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Montreal FP1: The session that never was

Montreal FP1: The session that never was

Montreal FP1: The session that never was
Montreal’s Formula 1 weekend kicked off in a disappointing fashion as the session was Red flagged just minutes after the start and never got going again.

Three minutes into the session, Pierre Gasly parked his Alpine on the side of the track after losing drive bringing out the Red flag.

The marshals removed the stricken A523 from track quickly, but the Red flags remained as everyone was wondering as to why there was a delay.

As it transpired, there was an issue with the CCTV camera as the organizers tried to sort out the problem. That did not work out and the session was not restarted.

However, it was decided that FP2 will be extended by 30 minutes to make up for the time lost by the teams and drivers. FP2 will be brought forward by 30 minutes.

Only 12 drivers managed to set a lap time, and out of them, Valtteri Bottas was the fastest with a 1:18.728 followed by Lance Stroll in second and 0.447s behind. Fernando Alonso was third fastest in the other Aston Martin.

Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen were fourth and fifth respectively, while Oscar Piastri was sixth fastest.

Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg with seventh and eighth fastest, with Zhou Guanyu ninth.

Carlos Sainz was tenth followed by teammate Charles Leclerc in 11th, with Nyck de Vries 12th fastest.

Buildup towards FP1

After a brief break from Formula 1 last weekend, the sport was back in action in Montreal this weekend for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Max Verstappen won last time out in Spain, and will be gunning for his 41st F1 career win, which will make him equal the tally of the great Ayrton Senna, and which will also give Red Bull their 100th victory in the sport.

On the other hand, Mercedes will be under the spotlight after their strong showing in Spain with their upgraded W14. They have been downplaying their chances in Canada, but it will be worth it to keep an eye on them to see how they fare.

As for Aston Martin, who were beaten by Mercedes in Barcelona, they have brought some upgrades to their AMR23, and will be looking to score a strong result at the home race of team Chairman Lawrence Stroll and his son, the team’s driver Lance.

As for Ferrari, they brought a big upgrade to their SF-23 in Spain, but suffered one of their worst races despite that, and while Charles Leclerc admitted he expected no miracles in Canada, will the Scuderia have a better understanding of their updated car in its second outing?

As for tyre choices this weekend, Pirelli went soft with the C3 (Hard), C4 (Medium) and C5 (Soft) compounds available for the teams.

Montreal FP1 session highlights

Several teams brought upgrades to Canada, but the focus will be on Aston Martin to see if they can regain their second-fastest status after Mercedes took it from them in Barcelona.

Aston Martin brought a new engine cover with the related cooling louvres, as well as a revised leading edge on the floor of the AMR23.

Haas brought a circuit-specific rear wing and cooling louvres, in addition to an evolution of the floor edge on their car.

AlphaTauri have a tweaked front wing to work with the Montreal-specific rear wing, while Mercedes will have a revised sidepod inlet where the outer tip winglet was removed from the sidepod wing for better air flow.

Alpine brought a revised rear wing, new rear suspension, and revised drum inlet ducts on the front brake drums, while McLaren will feature a revised rear wing and a new beam wing assembly.

Red Bull on the other hand have brought a re-profiled front wing to the already dominant RB19, while Williams brought new sidepods, floor and rear suspension which will be fitted on Albon’s car only.

Cool conditions prevailed at the start of FP1 with track temperatures around 31C while the ambient temperature was 20C.

As for the weather, there is rain expected over the course of the weekend, and while it rained earlier on Friday, the conditions were dry when FP1 started.

The Red Bull of Verstappen and Perez lined up first at the pitlane exit waiting for the green light to head out on track.

Mere minutes into the session, the Yellow flag was out as Gasly parked his Alpine on the side of the track as he reported driveshaft problem.

The flag soon became Red as the marshals worked on removing the Alpine from the track, but as they did so, the team asked Gasly to stop the marshals as they attempted to restart the car. That did not work and the car was pushed off the track.

“I don’t know cause, but it looks like the clutch disengaged and we can’t get it engaged again,” Alpine’s Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports F1.

“Hopefully it won’t e a big issue to fix. If we get the car back, I think it will be a quick fix,” he added.

While Gasly’s car was cleared from the track quickly, the Red flag continued as the CCTV cameras were down and the session couldn’t be restarted without fixing them first.

“The session restart has been delayed due to issues with the local CCTV infrastructure around the circuit. The local organisers are working to resolve the issue and until that time we can’t restart for safety reasons,” the FIA said in a statement.

With 15 minutes remaining, the Red flag still on, Alpine managed to restart Gasly’s car in the pits. At least the Frenchman is lucky that he didn’t lose out on running time alone.

FP1 Results