The 2016 Montreal Grand Prix is the seventh race in the calendar and is generally viewed as the first fast race of the season, with drivers reaching an average speed of 130mph. It has been Canada’s Formula One host since 1978, taking place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Île Notre-Dame, though the country has had F1 races since 1967.
What makes Montreal Grand Prix unique?
The second largest city in the country, Montreal has previously been voted the best city in the world for its culture by Traveller’s Digest. Needless to say, GP spectators are welcomed to the event with open arms and there’s no expense spared on ensuring guests are entertained throughout a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable weekend. As well as the race itself, expect shopping, music, fantastic food and bustling nightlife.
It’s a circuit and race steeped in history, hosting an array of memorable events over the years including the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the FIA World Sportscar Championship. Here we present ten of our favourite racing facts about the Montreal Grand Prix ahead of the race on June 12th 2016.
- The famous name
Originally called the Île Notre-Dame Circuit, after the island where the race takes place, it was renamed in 1982 as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. This was after Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve who died tragically during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix in the same year.
- Most wins
Michael Schumacher leads the way as the most successful driver at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, racking up seven wins between 1994 and 2004. Nelson Piquet and Lewis Hamilton are his closest challengers, with three wins each.
- Brotherly competition
The 2001 race was unique at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as it was the first time two brothers finished first and second in a Formula One race. Ralf Schumacher won the race, while his older brother Michael came second.
- Fastest lap
The Brazilian Rubens Barrichello holds the record for the fastest lap at the Montreal Grand Prix, completing a circuit in 1m13.622s for Ferrari in 2004. That record is still yet to be broken.
- Lucky Alesi
French racing driver Jean Alesi competed in 202 races across his career. He secured his sole win at the 1995 Montreal Grand Prix when racing for Ferrari, before retiring in 2001.
- One Canadian win
To date there has only been one Canadian winner of the Montreal Grand Prix, the man himself, Gilles Villeneuve, who won it in 1978. It was also his maiden victory, with his son, and Canada’s only F1 champion in 1997, Jacques Villeneuve coming second in 1996.
- Wall of Champions
One of the most famous barriers in Formula One, the Wall of Champions is on the exit of the final chicane. Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve all had their races ended with collisions in 1999, while Jenson Button, Sebastien Vettel and many more also have since then.
- Longest F1 race ever
The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix was the longest in F1 history, with Jenson Button winning in a time of 4h 4m 39.537s. That included a two-hour rain delay and the safety car deployed on five separate occasions.
- 6th highest Formula One host
2016 will be the 37th time Montreal has hosted a Formula One round of the world championship race. Only five other circuits have hosted more; Monza, Monaco, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Nurburgring.
- Little and large win margins
The biggest winning margin came in 1983, when Ferrari’s Rene Arnoux was victorious by 42.029s. The lowest was when Michael Schumacher beat Rubens Barrichello by just 0.147s in 2000.
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