2011 Canadian Grand Prix discussion

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This area is for people who are attending or planning to attend the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal.

Use the comments below to share your thoughts on the race, where on the track you intend to watch from, how you’ll get to the track and more.

Taken any pictures or video at the race?

If you’ve got any pictures or video from the race weekend you can share them with F1 Fanatic by uploading them to our drop.io, or you can arrange to email them in. Contributions are always welcome.

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

87 comments on “2011 Canadian Grand Prix discussion”

  1. Going! Booked tickets and a place to stay for 2011 already.

    Cant wait! This year’s race was epic!

  2. I wanted to go this past year but my lord, its expensive !! No wonder they can’t sell out at most venues. Good thing I didn’t tho becuz I would have been miserable watching Alonso lose due to the backmarkers. Better luck in 2011. Anyone have suggestions on making the trip and where to sit, eat, etc. etc. ?

  3. I’m going in 2011 & wondered if anyone has hotel recommendations? I have found a few with vacancies but just as I think it looks ok I find several questionable reviews.

    Also is the track easy to access by public transport?

    @Nesto I’m going to be at the hairpin, I think thats where anyone I’ve spoken to about it recommends :) There is a general admission bit there as well as grandstands.

    1. We stayed at Suite Labelle and it’s pretty good. Average American breakfast included, a minute from the metro and the track is only one stop away. Also – very close to the downtown, about 20 minutes of walk.

      We’re be at sector grandstand 24 sector 4. Grandstand 15 is too far away from the track. They moved it after 07’s Kubica krash.

      Enjoy your stay.:)

  4. I’m *hoping* to go in 2011, and I’m also wondering whether anyone has hotel recommendations. Don’t suppose there’s anything both cheap AND close to the circuit? ;-)

  5. Hey fellas, been reading this forum for a while, but this is my first post.

    You’ll find that the hotels are insanely expensive, and all the rates have been jacked up. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Midtown last year and it was awesome, but I booked it the day I found out when the GP would be, so I save like 600 bucks before they jacked up the rates…

    I think your best bet would be to stay in the vacant university residences which are situated downtown, and close to the fun! Bar scene…

    Anyways, yes, the track was super easy to get to, just one train, and then a change over to another, and your there, honestly, less than 10 minutes total!

    Have a great time, I know I did… Sat at turn 1, amazing seats for Grandstand 12…

    Go Hamilton!!!!

    Have fun guys,


  6. Hey,

    Just some things I learned last year, in case anyone was curious…

    The track is very easy to access by public transport. As a matter of fact, the subway is just about the only practical way to get onto the island. There is a stop about 1KM from the track. Once you get off, just follow the crowds (there will be a sea of people).

    In terms of where to sit, I personally sat in Grandstand 11 last year. Pretty good view, but I am trying Grandstand 12 this year for something different. I thinke anything around Virage Senna is supposed to be good.

    You don’t really have a choice of where to sit within the stands. The promoters just assign you a seat. The seats are just bleachers and are super uncomfortable and cramped, and there is no shade. Kinda like watching a minor league baseball game..You probably already knew this, but I wished someone had warned me last year…

    What else? You can bring your own booze if you want, but it is pretty hard to stash it anywhwere. Personally, I won’t bother.

    Also, in terms of places to stay, check a few websites for short term appartment rentals, too. My wife and I got a great deal on a really nice place that was a fraction of the ripoff hotel rates. Flipkey is a good place to start searching.

    Enjoy!See you there!

  7. My son and I attended Montreal this year and what an amazing time we had… we were there from Thursday so not only did we get the full race weekend but were able to see lot’s of that great city..:) The travel to the venue was simple as our seedy little hotel was one block away from the underground Metro which after one change took us directly to the front gates of the track.. :)
    Line ups were acceptable for this scale of event and it seemed that even though Montreal had a year off they still know how to throw a party!!

