2008 Canada preview: too close to call

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I had hoped the 2008 F1 season wouldn’t involve as much waiting for news from Paris on the latest FIA verdicts as 2007 did, but the scandal season is already well underway.

Nevertheless I don’t intend to let the goings-on regarding Max Mosley interfere with the usual race weekend coverage at F1 Fanatic especially as this year’s Canadian Grand Prix is, on paper at least, an especially exciting prospect.

Last year all the signs pointed to this being a McLaren-friendly circuit and, sure enough, Lewis Hamilton delivered his maiden win. But that may not be the case this year.

One thing that’s come up time and again in the post-race review notes is Ferrari’s straightline speed advantage, usually worth a couple of kph at pretty much any given track. With the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s long straights that will surely play into their hands.

Simlarly where McLaren excellent over bumps and kerbs last year, this is an area Ferrai have paid particular attention to, and they could well end up with the quicker car over the uneven track.

However I wouldn’t write McLaren off. Both their drivers performed particularly well at this circuit last year – Hamilton winning, and Heikki Kovalainen racing from 22nd to fourth and setting a significant marker from where he would start to dominate his team mate over the rest of the season.

Ferrari, meanwhile, were thoroughly indifferent here last year and their drivers have been at their worst this year when it comes to dealing with atypical or challenging circumstances. Give them a Tilke circuit on a dry day, and they’ll fly. Give them a circuit with bumps and barriers and changing track conditions and, as at Melbourne and Monte-Carlo, they’ll struggle. Montreal definitely falls into the latter category.

Qualifying will be as crucial as ever and so will the deployment of the safety car. As we saw last year those ever-present walls mean a safety car period can come at very little notice and can wreak havoc on a leader’s pit strategy entirely at random.

The FIA might have fixed that by now but, of course, they’re busy with other things…

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “2008 Canada preview: too close to call”

  1. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    3rd June 2008, 12:50

    im backing hamilton for this one, the last 2 races he has been serene! pole and victory i think!

    good to see the site not being bogged down by that twerp mosley. well done keith.

  2. thef1.com quoting motorsport aktuell


    There is rumours about drivers movings for this GP

    Coulthard from red bull to Renault
    Vettel from Toro Rosso to Red Bull
    Piquet from Renault to Toro Rosso

    I think it would be a very smart move, and an everybody wins situation.

    Renault needs to collect points urgently, they are 7th and that involves lose a lot of money. With Coulthard thay woulñd have a better performance. Coulthard and Vettel would have better cars, and Piquet less pressure.

  3. Doesn’t sound very plausible to me although I do expect Vettel to end up at Red Bull eventually.

  4. You should never count Ferrari out, but on low speed, twisty circuits they haven’t impressed this year or last year.

    It’s a shame BMW appear to be fading, but I’d say a Mclaren win is likely.

  5. I can only see Kimi winning this. After Aus he won, so I think he’ll take this one.

  6. Sorry to taint this post with Mosley-ism’s But:

    Any chance the teams don’t show as a sign that they disapprove of the vote of confidence? McLaren would probably make a stand if they were not in the running for the championship.

    On the other hand:

    Coulthard from red bull to Renault
    Vettel from Toro Rosso to Red Bull
    Piquet from Renault to Toro Rosso

    Would at least take the edge of the Mosley story. I’m all for it.

  7. Massa all the way baby! I’ll be there and I hope that he wins. My girlfriend like Hamilton and I hope he loses so I can laugh in her face there.

  8. Pole in Montreal doesn’t yield as much of an advantage as in most circuits. Because of the absence of high-speed corners the ‘fuel penalty’ has less of an impact on lap times. Even though the last 2 years the pole-sitter won the race, there was a clear advantage for Renault and McLaren respectively. Since the silvers and reds are so closely matched this year, I think we are likely to see strategies closer to those in ’03 (Michael won from 3rd), ’04 (Michael won from 6th) and ’05 (Kimi won from 7th). Even in ’06 Michael carried 32 laps’ worth of fuel into the race, and finished 2nd from 5th on the grid (granted, he should have been 3rd but for Kimi’s mistake in the final lap). I think this year’s winner comes from the 2nd row on the grid and his car is likely to be red.

  9. Hmmm, after what happened (or nearly happened) in Monaco I am finding it hard to predict anything for Canada.
    Ferrari will probably be trying for a 1-2 lock out during qualifying and dominate from the front.
    McLaren will appear to be doing the same, but will be happy to either split the Ferraris or take the second row – and change tactics during the race to get Hamilton ahead of the lead Ferrari (and maybe Kovi too)
    BMW will try to split the McLarens, and surge past them on the first lap (Kubica anyway)
    Red Bull will get both cars into the top 10 in Qualifying, and will hang on till the last to keep the BMWs in sight
    Renault will be fighting Red Bull and Honda all the way, probably Alonso will get a 5th or even a 4th, if hes lucky
    Honda might get one car in the top 10, but wont have the speed to keep it there
    Toyota might do one of their surprise weekends (I hope) and catch the big boys out for a top 5 place
    Torro Rosso will be annoying Honda and Renault again
    Force India – now we know that anything is possible, Id rather wait and see….
    Are there any weather predictions for the weekend yet?

