CANADIAN GRAND PRIX
GILLES-VILLENEUVE CIRCUIT - MONTRÉAL
Canadian GP: all you need to know
Think of the Canadian Grand Prix and it’s incredible Montréal Circuit and one can’t help but think of local hero Gilles Villeneuve, in whose honour the circuit is named.
This race dates back to 1967, the first of eight times it was held at Mosport Park in Toronto. There were also two Grands Prix staged at Mont Tremblant, a ski resort up country from Montreal.
Inevitably, thanks to the popularity and success of Gilles Villeneuve, the race then moved to the city itself in 1978.
Notre Dame combines F1 with Canada
The venue is the Ile Notre Dame, which was the site in 1967 of “Expo 67,” a giant world fair celebrating “The Peoples of the Earth.” “It was the summer of love and the summer of Expo,” wrote a local hippy poet.
The following year the island was part of the site for the 1968 Olympic Games and today, the F1 teams’ hospitality units sit on what was the Olympic Rowing Basin.
The track is a short metro ride from the centre of a city that always gives the Canadian Grand Prix a warm welcome, with F1 in evidence everywhere.
Formula 1 is all set to return to Montreal for another exciting race weekend.
CIRCUIT GILLES VILLENEUVE
The man-made island
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located on the Ile Notre Dame, an artificial island built in the space of just ten months for Expo 67, making use of 15 million tonnes of stone previously dug up as the city of Montreal was built.
Named after Gilles
As from 1986, the circuit was dedicated to the memory of Gilles Villeneuve. The great Canadian driver won the very first running of the race at this track in 1978. To this day, the finish line bears the legend “Salut Gilles!”
A strange record
The 2011 race in Montreal turned out to be the longest ever Formula 1 Grand Prix, lasting 4 hours, 4 minutes and 30 seconds. It turned into something of a demolition derby, because of heavy rain which led to the race being interrupted because of the treacherous conditions. The race was won by Jenson Button on the very last lap, profiting from a mistake by Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) to slip past the German and claim the victory.