Verstappen leads the 2024 Driver’s Championship

The ninth round of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix, takes place this weekend at its traditional home of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. It’s run on a 2.71-mile track made up of the perimeter roads on the artificial island of Notre-Dame located in the Saint Lawrence river. Overtaking here is relatively straightforward, speeds are high, and the cars are pushed to their limits.

As is usually the case at the Canadian Grand Prix, several teams are expected to add upgrades to their cars. Among them will be Mercedes-Benz AMG, which will have the new front wing and floor for Lewis Hamilton’s car. Teammate George Russell already ran the configuration at the previous race in Monaco.

The track layout consists of a mix of slow corners and high-speed sections, with three straights, all of which feature DRS zones, separated by heavy braking chicanes. To be successful here requires high straight-line speed, excellent deceleration in the braking zones, and plenty of traction for corner exits.

Drivers also need to be confident enough to push their cars hard even when passing the notoriously close barriers, including the so-called Wall of Champions at the exit of the final corner, which has claimed the likes of Jenson Button, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, and Jacques Villeneuve.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, home of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, home of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix

The cars tend to run in low-downforce aero configurations to favor straight-line speed that can exceed 186 mph at the end of the straights. This lack of downforce in combination with a relatively smooth track surface, which was relaid this year, leads to some instability in the corners. Therefore, mechanical grip through the tires is even more important than usual. As a result, Pirelli has nominated its softest compound combination, the C3, C4, and C5.

The weather also often has a say in Montreal, where high heat can alternate with heavy rain this time of year, creating unusual track conditions and turning strategy on its head. The current forecast calls for some rain during Saturday’s qualifying and a chance of a thunderstorm during Sunday’s race.

Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen leads the 2024 Drivers’ Championship with 169 points. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is second with 138 points and McLaren’s Lando Norris is third with 113 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 276 points versus the 252 of Ferrari and 184 of McLaren. Last year’s winner in Canada was Verstappen, driving for Red Bull.

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