2017 Canadian Grand Prix - Preview.

June 2017



  • Toto Talks Canada
  • Featured this Week: Battle of the Brakes


Toto Talks Canada

“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games, so said Babe Ruth and he was right. Every season the points reset to zero and, with new regulations like we had this year, historic success doesn’t translate into current performance. We’ve come into this season with a strong car that has allowed us to win three of the first six races. But it has also caused us more complications than we have seen in previous years.

“I had an encounter on Sunday afternoon in Monaco with someone I really respect who asked how I felt after the defeat. I told them how much it hurt and their response was “that’s motor racing”. This is the reality of the situation now. We have to fight with all that we are worth for every single win, pole position, podium finish and every point. You can no longer expect that when you look at a timesheet the two Mercedes will be right at the top.

“Everybody at the factories is working absolutely flat out to assess the current difficulties we are facing – to define our objectives, work with the data we have and then come up with the right solutions. Some of these fixes will be short term, others may take longer. We’ve had bruising weekends before and it’s about showing resilience and getting up after falling. I remember the troubles we had in Singapore in 2015, which hurt badly. We gave ourselves a deadline to address that setback before switching our focus to the next race in Suzuka, which we won. We’ve done exactly the same thing after Monaco – addressing the problems before turning our attention to Montréal. We know that this season is a marathon, not a sprint.

“I’m expecting an interesting weekend in Canada. It could be a tricky race for us in terms of the layout of the track. But, equally, it’s a circuit that suits both of our drivers. Lewis has won a number of times in the past and Valtteri has always gone strongly there for Williams. It will be about doing our homework right to give the drivers the car they need to succeed. We have two excellent drivers and we will hold true to our philosophy of letting them race each other to drive the team forward – even if sometimes it can be difficult because you can’t always have the one who is ahead in the Championship winning.

“It’s painful, but we are not the favourites for this year’s Championship. At the moment it’s Ferrari. They have a very strong package and we need to rise to the challenge to prove once again that we are the team to beat. There are still 14 races left and everything is completely open. We’re looking forward to Montréal and the chance to bounce back with a strong result – hopefully producing valuable answers to some tough questions in the process.”



Featured this Week: Battle of the Brakes

Few circuits on the calendar test the stopping power of a Formula One car quite like Montréal. Drivers spend 60% of the fast, semi-permanent, street-style lap at full throttle, before hammering the anchors into the several heavy braking zones – making Montréal one of the highest energy circuits for brakes on the entire calendar.

With its near perfect blend of high-speed straights broken up by tight corners, drivers hit an average pedal load per lap in excess of 750kg at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. That’s 52,500kg pedal load on average over a 70 lap race, with a peak of over 120kg as they stamp on the brakes into Turn 13.

This braking effect is amplified by the high-speed nature of the circuit, as teams run their cars in a low-drag guise in Montréal. Teams chase high speeds down those long straights, meaning cars are braking from an even greater velocity with less aerodynamic drag to help slow them down under braking. This scenario is even worse when a tail wind picks up along the two main straights, increasing outright top speeds to over 327km/h.

Montréal features seven heavy braking zones, with Turn 13 – the sharp-flick right through the chicane which opens up into the run along the infamous Wall of Champions – the most severe. The drivers approach that final chicane at a top speed of 320km/h, before planting their foot on the left-pedal and slowing to 140km/h in just 90metres.

Under braking for the slowest part of the track – the Turn 10 hairpin – drivers go from 300km/h to 65km/h in around 120m. Drivers experienced an average deceleration of 4.3G in the 2016 edition of the Canadian Grand Prix. But with the introduction of extra downforce and wider tyres in 2017, we can expect to see decelerations of over 5G – an incredible figure.

These stops come thick and fast in Montréal. 19% of the lap is spent on the brakes – and it’s this frequency, not just the intensity of the circuit’s many braking zones, that puts extra pressure on teams to manage the huge amount of energy created.

This energy – 149 kWh dissipated per race – is turned into heat, with modern F1 brake discs reaching 1,000 degrees Celsius in a single braking zone. This immense heat also has a knock-on effect on tyres, brake calipers and sensors. Temperatures have to be controlled and you’ll often see drivers darting out of the slipstream to cool their brakes before hitting another heavy braking zone, or deploying the famed ‘lift and coast tactic’ at certain points in the race.

Managing temperature in Montréal is absolutely crucial in traffic – and often simply in terms of ambient temperature on a warm weekend – because if a driver overheats his brakes, wear will become excessively high, costing valuable performance. It’s a 70 lap battle to manage temperatures. But, as we see almost every year, it’s not a battle everyone will manage to come out on top of.

To combat these unique challenges teams make special preparations, carrying out a series of simulations before heading to Canada to understand the exact brake energies involved and to ensure that there is sufficient cooling available on the car, as well as packing the thickest discs and pads possible for the weekend.

Whatever the result of Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, Montréal will be sure to give both Lewis and Valtteri’s left feet one heck of a workout…