August 13, 2022

Another back-to-back streak ends with a long-awaited return to a popular venue for the Canadian Grand Prix. As the paddock returns to Canada for the first time since 2019, we take a look at some of the top talking points likely to circle Montreal.

1. Ferrari’s response

It was a painful day for Ferrari at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as both cars retired due to technical issues. For Charles Leclerc, it was the second time in three races that he had led a race and failed to finish due to a power unit issue, and it put a major damper on their title hopes.

But Ferrari has an instant opportunity to bounce back this weekend in Montreal, and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. On the one hand, Leclerc had a good chance of winning the last three races, with the two retirements sandwiching a strategic misstep by Ferrari in Monaco.

READ MORE: Wolff backs Mercedes technical team to get W13 back on track after calling car ‘box to drive’ in Baku

There’s also his qualifying record, with Leclerc on pole in six of eight races so far this year and in supreme form on a Saturday, often giving himself the best chance on a Sunday if the car is working well.

Ferrari will have worked hard in the short interval between races to try and improve reliability, and will want to make a statement of intent that they are still a major factor in the title fight.


2. Driver Market Warming

Pierre Gasly secured his best result of 2022 by far with a fifth place finish behind the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers in Baku.

Gasly’s timing was very good, with the performance coming in race one after Sergio Perez had been confirmed to stay at Red Bull for another two years, and with speculation growing over Gasly’s future.

READ MORE: Gasly calls Perez contract deal ‘logical’ as he plans further talks with Red Bull management

Speaking freely about what he will do in 2023 ahead of the Baku race, the Frenchman suggested he was still open to becoming part of the Red Bull family next year, but will discuss with Helmut Marko if it’s again within AlphaTauri or will involve a move to another team to allow him a different challenge.

As for other teams, Oscar Piastri has been linked with a move to Williams next year in a move that could challenge Nicholas Latifi’s seat, and it’s a topic that could well arise for the Canadian then. that he can finally participate. in his first home Grand Prix, having made his debut in the Covid-stricken 2020 season.


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Pierre Gasly’s future at AlphaTauri is up in the air after Sergio Perez’s contract extension at Red Bull

3. The Alpine Rocket

One of the interesting aspects of Sunday’s race in Azerbaijan was in the middle of the field, where a number of drivers saw their attempts to climb in the points thwarted by an Alpine.

This is because Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon had extremely impressive straight-line speed which allowed them to hold off any attack, even the impact of DRS not being enough to allow another driver to attack multiple times. occasions.

READ MORE: Alonso left with ‘good taste’ after third consecutive points score builds momentum for Canada

Likewise, such a high top speed ensured that the Alpines had no trouble overtaking a car once they were in relatively close range, and they would then be so hard to pass each other again that they were both moving forward during the race, even when they often seemed to be on the defensive.

And so we head to Canada, where lower downforce setups tend to be the way to go in order to allow for good top speed, especially on the run to the final chicane and the pit straight. Could it be that Alpine has an advantage on the straights again, and could it be even bigger this weekend?


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Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in the Alpine had incredible straight-line speed in Baku and could be a team to watch in Canada

4. Mercedes seeks to eliminate porpoising

While Leclerc and Ferrari faced the emotional pain of another DNF last weekend, Lewis Hamilton faced physical pain in his Mercedes as he struggled to bounce back in Baku.

Whether it’s the phenomenon of porpoising – when a car rises and falls rhythmically as the amount of downforce reaches its maximum – or just how much bottoming the car does over bumps, it’s clearly a ride uncomfortable for Mercedes drivers at the moment.

READ MORE: Wolff backs Mercedes technical team to get W13 back on track after calling car ‘box to drive’ in Baku

Many drivers have spoken out about the problem and want to have discussions with the FIA, but teams not suffering from the same level of difficulty suggest that it is a flaw in the design of the cars of those who are in difficulty, and therefore no concessions should be made.

Canada’s long straights towards the end of the lap could lead to similar issues this weekend, where we’ll likely see more examples of riders facing a physical challenge. However, the seriousness of the situation and the potential remedies that could be put in place are topics that continue to divide opinion.

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Toto Wolff apologizes to Lewis Hamilton on radio

5. The return to Montreal

That’s right, the last time we raced at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was in 2019, when Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel after the latter received a time penalty for the way he joined the track. in their fight for victory.

Since then Covid-19 has meant that it has not been possible to hold the Canadian Grand Prix in each of the past two years, but we are coming back strong as a full house is expected in Montreal this weekend. end.

READ MORE: Binotto calls Baku DNFs ‘worrying’ as Ferrari falls 80 points behind Red Bull

It’s a track that tests the precision of drivers, with plenty of time to find carrying speed through the chicanes on the straights, but with the edge of the track largely defined by concrete walls where mistakes are regularly punished.

It usually makes for good races – with possible overtaking in Turn 1, the hairpin and especially the last chicane – in front of a passionate and knowledgeable crowd that always creates a good atmosphere whenever F1 is in town. It’ll be good to be back.


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Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian GP in 2019, after Sebastian Vettel’s 5 second penalty