    The Thursday pit walk was a bit damp but nothing was soaking my spirits for my first GP… the excitement of seeing the garages close up was amazing… the capper was a mechanic from Lotus came and took my camera into the pit and got some great shots for me! very different from other garages where they wouldn’t let you see part of the cars.. lol…

    Friday was awesome having the freedom to watch from other grandstands as we moved around the track… our seats were at Senna corner in GS11 but my favorite spot was GS21 right at the breaking zone for Epingle… it was amazing watching the cars accelerate out of turn 9, brake for the hairpin and accelerate on there way down Droit Du Casino… that was where the RBR’s really shone… exiting that hairpin was truly crazy just how fast they were… :)

    Saturday we packed a lunch and a 6 pack of beer in our backpacks.. (as per everyday..:) and headed to our seats… Quali was awesome because you could really see that the cars and drivers were getting to grips with the track… the speeds were dropping and the excitement was building! Watching Lewis pushing his car down the back straight on the big screen was a sight to behold.. never seen that before… lol

    Did I mention that the City of Montreal really knows how to throw a party!! There was huge sections of downtown blocked off with stages scattered all over the area… Franco Bars every 40 feet so there was NO excuse to have an empty beer… every kind of music you could imagine playing all around you.. and great people that were more than willing to help out some “out of towners” with directions to the hottest clubs… but the atmosphere on the streets was where the real action was… we partied until 4am every morning then were up at 8 on our way to the track… the perfect schedule… 8)

    Race day was almost too much to take for me… being my first GP I was asked a few times to settle down by the people behind me as I was jumping around like a school boy! The race was spectacular and the perfect weather so all was awesome!! as the last laps wound down we found a spot to crawl over the fence so we were ready… as the cars passed the start/finish line we bolted for the fence..
    climbing the grandstand and hopping the fence… then sprinting towards the podium… obviously my son had an easier time of this but I kept up with him… :) We got there just as Lewis, Fernando and Felipe made it to the stage… what a moment!! We soaked in the atmosphere in all it’s glory… when that was said and done we walked back to Senna corner looking for scraps.. I managed to find a piece of kevlar and many marbles as trophies… We carried on walking the pit wall watching the crews start packing up when we noticed a group of people in front of the Mercedes pit… there was Jock Clear having a Q&A session with the fans… the best question being about Micheal’s driving during the race.. lol

    So we made out way back to downtown and enjoyed one more night in Montreal before flying home Monday… the fact that we have to fly to our home race got me thinking that since we have to fly to Montreal, we might as well start flying around the world to watch GP’s… so that’s our plan for next year.. :)

    I had a thrilling trip for my first GP and look forward to seeing not only Montreal again but other sites around the world…

    Cheers… 8)

  8. Not suggesting anybody does the same as me, because I could be making a mistake, but unlike past years I am leaving my hotel arrangements until nearer race time.
    Reason being I have noticed that unlike before I am seeing plenty of hotel availability, whether downtown, old Montreal, or further out. In addition, there are many hotels offering rates hundreds $CAD lower now than when FIA calendar was announced.
    Obviously the usual favourites sold out straight away with repeat bookings, but to me it seems a lot of the other chain hotels were overly optimistic ( ie greedy ) by increasing their rates by CAD$150 per night compared to 2010.
    In addition, every year I note, there seems to be a sweetspot when many reservations are cancelled when payment is requested by the hotel for advance bookings.
    If you are lucky enough to bag what you want the savings are very worthwhile. So I am going to take a chance and keep an eye on things until April at the latest and jump on any good offers available.
    Whether its the economy or just the higher race ticket prices, higher hotel rates or a combination of all three, but I feel hotel bookings are slower this year.

  9. I got my tickets for the race this year back in November! Unlike last year (which was my first GP), I got proper grandstand seats this time at GS24! It’s an early birthday present for my dad so I figured I should put in the extra bucks to get a proper view. :)

    Hotels are no issue for me as I live only 15mins from the track, but can I say for all of my years living in this city, the Grand Prix weekend are my favourite days of the year! Even beats St-Jean-Baptiste weekend!