  10. oops, I forgot Williams! (Sorry Frank)
    I think they will qualify alongside the Toyotas, Red Bulls and Renaults, and have a terrific midfield race, with Nico setting a fastest lap towards the end of the race for no apparent reason…..

  11. McLaren may very well have the edge again and it woulden’t suprise me to see Hamilton pull a repeat. For the Woking faithful, the big question in my mind is will this be the race where Heikki joins Lewis on the podium? For Ferrari, we’ll see if Massa keeps driving well, and if Raikkonen returns to his stronger form.

    The driver movement rumours are indeed interesting- I also believe Vettel will be at Red Bull in the near future, but I’m not sure if things would happen in such quick order right now.

    I’m looking forward to a good race this weekend, and being able to tune in for a GP in my own time zone. The only downside for me is I’m still crushed that the teams and drivers won’t be racing under the Stars and Stripes next weekend :(

  12. I’m betting on Renault.

    Alonso on the podium.

  13. If anyone goes from Red Bull to Renault I think it will be Webber

  14. Just now, after Monaco, I see Ferrari getting pole, and squandering it during the race. They just don’t seem to be on form, drivers and the rest of the team, and if they’re not too careful they’re going to get caught out by BMW who will be right on their tail. In fact, based on the season so far, Massa’s probably the strongest link in the red team…and that’s kinda saying a bit.

    Personally, I hope Ferrari will have pulled themselves together for Canada, but I’m sure BMW sniff a higher punch.

  15. Interesting Frecon, except if Renault are looking to score points from their second driver I am not sure DC is the man for them, since he is sitting pretty at a big fat 0 on the scoreboard……

    I am going to go out on a limb here and predict Montreal as Kubica’s maiden F1 victory.

    Lewis and Heikki will share the podium with him.

  16. William Wilgus
    4th June 2008, 4:26

    Interesting how it seems that so many blame Ferrari’s failure to win Monaco on things other than bad luck and that it is lucky to be as high in he standings as it is. I think many of you under-estimate he prancing horse & Massa. I wouldn’t be surprised to see red cars finish 1st & 2nd at Canada.

  17. haha pink peril, that would rock.

  18. Amarjit Singh
    4th June 2008, 11:15

    I reckon it’ll probably be a McLaren-dominating performance, but the stupid safety-car rule might cause a few upsets.

  19. Ferrari will be strong everywhere, there is no longer anything like a Mclaren friendly circut

  20. Christopher Wait
    4th June 2008, 12:04

    Keith i have not posted before now but have been reading your site since Belgium last year. I thoroughly enjoy your articles and appreciate that you keep the wittering about that scabby old nazi to a minimum…racing is what unites us, not scandal. Keep up the good work.

  21. Thanks Christopher!

  22. Pink Peril – i to would love the Pole to get a victory very soon.
    After the fun he had here last time around it would settle the ledger – at the moment Montreal leads = 1 – 0

  23. Agree with Pink Peril and Brett. It would be fantastic if Kubica could pull one out of the bag. Only I’d him to share the podium with the boys in red rather than silver.

  24. Pink Peril, that would be not only a huge step for Kubica, but would also be the first GP victory for BMW- something that Dr. Mario noted as a goal for the team in 2008 in several interviews and stories I’ve seen/read this season. It would be a refreshing turn of events for the series, no matter who we all root for each week.

    Sush, it would be interesting indeed if Alonso lands on the podium- I’m sure he would welcome it after his embarrasing run last season at CGV.

  25. Canada result: 2 Ferraris on podium – likely 1 and 2, maybe 1 and 3. Cue the Italian anthem.

  26. Hoping for that result too Green Flag, and throw Kubica in the mix and it’ll be my dream result.

  27. BMW fading???..(comment #4)…well,don’t ruin Kubica’s fun by telling him because,he seems to like to party on the podium almost every race!

    The Kube has something to prove in Canada,it’s podium time again.

  28. Scott Joslin
    5th June 2008, 16:43

    according to Autosport the link on their website suggests that there will be plenty of rain this weekend.

    Not sure if anyone else can confirm

  29. Yes I mentioned that on Twitter recently. The Canadian Meteorological society are predicitng a 60% chance of rain in Montreal tomorrow but sun for the next two days. However some of the more detailed forecasts Autosport are citing suggest a chance of showers during the weekend.

  30. Scott Joslin
    6th June 2008, 11:56

    on a slightly funnier note, for all the ITV listeners out there, lets hope we don’t have to put up with this if Lewis Hamilton gets anywhere near a win this weekend.


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