Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Bottas quickest in four-minute practice session stopped early by CCTV fault

2023 Canadian Grand Prix first practice

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The first practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix was effectively abandoned after four minutes due to a circuit CCTV failure.

An early red flag which was shown after Pierre Gasly stopped on the circuit was never rescinded as a CCTV problem on the circuit meant the FIA were unable to resume the session due to safety reasons. Valtteri Bottas was quickest of the 12 drivers who set a single lap time during the opening minutes of the session.

With the two Red Bulls sitting atop the championship, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both waited at the end of the pit lane before the first hour of practice began. When it did, both headed out on soft tyres to set their first laps of the race weekend, joined on soft tyres by the two Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, while the 13 others who also took to the circuit chose mediums.

Gasly headed out in his Alpine for his first lap, but reported a drive problem with his car heading through turn five. With his rear wheels not responding to the input of his right foot on the throttle, Gasly stopped on the side of the track as his team attempted to provide him solutions over the radio. After attempting to restart his car by removing and replacing the steering wheel, Gasly was told to switch off his car and the red flag was flown, stopping the session.

Marshals began work to clear away the Alpine as the two Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton exited the garage to the end of the pit lane to await the restart of the session. However, there was an unexpected delay to the session being resumed due to a technical problem with the circuit’s CCTV system, meaning race control were unable to start the session with the required level of safety guaranteed.

The two Mercedes were wheeled back into the garage while circuit staff worked on fixing the CCTV problem. However, what was expected to be a relatively brief delay continued to drag on until there was less than half an hour of run time remaining. The FIA reiterated that work was continuing to fix the circuit infrastructure, but that efforts to resync the CCTV system had been unsuccessful.

As the minutes ticked by, Hamilton attempted to entertain the patient Canadian fans by stepping over the pit wall and onto the track to wave to the crowd, before it was then announced that the session would not be resumed due to the fault. The FIA confirmed that second practice will begin 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled and extended by the same amount to make back some of the time lost.

Of those drivers who did set a time in the opening four minutes of the session, Bottas was quickest for Alfa Romeo with a 1’18.728, ahead of the two Aston Martins of Stroll and Alonso and the two Red Bulls of Perez and Verstappen. Only 12 drivers completed timed laps in the session, although none of which were at representative speeds.

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix first practice result

177Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’18.7283
218Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’19.1750.4473
314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’19.8071.0793
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’20.1541.4263
51Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’20.2311.5033
681Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’21.4962.7683
720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’24.0455.3173
827Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’24.3365.6083
924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’24.9616.2333
1055Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’25.9917.2633
1116Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’26.8098.0813
1221Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’32.27413.5463
1322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT04No time2
144Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL60No time2
1510Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA523No time1
1623Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW45No time1
172Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW45No time2
1831Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA523No time
1944Lewis HamiltonMercedesW14No time
2063George RussellMercedesW14No time

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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23 comments on “Bottas quickest in four-minute practice session stopped early by CCTV fault”

  1. Pathetic for modern technology standards how such an issue doesn’t get solved in 40+ minutes.
    Also, what a coincidence the issue with CCTV footage struck shortly after Gasly’s red flag-causing stoppage as if they’re somehow connected.
    Consequently, the only occasion Bottas tops any session, in all likelihood, unless similarly unusual circumstances & good luck with timing strike again.

    1. Also, what a coincidence the issue with CCTV footage struck shortly after Gasly’s red flag-causing stoppage as if they’re somehow connected.

      It’s not that deep, it’s never that deep Jere

      1. T – I was sarcastic anyway.
        Simon – Yes, most likely the only time this season with him topping a session in a midfield car.

        1. fair enough, mea culpa

        2. Yes, I also thought it was strange, till I read the session was 4 mins long, don’t remember this happening in recent f1 history, although I never watch practice, usually even rain affected sessions go the full duration or longer than that.

    2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      16th June 2023, 19:58

      Bottas is 1.5 up on Verstappen – what a driver.

    3. @jerejj

      I guess you mean Bottas fastest in a practice session for Alfa Romeo? Because if not…

    4. Something, I forgot to add earlier is that merely communicating the CCTV issue took unnecessarily long, meaning even teams were unsure what caused the lengthy delay without an apparent reason.

  2. That was highly impressive.

    Zero redundancy in a critical safety system. How do these people tie their shoes?

    1. You think they wear shoes?

    2. What’s wrong with spotters and radios? Impressive inflexibility and impressively poor troubleshooting.

      1. There could very well be a minimum level of real-time observability and permanent video archival coverage of the circuit that is part of the FIA’s and/or host company’s insurance coverage.

  3. Well at least nobody got hurt … that is the main thing.
    Hopefully, someday, nobody will be allowed to do anything risky or challenging.

    I read a book last week about people racing without seatbelts or helmets.
    It was a fantasy novel I think.

    1. Better/ quicker responce than in Australia when the GPS failed!

  4. Going by Domenicali recently complaining about “traditional venues” needing to provide a high standard to F1 and its fans a like, it’s only fair to reimburse the fans for this failure by the host to provide the entertainment the fans paid for.

    1. They should’ve done that at spa 2021 too but didn’t.

      1. Indeed, although Spa itself did organize a somewhat farcical ‘lottery’ for a couple dozen 2022 tickets.

        But F1 hid behind their farcical “complete but stopped race” shenanigans, and none of the drivers and teams who complained was ever shown to have done anything for those fans.

  5. I’m lost for words, how did we ever cope before CCTV.

    Oh yeah it was called communication skills and marshalls.

    Formula Joke

  6. If F1 wants to pare down the practice sessions as proposed or like for the parade in Florida this cannot happen. The only reason this error doesn’t matter is that there is more than sufficient time for practice.

  7. Which tire did Bottas use? Also, when both Mercedes didn’t set a laptime, this session’s laptime are irrelevant. Poor session by Ferrari, though

    1. Nah, you can’t draw conclusions from a 4 min practice, teams run different tyres, settings etc., even 60 mins practice sessions tell very little about real performance, let alone ones that get cut short to 4 mins.

  8. What happened to the predictions?

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