Pirelli preview the Canadian Grand Prix

Following two events in Europe, Formula 1 heads to the Canadian Grand Prix, widely acknowledged as one of the most unpredictable races of the year.

Just like Monaco, the three softest compounds in the P Zero Formula 1 range are present: soft, supersoft and ultrasoft. But this semi-permanent track is much quicker, with top speeds exceeding 300kph, and so poses a bigger challenge for both cars and tyres.

With a slippery surface, changeable weather and a relatively high incidence of safety cars – thanks mainly to the famous ‘wall of champions’ – a wide variety of race strategies has been seen in the past. But this year, we have a brand-new range of tyres and different characteristics…

The circuit from a tyre point of view:

  • Canada is all about traction and braking: longitudinal rather than lateral forces. This affects tyres and especially brakes.
  • Warming up the front tyres effectively is one of the keys to a quick lap time in Canada.
  • Being a rarely-used semi-permanent track, the surface tends to evolve rapidly.
  • Some graining has been seen in the past: this is now less likely with the new family of 2017 tyres, based on previous experience.
  • Weather can range from heat to full rain.

Mario Isola, Head of car racing: “Montreal has many unique features, but with its smooth surface, it actually contains some similarities to Sochi. Last year the winner did one stop, while the second-placed driver made two stops using all three compounds, which just goes to show the very wide variety of strategies that are possible. Finding the right set-up, with the correct aerodynamic and mechanical balance, is never easy in Montreal: this is one of the key factors to making the tyres work effectively there. It’s also important to take an openminded approach to strategy, given the variable weather and safety cars that are historically possible.”

What’s new?

This is only the second time this year that the teams have been able to choose their own tyres, with Ferrari and Mercedes making slightly different choices.

  • In Monaco, Red Bull had its well-known floating motorhome: in Canada, Pirelli has a floating fitting area!
  • The current lap record in Canada stands at 1m13.622s (from 2004). Given last year’s lap times and the improvement seen so far, there is a strong chance it will be broken.
  • Pirelli has been expanding its sporting horizons: as well as being a partner and sponsor of Formula 1, the Italian tyre firm also became sponsor of the recently concluded Giro d’Italia cycle race and Team Emirates New Zealand in the America’s Cup.