  10. Now that I have my hotel reserved the question of seating has really begun and presently I’m having a debate with the ticketer about which would be a better seat.

    The choice is between grandstands 11 and 12, both of which sit on the outside of Senna Curve (turn 1).
    Map Link:http://www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca/DATA/TEXTE/Circuit_2010_F1_en.pdf

    I would prefer to sit where I can see all of Senna and then have some sort of view back north along the pit straight. It seems to me that somewhere in stand 11 high enough up you’d have a decent look back up the front straight, but I can’t remember if there is a screen or tent on the inside of turn 1/2 there. The ticketer insists there usually is and thus the superior seat with a few towards the pit is on the side of stand 12.

    Opinions? Thoughts? Memories? I’ve sat in the hairpin (long ago) and last year on start-finish. The first corner just seems like the obvious place to watch from next.

    1. ” I would prefer to sit where I can see all of Senna and then have some sort of view back north along the pit straight. It seems to me that somewhere in stand 11 high enough up you’d have a decent look back up the front straight, but I can’t remember if there is a screen or tent on the inside of turn 1/2 there. The ticketer insists there usually is and thus the superior seat with a few towards the pit is on the side of stand 12 ”

      Either Tribune 11 or 12 will definitely let you see all of Senna. If you want to see up the pit straight towards the start/ finish and beyond right the way to champions wall then you need to be able to look past the trees.
      In Tribune 11 this means booking a seat in sections 1 through 4, the nearest you are to the far left of 1 as you look at the stand from the track – the better angle up the straight for taking pictures with a long lens.
      You don’t necessarily have to be high up in the stand – there are no tents etc to block your view – just the trees.
      In Tribune 12, you need to be in sections towards the right hand side as you look at the stand from the track ie. 4 and beyond.
      The problem with sitting in the sections 1, 2, etc are the large covered grandstands blocking your view of the start / finish straight.
      If you are high enough in Tribune 12 and over to the right hand side you will see up the straight.
      Remember that at Montreal, unlike most circuits the ground level seat rows begin AA with the highest seat rows being A upwards, not the other way around.

  11. ClevelandSteamer (@)
    22nd January 2011, 11:07

    new to the forums and F1 … I attended Monza last year while on a “business” trip and am now addicted.

    anyways…i am looking for the best source for grandstand tickets. Do you buy them thru F1.com, thru circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca ???

    Myself and a few friends want to goto sunday race and spend friday and sat nite drinking and eating well.

    1. It always works out cheapest and best in my opinion to book through the circuit website or contact the circuit directly by phone.

  12. Hello all,

    I am considering making myfirst visit to the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011 and thought I should get my skates on!

    Can anyone recommend reputable sites for packages, (flights from UK, Hotel & 3-day passes).
    Probably these will be more expensive that doing it myself so recomendations for places to stay (metro is good it seems so downtown is fine so I can explore thie city) and best route to by tickets from the UK.

    All recomendations appreciated.

  13. ClevelandSteamer
    2nd February 2011, 18:47

    I am looking into tickets for upcoming race and it appears that you have to purchase an entire weekend pass. Is it possible to get a grandstand ticket for the Sunday race and not all the qualifying stuff? I really want to spend some time eating and drinking in this city that I have been wanting to visit for many years. My god the tix are expensive for the entire weekend. Also, I know that general admission sucks here so that is not an option. I also dont really want to wait until I am in the city and buy from a scalper. I will be shelling out some big $$$ on a plane ticket and lodging and want to get my tickets well in advance if possible.

