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F1 Tracks: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - Canadian Grand Prix

Situated on a man-made island, just a stone's throw from Montreal, sits the picturesque Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a firm favourite amongst F1 drivers and fans alike.

Home to the Canadian Grand Prix, the track has developed a reputation for delivering exciting racing thanks to an abundance of overtaking spots, making it an event to look forward to every year.

The high-speed, low-downforce circuit features several well known sections, including the L'epingle hairpin and the Wall of Champions, named as such for having had Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher hit it in the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.

Even with Red Bull and Max Verstappen running away with F1’s top honours this season, that won’t dampen enthusiasm for this year’s edition of the Canadian Grand Prix as we look into what makes the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve such a special venue.

What2023 Canadian Grand Prix
WhereCircuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal
When19:00, Sunday, June 18th
How to watchSky Sports F1
OddsMax Verstappen 4/11, Sergio Perez 9/2, Lewis Hamilton 12/1, Fernando Alonso 16/1, George Russell 25/1, Charles Leclerc 33/1

Where is Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

The track was built on Ile Notre-Dame, a man-made island initially constructed to host the 1967 World’s Fair, which was later used for the rowing events at the 1976 Olympic Games.

The island lies in Saint Lawrence Seaway, just across the river from Montreal. The track was originally named Circuit Ile Notre-Dame before being renamed in honour of Canadian great Gilles Villeneuve following his death in 1982.

When was Circuit Gilles Villeneuve first built?

Having previously been held in Toronto and Quebec, the Canadian Grand Prix found its now-home in 1978 when construction on the track was completed.

Over the years, the track has been transformed into a power circuit comprising fewer corners and long straights, making it more of a spectacle.

The facilities around it have been improved too, including the construction of a new paddock and garages between races in 2018 and 2019.

How long is Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

The hybrid street circuit is 4.361km (2.71 miles) long with drivers racing at full throttle for 76 per cent of a lap and touching speeds of over 196 miles per hour along the 1km straight.

The track features just 14 corners, including several break-busting chicanes, requiring a high-downforce set-up and aerodynamically-sound front wing. However, the frequency of straights means getting the set-up of the car right can prove tricky.

When did Circuit Gilles Villeneuve first host an F1 race?

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve held its first Grand Prix in 1978, a race which was fittingly won by the driver who now shares his name with the track: Gilles Villeneuve.

The venue has staged a race every year since with a few exceptions. The 1987 edition was cancelled due to a legal row between sponsors, while the race was dropped from the 2009 calendar.

After a two-year hiatus in 2020 and 2021, the Canadian Grand Prix was back on the F1 schedule in 2022.

Who has won the most F1 races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton share the honour of most wins in Formula 1 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, taking the chequered flag seven times apiece.

Hamilton is a 12/1 chance to claim the record outright this season ahead of Schumacher, who was responsible for a large number of the 11 wins Ferrari have enjoyed at the circuit.

The Italians are the most successful team since the race was moved to Montreal, achieving two more wins than McLaren’s total of nine.

What is the F1 lap record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

Sebastian Vettel holds the record for the fastest lap seen at the circuit, the Ferrari driver clocking 1:10.240 in qualifying for the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix.

The record for the fastest lap during a race was set in that same year, Valtteri Bottas piloting his Mercedes around the track in a time of 1:13.078.

Does Circuit Gilles Villeneuve host any other events?

When Formula 1 isn’t in town, the venue is opened up for the public to put the track through its paces either on bikes, skates or running.

This year, the track will also host two triathlon events with its proximity to the lake around which the track bends making it an ideal venue for the multi-discipline sport.

What is the weather like at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

The weather at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve can be typically cold over the winter, with temperatures dipping well below freezing.

However, by the time the Canadian Grand Prix comes around - which in 2023 is taking place in June - the weather is usually much warmer, with temperatures averaging just under 20° Celsius, although there is of course always the potential for rain.

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