Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Ferrari’s best chance to win since Bahrain? Six Canadian GP talking points

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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Will Ferrari be as competitive in Canada as they were on the long straights of Bahrain? Here are the talking points for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s best chance to win

Ferrari are outflanked by Mercedes in almost every key area at the moment. Mercedes have superior cornering performance, a better command of Pirelli’s rubber (notwithstanding a tyre choice ‘error’ in Monaco which was not serious enough to cost Lewis Hamilton victory) and two drivers who are at the top of their games and making few errors.

However straight-line speed is Ferrari’s strength, and that may count for more in Montreal. Sector one at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve looks like being all about Mercedes, but the long sprints in the final two sectors should give Ferrari’s power unit the chance to shine.

If that allowed Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc to occupy the front row of the grid, as they did in Bahrain, it will be game on. Ferrari would stand a much better chance of keeping their tyres in good shape if they aren’t stuck in the slipstream of the all-conquering Mercedes for once.

Given their patchy start to 2019 so far, and following the tactical blunder in Monaco which ruined Leclerc’s weekend, it’s clear several stars will have to align at Ferrari for them to suddenly become Mercedes-beaters. But in Canada the track configuration should at least be on their side.

Force Canada

The local crowd now has its own F1 team, following Montrealler Lawrence Stroll’s takeover of the team formerly known as Force India. Nicholas Latifi will also appear for Williams in first practice, so there will be plenty of local representation at the track this weekend.

Neither team can be satisfied with their starts to 2019, though Racing Point is clearly in a much stronger position. Indeed, it heads to its ‘home’ race fifth in the constructors’ championship, albeit just four points ahead of ninth after no-scores in the last two races. The team hasn’t yet mastered the update it brought for its car at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez takes the credit for the majority of the team’s points haul, while Lance Stroll is yet to feature in Q2 this year. Perhaps a little home support will help him make the difference this weekend.

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Renault power

Having seemingly got on top of the reliability problems which scuppered their start to the season, Renault have been talking up the gains they’ve made with their power unit since then. Canada will provide a telling insight into whether they really have made progress.

Improving on last year’s result may be tricky. Last year the RS18s took seventh and ninth on the grid and scored a ‘best of the rest one-two’ behind the usual six front-runners. The greater measure of Renault’s progress will be whether either of their drivers can stay on the lead lap, which neither car managed 12 months ago.

Alfa Romeo’s slump

What has happened to the team which ended last season so convincingly, and began the new year so promisingly? Kimi Raikkonen brought his Alfa Romeo home in the points in each of the first four ‘fly-away’ races, but the team has struggled since then and were particularly poor in Monaco.

“The track in Montreal should suit us,” said Raikkonen, “but to be honest so far this season not a lot went according to plan. I hope we’ll get the tyres working and then we should be able to get the full potential out of the car. Ninth in the constructors’ championship is definitely not where we should be.”

Six races in, Antonio Giovinazzi is also still seeking his first points. With arguably the best power unit in the sport behind him, Canada should offer him a chance to put that right, if he can master this unfamiliar circuit quickly.

A new look

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will have a new look for this weekend’s race following the demolition and reconstruction of its pits and paddock. Several walls around the track have also been replaced and adjusted to improve safety.

It ain’t over ’til…

A slip-up at race control last year led to celebrity guest flag-waver Winnie Harlow bringing proceedings to a halt too soon. Under new rules, the electronic chequered flag signal is now use to officially end the race, so this shouldn’t happen again unless there is finger trouble elsewhere…

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2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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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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14 comments on “Ferrari’s best chance to win since Bahrain? Six Canadian GP talking points”

  1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    6th June 2019, 12:44

    If Ferrari don’t win this race, or at least outqualify one of the Mercedes I doubt they’ll win this year unless Mercedes make a mistake. Which is unlikely.

  2. I doubt it. I have my doubts about Ferrari’s chances on this venue either. Even if they were to be similarly competitive to Bahrain, they’d still probably manage to throw that away one way or another.

    1. Law of averages – even F can’t keep shooting themselves in the foot – they must miss eventually!

      1. Ah, ever the optimist 😁

        1. hehe yeah

          perhaps F need to ask Liberty (who seem to have capitulated on all F’s special perks) for a veto on silver cars ;-)

  3. Ferrari’s best chance is Monza.
    Montreal has a long straight but the other shorter ones demand good turn exit and traction, two things that Ferrari are lacking compared to Mercedes.

    I feel it will be similar to China. Mercedes 1-2.

  4. I think another strategic blunder will put them out of the win

  5. Sorry Ferrari fans but Hamilton and and Mercedes really like this track. All things being equal another Merc 1, 2. Verstappen should be able to challenge Ferrari for third. As a Ricciardo fan I would love to see the Renault being competitive, but no. If they can start to take on Mclaren at this point I would be satisfied with that.

  6. Depends on the Mercedes engine upgrade. If they bring it to Montreal (haven’t heard confirmation yet) and it boosts their top speed, really Ferrari will be out of contention. I spent the past two years thinking Ferrari were blowing their chance for a title because of driver, strategy and over-pushed development errors, and that still seems the case. I think Binotto is the real deal, he’ll be a fine team principal – if he survives long enough – and I like his willingness to talk more openly, it’s a good sign, but it’s unlikely he can resolve the aero issues in time this year.

  7. Ferrari should just turn off the team radio except for warnings and steward decisions, penalties etc and just let their boys race. If the boys don’t ask a question then don’t ‘suggest’ a darn thing. Worth a shot?

  8. High speed, rear-limited track like Bahrain. Anon has convinced me this is another Ferrari bailiwick. Canada often has good races so here’s hopin’.

    1. @dmw, well, it is true that I would expect things to be closer at the front given the length of the straights and the fact that, as a more rear limited circuit, it is likely to mask some of the shortcomings of Ferrari’s chassis.

      That said, I can see some areas where Mercedes is still likely to be strong – the slower corners at the start of the lap, and especially Turn 2, which is probably one of the few corners which is more front grip limited, do seem more likely to fall Mercedes’s way given the way that their suspension geometry is making them very effective in slower corners. The slow Turn 10 hairpin could mean that, whilst Ferrari’s end of straight performance is likely to be strong, Mercedes’s stronger slow corner performance means they’re likely to carry an initial advantage in terms of straight line speed onto the straight.

      The other aspect will be the effectiveness of the latest upgrade to Mercedes’s power unit, as the initial hints suggest a reasonable increase in usable power in both qualifying and race trim – that could erode some of the advantages that Ferrari had back at the time of the Bahrain GP.

      That said, I think that there will be many here wondering whether, even if Ferrari are more competitive around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, whether they would be able to take advantage of it given their poor organisational performances this season. Whether they can actually maximise their performance is another matter, and on that front their performances have been rather less convincing.

  9. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    6th June 2019, 16:16

    It feels as if it will suit Ferrari. I am not 100% certain though cause Merc brings some new updates.

  10. *Put on best Austrian accent*

    I think Ferrari are the favourites for the win.

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