2007 Canadian Grand Prix Preview

By: Anthony Fontanelle

This Formula One season, the man to beat is Fernando Alonso of the McLaren team. Compared to other teams, Ferrari is a lot more confident of overturning the result of the Monaco Grand Prix.

In order for the race car to meet the team's expectations, it must suit the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, a tight track that demands excellent aerodynamics, a powerful engine, good traction and good stability under heavy braking. And both the McLaren and the Ferrari teams are famed to have these characteristics. This is the why the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix is expected to create another tough struggle between the major teams.

The event will also be heightened by Lewis Hamilton's urge to bring home the bacon. Hamilton, the newcomer team mate of Alonso, is one of the strong names in this year's Formula One season. In the Monaco race, critics said that Hamilton had a great chance to be the number one racer. "The result in Monaco was great for everyone in the team, it was a dream result considering it was my first year there in a Formula One car, and it means we are going to North America at the top of both championship tables," Hamilton said.

He added, "I cannot wait to get back on track and continue to focus on racing. This will be my debut at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve; because of the chances there are to pass, it looks like a great track to compete on. It has some very distinctive characteristics, such as the low grip, the long straights, hard braking and so on, so my initial laps will focus on understanding all these and how best to drive the track to get good times. I have completed preparation work with my engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre specific to Canada and the US, and it will be great to finally take to the track here in Montreal."

Montreal's track comprises several quick corners and long straights with a blend of slow corners that require heavy braking from more than 320 km/h four times during the lap. Complicating the situation is the fact that, contrary to Monaco, the car runs in low-drag, low-to-medium downforce configuration. Moreover, the engineers of the teams need to achieve precise mechanical set-up in the suspension to give the drivers the advantage. Additionally, brake disc and pad wear could give a trouble the rear tyres take a beating, and this is a tough track for engines too, with full throttle for 65 percent of the lap.

BMW Sauber team, the third in the constructors' championship, is keeping a wary eye on Renault, who has improved significantly in the previous races. Robert Kubica expects to be quick at the track as he believes that the low-downforce Montreal suits his driving style. Reliable race parts like the enhanced BMW oil filter could push the team's performance a little better.

"I am really looking forward to Montreal as it is one of my favourite tracks in the Formula One calendar. It means driving with lower downforce for the first time this season. Last year on the Friday I was quite good there. I like the track because it is a street circuit and has pretty low grip, improving during the weekend," Kubica noted.

He added, "It will be interesting to see how I can cope with the Bridgestone tyres compared to the Michelins of last year, and how I have to change my driving style. I will see how big an influence it was for me to change to the different tyres."

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