June 24, 2022

Formula 1 landed in Montreal for the first time in three years and off the track there were plenty of talking points and intrigue, despite Max Verstappen running away with questions about it.

Formula 1 returns to Canada

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Formula 1 returned to Canada for the first time since 2019, following the pandemic-enforced two-year hiatus. As with cities like Melbourne and Austin, Montreal fully embraces Formula 1, with a lively atmosphere throughout the weekend downtown, especially along Crescent Street and Sainte-Catherine Street, despite the best efforts of the weather to intervene.

An estimated 338,000 spectators passed through the gates of the artificial Ile Notre-Dame throughout the four-day event. The event, which holds a contract until 2031, remains one of Formula 1’s top Grands Prix.

Hamilton’s Goes Full on the 1990s

canadian f1 grand prix

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Lewis Hamilton was a kid in the 90s, when video gaming was in its infancy, compared to the sophisticated technology that is now available. Upon arriving in Montreal, Hamilton went to a downtown Montreal store and whipped up something a little old-fashioned for the weekend.

“I just felt like playing old games,” Hamilton said. “I recently found an old Nintendo 64 in my storage. And then I went to get Golden Eye. And then when I landed, I went to get Mario Kart, but they didn’t have the Nintendo 64. So I bought a Sega Genesis, and then they had the Senna game there. So I was like, ‘Oh, that’s perfect. So I’ve spent the last two nights riding the Senna game, but I’m not that fast.

The game Hamilton is referring to is Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II, released in July 1992. The game is also available for free on the PC, so after being influenced by Hamilton, several journalists got a bit hooked during practice sessions for the Friday…

F1 working on South Africa for 2023

south africa grand prix

Formula 1 raced in Kyalami, South Africa in 1993.

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Formula 1 chiefs are continuing talks over South Africa’s return to the calendar after a three-decade absence. South Africa last hosted Formula 1 in 1993 and Stefano Domenicali visited Kyalami direct from Baku last week for talks with race promoters.

Securing a place for South Africa would give Formula 1 a presence on every habitable continent. With the return of Qatar, the debut of Las Vegas and the potential return of China, that would leave 26 Grands Prix, two more than the contractual limit of 24.

Consequently, two Grands Prix from the calendar should be removed, with France, Monaco and Belgium being the most risky events. China remaining out of bounds again for 2023 could provide a lifeline, but Formula 1 could instead stage 23 Grands Prix, rather than hit its limit of 24, meaning two would drop again. At present, only one from Monaco, France or Belgium will be on the program for 2023.

Tribute to Villeneuve in F1

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Gilles Villeneuve

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2022 marks 40 years since Canadian icon Gilles Villeneuve was killed in an accident during Formula 1 qualifying at the Belgian circuit of Zolder.

Montreal’s semi-permanent installation was named after Villeneuve in the process, while the signature “Salut Gilles” has always been inscribed on the start/finish line. Ahead of Sunday’s race, the Ferrari drivers’ grid spots were painted red, with lettering in remembrance of the deceased Canadian racer.

Villeneuve’s son Jacques, the 1997 world champion, was present in the paddock throughout the weekend and also presented the Pole Position trophy to current champion Max Verstappen, who was just four weeks old when Villeneuve won his world title.

Latifi’s tough weekend, on and off the track

Canada’s two Formula 1 drivers aren’t, to put it mildly, soul-stirring in terms of their widespread popularity.

canadian f1 grand prix qualifying

Nicholas Latifi

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That’s not entirely surprising given their backgrounds – Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi both come from billionaire backgrounds – and their relative racing performances. Stroll has had a disappointing season but drove well to claim the final point, while Latifi is under pressure to retain his seat.

On Wednesday, Williams had a pop-up shop in downtown Montreal with driver appearances. While Alex Albon’s appearance was so popular that the store had to be closed for its capacity, Latifi’s appearance attracted far fewer people. Rumors continue to swirl that the Oscar Piastri Alpine Reserve is lined up for the seat currently held by Latifi in 2023.

Latifi had another rough weekend at the track in Canada, accepting that his side of the garage “lacks a lot of rhythm” in all conditions, and he also hit one of the many marmots that reside on the island during from the last wet practice session.

canadian f1 grand prix

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A bouncing we’ll go

The dispute over how to tackle the porpoising suffered by some Formula 1 teams is brewing. The FIA ​​issued a technical directive on Thursday for safety reasons, but although a long-term solution is desirable, several teams and drivers were unhappy with the late opinion of the TD, as well as the risk of introducing changes of mid-season which could influence the championship.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, a proponent of changes for safety reasons, criticized “team principals trying to manipulate what is said in order to maintain competitive advantage and trying to play political games”, the calling them “dishonest” and “pitiful”.

Wolff’s comments came after a reportedly heated discussion with his counterparts at Ferrari and Red Bull at the usual team bosses’ meeting on Saturday.

“I think it was just made clear to him that maybe his problems were internal rather than everybody’s problem,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “I think their concept is the problem rather than the regulation.”

Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto was quick to point out that the technical guidelines “are there to clarify information and to deal with policing, not to change regulations”.

Part of the TD pointed out that teams could arrange a stay on the second floor and Mercedes was quick to run one on both cars in separate practice sessions, although it scrapped it for the rest of the weekend under the threat of a demonstration.

“Add stays, which if you came here with a stay – we didn’t know that because a TD came out on Thursday, so we don’t have any – that just means you can stiffen the ground, roll the car even lower and get an aero advantage,” Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said. “So to be able to do that, I think it’s not fair to the rest of us who couldn’t bring stay.”

Binotto and Horner were also a bit perplexed by Mercedes adding a second stay so soon after the TD broadcast.

“Toto said they did it overnight, what I can say is Ferrari wouldn’t be able to do that,” he said. “And what I can say is I’m surprised a team is so strong to do this overnight, but maybe I can only trust what he’s saying.”

Said Horner: “What was particularly disappointing was the second stay because it has to be discussed in a tech forum and it’s openly biased to address the issues of one team, which was the only team that got together. is presented here even before the TD. So get by on that one.

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Who knew a Zamboni had “rabbit mode”

Sergio Perez and Yuki Tsunoda drove to Olympic Park in Montreal to get behind the wheel of a Zamboni. The vehicles, which reach only 10 mph, are used to resurface the ice and are present at every hockey game, a sport exceptionally popular in these regions.

A course was set up with hairpin turns, a slalom section and long straights, mirroring bits of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, with Perez proving more adept than Tsunoda.

“I managed to find a secret to make me fast: bunny mode,” said Perez. “You’ve got a switch you have to press to go fast, you’ve got a rabbit, and you’ve got a turtle on the switch. The Zamboni is pretty fast if you turn with a lot of steering wheel and a lot of throttle, then you can lift the wheels a bit.

Tsunoda added, “In my head I was going really fast, but Checo found out there was a ‘rabbit mode’ that gave it some extra power that I didn’t have, so I was a bit disappointed to not having used it too.”

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