On tap this week:
- Former F1 drivers on how to improve show
- Chudleigh shows his Breaking Point
- Close calls in Montreal
- Circuit Gilles Villeneuve tests braking prowess
- Quote of the Week: Ricciardo remembers maiden win
- Monza no Stroll in the park
As Formula One mulls changes to help improve the show and make the cars faster, a couple of former grand prix drivers have some suggestions on how to spice things up.
Seven-time F1 race winner Juan Pablo Montoya thinks that a quick and easy solution would be to encourage a second tire supplier to join the series.
"I think a tire war would be good just to bring the speeds up," said Montoya, who is the only active driver to have won both the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500.
"A good tire war would make the cars two or three seconds quicker within a year without changing anything."
Last month, the Formula One Strategy Group met to discuss rule changes that it hopes will reduce lap times by five to six seconds in 2017. Proposals that will be presented to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's World Motor Sport Council for approval later this year include allowing the teams to choose the tire compounds they want to run at each grand prix instead of having rubber supplier Pirelli decide, louder and higher revving engines, wider tires, and the return of in-race refuelling.
IndyCar's Sébastien Bourdais feels F1 needs to be extremely careful when it comes to tires. He thinks the last thing F1 needs is drivers racing at 60 per cent in grands prix because they're worried about running out of rubber, as happened a couple of years ago. The KV Racing driver added the drag reduction system that flattens the rear wing to help drivers overtake should go.
"I am not a fan of the DRS, although it's good for the show, but it's not racing," said Bourdais, who started 27 grands prix over two seasons with the Toro Rosso team beginning in 2008.
"I think I would want to see more power, more mechanical grip, and less downforce on the cars so maybe it becomes easier to slide the things a bit more and they are less sensitive to turbulence — but you sound like an old man when you say that."
For his part, Penske driver Montoya thinks a return to refuelling is a positive move, but he feels making a concerted effort to make the cars louder is simply putting off the inevitable.
"I think refuelling is pretty cool because it can change the strategy of the races — now it all depends on tire wear and not fuel load," said the Colombian, who started 94 races for Williams and McLaren between 2001 and 2006.
"Short-term they need to worry about the sound, but long-term no because that's where the technology is going."
Racing fans wanting an inside look at a driver's life should tune in to Breaking Point, a documentary that chronicles the highs and lows of Canadian Luke Chudleigh's 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 season. One of the big downers for the 20-year-old from Milton, Ont., came in the form of a severely injured thumb, which required surgery and pins to fix. "Sometimes the racing gods are unfair," he says about the accident in the program. Breaking Point airs Saturday at 4 p.m. (EDT) on TSN following the qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and again after the race on Sunday.
By the numbers
The smallest margin of victory in the Canadian Grand Prix came in 2000 when Ferrari's Michael Schumacher crossed the line a scant 0.174 seconds ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello. The margin was also the eighth closest finish in Formula One history. Two other races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve have ended with less than one second separating the winner and the runner up. The first was in 1999 with McLaren's Mika Häkkinen ahead of Giancarlo Fishichella's Benetton by 0.782 seconds, while the second saw Williams driver Ralf Schumacher finish 0.784 seconds behind his brother Michael's Ferrari in 2003.
With six corners on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve requiring more than 120 kilograms of pressure on the brake pedal to slow the cars, it's a wonder Formula One drivers don't have Popeye-like left legs. The maximum pressure of 171 kilograms on the pedal happens at the end of the long straight before the start-finish line where the drivers slow the car from 330 kilometres per hour to 120 km/h in 122 metres to negotiate the chicane that follows. In the approximately 90 minutes it takes to complete the 70-lap Canadian Grand Prix, each driver stomps on the brake pedal with a total force of almost 66 metric tons, according to Formula One brake supplier Brembo.
Quote of the week
"I think everyone remembers their first win and the race was an exciting one. I didn't win in pretty easy or boring circumstances, so that's something I'll remember forever."
— Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, recalling his maiden Formula One win last year in Montreal.
The last word
It wasn't exactly a great weekend at the famed Monza Circuit for Canadian Lance Stroll, who races in the Formula 3 European Championship. On Saturday in the second of three races on the weekend, Stroll ran championship points leader Antonio Giovinazzi out of room at the approach to the Curva Grande on Lap 4 and the pair touched wheels. The contact caused Stroll's car to spin and barrel roll twice before flipping end over end and coming to a rest at the side of the track with all four corners ripped away. A day later, the third race of the weekend saw Stroll involved in a first corner incident on Lap 6 that put a driver into the gravel trap and brought out the safety car. The incident was the last straw for race officials who red flagged Sunday's race after just eight laps, citing continued poor driving as the reason.
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