Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo from Australia passes his crew as he arrives in pit lane after winning the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Sunday, June 8, 2014 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo from Australia passes his crew as he arrives in pit lane after winning the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Sunday, June 8, 2014 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Formula One

F1 news: No more Wall of Champions in Montreal? Add to ...

On tap this week:

  • Is the Wall of champions doomed?
  • Newey back with Red Bull
  • Fuelling up in F1 isn't easy
  • Small teams in budget trouble
  • Quote of the Week: When you know you have a shot
  • Villeneuve gets into wine

The new deal to keep Formula One in Montreal may spell the end of the infamous Wall of Champions.

The 10-year extension announced Saturday to keep the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve stipulates upgrades to the facility, including a larger paddock area for the teams to do their work, and that may require removing notorious wall from the equation.

Pushing the pitlane and track north is the only way to expand. The two new corners created may be a modification to the chicane at the end of the long run from the hairpin.

Unfortunately, any change there could potentially eliminate the "Wall of Champions" – the concrete barrier at the exit of the final chicane which got its name when Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve ended the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix there in a shower of carbon fibre.

In addition to the those three F1 world champions, reigning four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel added his name to the list in 2011, while McLaren's Jenson Button hit it four years before he won his title in 2009.

The most plausible solution to the paddock space issue would require filling in part of an artificial lake and beach area to make room to shift the grandstands lining the start-finish straight several metres north. That would also mean lengthening the final chicane, making it less treacherous.

Luckily for fans, there may be one solution that would keep the Wall in play: Building a multi-storey garage with additional floors for teams to use as storage. For that to work, the posh Paddock Club Suite situated above the garages on race weekend would have to be at least three storeys up, instead of two they are now.

The sardine tin paddock on the Île Notre-Dame track has been a sore spot with the F1 teams since they began racing in Montreal in 1978.

Random Thoughts: With surprise Canadian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo hogging all of the Red Bull Racing spotlight on Sunday, the team's re-signing of technical genius Adrian Newey was almost lost in the shuffle.

Red Bull announced the deal a couple of hours before Ricciardo took the outfit's first win of 2014, pushing the all-powerful Mercedes off the top step of the podium for the first time in seven F1 races so far this year.

Newey became Red Bull's chief technical officer in 2006 after designing world championship winning cars with both McLaren and Williams. He added a constructor's title with a third team in 2010, when Red Bull swept the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. In all he has designed cars that won 10 drivers' and 10 constructors' titles since 1992 and remains the only person to have done it with three different teams.

The deal also includes working on "Red Bull Technology projects," although the details of those undertakings were not released.

Before the signing there was rampant speculation in the paddock that Ferrari was trying to lure Newey away from Red Bull with an offer to come to Maranello to run the Scuderia's technical program and perhaps help in the design of its road cars.

Technically Speaking: The arms race in Formula One isn't limited to its teams and engine manufacturers. Ferrari fuel supplier Shell has been working to find the right blend of octane and energy in the gasoline they supply the outfit so the team can get the most out of the new turbocharged 1.6-litre V6s.

The fuel used in the old high-revving, normally-aspirated V8s simply doesn't offer the same performance in the new smaller V6s and their energy recovery systems and a new formula needed to be developed.

In the run up to the season opener in Australia, Shell brought 45 different fuel concoctions to Ferrari's Maranello headquarters before deciding on the one to use in Melbourne, according to its F1 trackside and logistics manager Ian Albiston.

"What quickly became clear when we started looking at the combustion characteristics of the V6 was that there were two things it liked: Octane and the caloritic value of the fuel, so energy," he said.

"The complication in that is that you have to come back to the real world and it's very difficult to get both. Yes, we could throw octane boost into it, but typical octane boost has low caloritic value so you lose energy within the fuel."

Report Typo/Error
Single page

Follow us on Twitter: @GlobeDrive

Next story




Most popular videos »

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular