Advantages Always one of the best races of the year with some unpredictable results
Disadvantages Has seen some bad crashes - Panis in 1997 ring any bells?
Ooh look what I have just found. This is a piece of writing on the 2001 Canadian GP I wrote a while ago. I know its late but better late than never I say...NEWS PRIOR TO RACE
It may have only been two weeks ago but since the Monaco GP the F1 news bandwagon just hasn’t stopped rolling. Topping the news is Adrian Newey who is in the middle of a catfight ironically between Jaguar and Mclaren. Both teams claim they have secured a contract with the sought after designer with deals worth over 4 million a year. Newey who is a friend of Jaguar boss Bobby Rahal seemed to be on his way to Jaguar after Rahal broadcasted the contract to the media. Mclaren’s Ron Dennis was quick to disagree and insists he had signed a new 3 year conract with designer who has led Mclaren to 2 world championships. Newey himself seems undecided but did say he did sign a Mclaren contract. Much to Jaguars outrage. Now the lawyers are stepping in to sort this all out.
Arrows have been blasted in the press for their boystrous antics in Monaco. The weekend didn’t start well for the British based team when their revolutionary – if ugly – front wing was banned. In the race Verstappen didn’t take long to live up to his rather aggressive image by colliding with the Sauber of Nick Heidfeld. He pushed the German up onto the kerb which launched the Sauber into the barriers rather heavily. However, it was Verstappen’s team mate Enrique Bernoldi who was getting all the attention – albeit it damning attention – His blocking antics against David Coulthard for 36 laps caused outrage in the Mclaren garage. Indeed Ron Dennis and Norbert Haug threatened to end Bernoldi’s career if he ever did it again. Despite his defensive driving the stewards agreed he had every right to block if they are driving for position. He eventually finished 9th.
The Canadian GP has always been a traditional part of the F1 calendar and there have only been two Canadian tracks on the list. The F1 bandwagon came to rest in 1967 in Ontario but it was a poor street track and it lacked the razmatazz of other circuits. But the race began to become poular in 1978 when it moved to Northern Qubec and Montreal. Known as the Montreal circuit the track became famous for its fast straights and challenging bends. Ironically, the first race there went to home favourite Gilles Villeneuve father of son Jacques. Since then the Canadian GP has played host to some fantastic races and even a couple of championship deciders earning its place on the GP list for years to come.
THE TRACKThe Canadian track was launched in the F1 calendar in 1973 when home favourite Gilles Villeneuve won it. His son Jaques races this weekend for the ever improving BAR team. The track is one of the fastest on the calendar averaging around 150 mph. But despite having fast straights the corners are tight and twisty. The first corner is a tight chicane like corner which has seen many a accident. You sweep through the first turn then hug the kerb and drop to 40 mph to take the ultra tight second part of the chicane. The next corner too is a slight chicane or more like 2 kinks. Sweep through the next smooth corners as you race under the trees shade. Brake hard for turn 4 but accelarate out of it making sure you hold the rear end. A small straight leads into yet another chicane which you have to make sure you don’t run wide on the way out of the corner. A sweeping left leads into a right hand hairpin which is probably the best place on the circuit to pass another car. However, brake too late and you’ll either hit another car or hit the wall because the run off area is non-exsistence. Get traction out of the corner and launch yourself down another long straight in which you reach your maximum speed of around 320kp/h. You have to be awake for the last corner. The last chicane is very tight and modifications to the kerbs have made them needlessley high meaning if you hit them you’ll just launch into the imposing wall which has seen many bumps and bangs in it’s time including Michael Schumacher. Get close to the wall without touching it and you’ve completed a good Canadian lap.
PRACTICEPractice in Canada always seems to be dominated by Ferrari’s or Mclaren’s. This was partly true on the Friday practice as the top 4 drivers proved their authority by filling the first 4 spaces. However, Saturday practice painted a different picture. Indeed the Mclaren’s were the fastest – not much of a surprise – but the Ferrari’s were down in 4th for Barrichello and 11th for Schumacher. Eddie Irvine in the rejuvinated Jaguar was 3rd quickest with Montoya 5th and Ralf Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli, Olivier Panis and Kimi Raikkonen completing the top 10. However, the session was marred by a massive if rather bizzare incident involving home favourite Jaques Villeneuve. Watching replays it seems his BAR just veered across the track for no reason at 150mph causing major damage. However, Villeneuve claims e was rammed by Montoya earlier which may have broken the rear wing resulting in a major incident. His team mate Panis had a similar problem in 1997 – however he broke both of his legs in the process. Stand-in driver Ricardo Zonta was in the wars in his first competitive outing in the Jordan. In one session – in which he finished 15th – the Brazilian collided with Jos Verstappen loosing a nose cone and spun off on turn 3 in two separate incidents.
QUALIFYINGQualifying started quickly with the traditional Minardi’s setting the slow bencmark. Indeed on his very first lap in qualifying Fernando Alonso demonstrated how hard the rack is by sliding off the track on the tight and twisty turn 1. His team mate Tarso Marques also demonstrated how not to take the new rather large concrete kerbs in turns 13 and 14 by flying over them dramatically. The Jaguars came to Canada was new confidence but both De La Rosa and Irvine looked a little too confident in the final corner by kissing the concrete wall in succession. First of the big boys out was title challenger David Coulthard who duely took the top spot, while an inspired lap by Olivier Panis placed him in 2nd not far off Coulthard. However, both were demoted to 2nd and 3rd when Italian stallion Jarno Trulli stormed to pole with an excellent lap stating his ambition to be up there with the main players. His pole dream was short lived however, when championship leader Michael Schumacher produced a new lap record on his way to snatching the top stop away from the Italian. Mclaren driver and two times world champion Mika Hakkinen was soon up to a rather poor 5th place when he got pout of shape in the last corner. However, half way round his in-lap a piece of debry punctured a hole in his right hand side pod. Hakkinen reached the pits again to get into the spare car. Coolent was spilling from the side pod meaning it would take too long to fix within the qualifying hour.
With his brother in 1st place Ralf Schumacher decided he wanted a bit of that and produced a storming lap to sit between his brother and Trulli in 2nd place. Rubens Barrichello hadn’t impressed much during the weekend so he was aiming to shine. However, he pushed a little to hard on his flying lap when he too took a trip across the new kerbs on turn 13 and 14. The Ferrari lifted up and catapulted into the wall leaving behind shards of Carbon fibre. The session was stopped to get the stricken Ferrari off the racing line. In the mid field things were changing. The magnificent talent of Kimi Raikkonen was shown again as he lay in 7th place while Villeneuve had progressed to 9th ahead of Montoya. Not content with his lap record Michael Schumacher set another benchmark while his team mate Barrichello – now in the spare car – improved up to 5th ahead of Panis who was still up there and 4 places ahead of his team mate Villenuve.
With the session coming to an end the drama just kept coming. Nick Heidfeld who carshed heavily in Monaco launched himself in the barriers in a Barrichello-esque style. However, the Sauber broke up on impact and a wheel and rear wing and several pieces of carbon fibre flew off his wrecked Sauber. Unhurt, Heidfeld walked back to the garage to explain what happened to Peter Sauber. The session stopped to get the sauber out of the way. When the session started again it was Coulthard who launched into a final last gasp effort to move up from 4th place on the grid. It worked. The Mclaren nipped in front of Jarno Trulli putting him in 3rd place. However, it was his title rival Michael schumacher who was up on the front row of the grid next to his brother Ralf.
1 MICHEAL SCHUMACHER
2 RALF SCHUMACHER
3 DAVID COULTHARD
4 JARNO TRULLI
5 RUBENS BARRICHELLO
6 OLIVIER PANIS
7 KIMI RAIKKONEN
8 MIKA HAKKINEN
9 JAQUES VILLENUVE
10 JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
11 NICK HEIDFELD
12 RICARDO ZONTA
13 JOS VERSTAPPEN
14 PEDRO DE LA ROSA
15 EDDIE IRVINE
16 JEAN ALESI
17 ENRIQUE BERNOLDI
18 GIANCARLO FISSICHELLA
19 LUCIANO BURTI
20 JENSON BUTTON
21 TARSO MARQUES
22 FERNANDO ALONSO
Olivier Panis stated himself as a threat for this afternoon’s race by posting the quickest time in morning practice. Meanwhile his team mate and Canadian favourite Jaques Villeneuve has been told along with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya that if they have another fraca similar to their coming together at the after qualifying conference they will be banned from future races. Ironically they line up together on the grid.RACE
With passing difficult on the sweeping circuit a good start was vital if they were going to impress in the race. At the start it was the Schumacher brothers leading into the 1st corner followed by Coulthard, Trulli and Barrichello. Jaques Villeneuve was slow off the line and dropped from 9th to 17th. After his dissapointing qualifying session which included a heavy crash into the final corner, Rubens Barrichello and his lightly fuelled Ferrari was making headway on the opposition passing Jarno Trulli into turn 8. Dutch supremo who has been renowned throughout the year as having blistering starts was living up to his reputation moving past Kimi Raikkonen for 7th place. It wasn’t long for the demanding circuit to claim it’s first victim. Italian Giancarlo Fissichella capped off a disapointing weekend by colliding with his team mate Jenson Button into the final corner wrecking the Benettons right front suspension. Out on the first lap. Two laps down the line Fissichella was joined on the retirement list by Nick Heidfeld and Eddie Irvine.The Jaguar of Irvine was moving up the field when he tried a rather ambitious move down the inside of the Sauber into turn 3 sending them both into the wall and into retirement. Barrichello continues his storming drive by passing Coulthard for 3rd into turns 13 and 14 and setting the fastest lap. However, he was caught out by his twitchy Ferrari out of the virage casino by spinning his scarlet machine and dropping to 14th. Verstappen now up to 6th was flying with his light fuel load. Jenson Button who was involved in a 1st lap incident was soon in the pits serving a ten second stop/go penalty for a jump start. Last place man Fernando Alonso became the 4th retirement when he pulled into the pits with a blown engine. Barrichello, now in 11th place sets another fastest lap on his way to the back of 9th placed man Juan Pablo Montoya. However, his and the Colombian’s race ended abruptly on the very next lap when Montoya’s Williams ran wide out of turn 3. With Montoya swerving across the track, Barrichello made an effort to avoid him resulting in spinning all by himself again. However, a barrier was involved this time ending the Brazilian’s race.
The Arrows pit crew are put into action twice when Enrique Bernoldi wheeled his sick Arrows car into the garage with a broken clutch and Verstappen pitted form 6th place on his way to a 2 stop strategy. Further down the field Luciano Burti in his Prost car demonstrated it’s flying ability when it lost its way into turn 9. The battle for 1st is beginning to hot up between the 2 Schumacher brothers with Ralf setting a fastest lap behind the leader Michael. After his awful start Jaques Villeneuve ended his home GP on the finishing straight on lap 34 when his transmission failed. The battle of the 2 Finns Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen hots up when the double world champ slipped up the inside into the Virage Casino. 4 laps after his team mate retired Olivier Panis pulled into the pits with overheating brakes ending any BAR points interest in the process. The lead battle between the 2 brothers really got going when Ralf began to pressure his brother especially into turn 13 and 14. Then the Ferrari pitted leaving his little sibling in the lead.Immediately Ralf set the fastest lap of the race. He seemed on course for a victory. Indeed Ralf pitted and got out 7 seconds ahead of the Ferrari. The new tyres were working well and he increased his lead. David Coulthard joined the growing number of retirements on lap 56 when his engine blew-up literally in a big way. Canada would be the first in 8 races where the championship contender would not score any points.
POSITIONS AFTER LAP 561 RALF SCHUMACHER
Canada has always been renowned for having a dramatic end. Indeed Canada is the only race finish behind the safety car and the 97 Canada race was the last race to be stopped 10 laps from the end. With less than 7 laps to go it was Jarno Trulli who had driven a quiet race to retire with brake problems. This promoted Raikkonen to 4th and Jean Alesi who had driven an excellent race after starting 16th to 5th and Verstappen who was visibally having brake problems to 6th. Then with 3 laps to go Verstappen’s brakes did finally fail and he spun at high speed into the wall at turn 6, thus promoting a battling Pedro De La Rosa in his Jaguar to 6th. But it was Ralf Schumacher’s day who powered to his 2nd victory of the year ahead of his brother.RACE RESULT
1 RALF SCHUMACHER
2 MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
3 MIKA HAKKINEN
4 KIMI RAIKKONEN
5 JEAN ALESI
6 PEDRO DE LA ROSA
7 RICARDO ZONTA
8 LUCIANO BURTI
9 TARSO MARQUES
STANDINGS1 MICHAEL SCHUMACHER 58
WINNERS1 RALF SCHUMACHER
LOSERS1 JACQUES VILLENEUVE
I was late coming but I hope you enjoyed reading this. I hope it has provided some great information.(If there are any jobs for a 15 year old teenage boy where motorsport writing is concerned I would be very much obliged but there probably isn't, oh well)
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