Canadian Grand Prix: Williams preview Montreal weekend

Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday 30 March 2014.

This quick nip across the pond is one of the most popular jaunts on the F1 calendar. Montreal becomes a party town over the grand prix weekend and the townsfolk embrace the sport entirely. Their passion for F1 extends into the grandstands, where their noise and enthusiasm is usually rewarded with an exciting race.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is situated on the man-made Ile Notre Dame in the St Lawrence river and it’s the first high-speed challenge of the season. The lap has an average speed of 130mph, its long straights and tight chicanes providing the teams with a fascinating set-up compromise. The idea is to take off as much wing as possible, without compromising braking stability – and that will be a delicate balance with the new energy recovery systems this  year.

Rob Smedley:  Canada is a very special circuit due to the long fast straights and slow corners. We will take the same compounds as Monaco so we know how these tyres work from the last race. If the weather is cool we could suffer from tyre heating issues and if it’s hot then there is the chance of thermal degradation. Tyre issues are something we are aware of and so will be a focus throughout the weekend. Kerbing is also important in Montreal as being able to ride the kerbs over the two chicanes is key to a quick lap time. Our car is aerodynamically efficient which is vital on the long straights in Canada so we feel we are in good shape.

Felipe Massa: We aim to be more competitive in Canada and hopefully we can have a good performance. The top speed of the car is good and this will be our main strength. Montreal has hosted some great races in the past and this has a lot to do with the weather, so we need to be prepared as it can rain and often without warning. The city is a very relaxed place to be so it’s nice to go back there every year.

Valtteri Bottas: I have some great memories from Canada last year as I qualified my career best position of third. The track is such a contrast from the last race in Monaco, and I think it plays to the strengths of the car, such as good straight line speed. We are aiming to continue our record of points in every race so far this season. It’s a special track not only in the fact that it’s technically a street circuit, but that there are a lot of big braking zones and few fast corners.