  14. First Time at Canada G.P. Hi everybody. Im going to the race with my son this year. His first time at a grand prix. I would like for someone that has been there before recommend the best possible seats to see the cars going up through the gears. So my son can see just how loud and, quick they are. Not just the straight. But a place to get the best view of all the exciting parts of an F-1 race. Thank you, Dave

    1. The hairpin is your best bet, as you see them accelerate out onto Casino Straight. The noise is epic! GS 24 (the one I’ve booked) or 15 will be your stands of choice as you can see the cars decelerate, overtake, and accelerate fairly rapidly. Best bit of the track IMO!

    2. The grandstand just after the second corner (right hander) is pretty good as the cars accelerate away after the slow corner. Plus the sunshine, which can be hot and bright is behind you.
      The grandstand after the bottom hairpin is the other spot to get the cars pulling away towards the long straight and the start line. I sat there and watched Kubica have his big accident.
      Montreal just buzzes. My favourite foreign race.

  15. Cleveland – to get a race only seat off ebay will cost almost as much as a weekend. My advice is to by the w/e pass and then try to sell you friday prac and saturdday qualy to offset. the saturday is probably my fav day as its all party and qualifying is exciting.

    David Lewis – I have been at the last 6gp’s and have been exclusively at grandstand 31 which is the right left turn before the hairpin. You get some good audio of the downshifting and upshifting. to see how fast these things go then its a short walk to see the general admission area where the aforementioned straight is.

    My question is what are people’s thoughts on grandstand 33?

    1. I know a few people like that stand as you get a nice full view of the cars without them going to quickly as they go through that chicane. The only issue is that it’s fairly isolated in the park and it’s a trek to get to from the track entrance. That said, a lot of people say the best car photo opportunities are from that stand so ymmv.

    2. I watched from 33 in 2006 which was my first time at the circuit. Villeneuve put it in the wall just out of sight. There is a big screen but I don’t like the stand much. You only see the cars for a short time. I would recomend one of the stands around the hairpin or stand 11 or 12 around the first turns. I know they are twice the price but they are ten times better viewing

  16. I sit in GS 11, section 4. From 2010 here is a video of the standing start I took: http://bit.ly/gkxubO and a video of the end of the 1st complete lap: http://bit.ly/ewrBTB . Here is a set of photos I took: http://bit.ly/gtNxUC . The metro is perfect to get onto the island – $15 for a 3 day pass.

    1. I have sec 11, sec 4 -GG seat 8-10. Are my seats close to your old ones?

  17. went last year…. still haven’t planned this year

  18. I’m going this year!! I’ve been watching F1 for over 20 years, and this will finally be the first race I’ll see live! I can’t wait!

    I’ve been thinking of sitting in front of the pitstops, so I can follow the action of the tire changes as well as all the things that happen with the team.. what do you guys think? Is the view from there good??

    1. I have sat in most stands. I watched a Nascar race from this stand. I don’t really like sitting on straights as you don’t see much of what is going on. I guess with the Pirellis you might get to see more of the cars in the pits than on the track in Montreal this year. I recomend you avoid the front rows as the fence obstructs your view.

  19. I think the view of the pits from there could be great, they are right accross from the pit lane.

    Personally, I have always preferred a corner as I sometimes find watching really fast cars on a straight somewhat… disorienting. They go by so quickly that its hard to even tell which one is which sometimes… all you see is a flash of multicoloured light and *reear!!*wroom!*reaaaaaaaar!*…. and like 10 cars go by, but in which order?

    I dont know iof there is a bad place to sit at the whole circuit though, really. And, if you feel the seats you chose were a bit limited, you can always walk around the circuit and have a look from different angles, especially on Friday and Saturday.

    Have a blast, dude!

  20. This is going to be my first F1 race! I’m thinking of getting tickets to Grandstand 11 or 12 (preferably 11), but going through the http://www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca/tickets-f1.html website, and selecting “best seats” available, they keep giving me Section 9 Row Y. I really think that seat must suck, because I thought section 8 was the end, but now there is a section 9 (which must be the far far right) and Row Y which is way up there. So my question is, is that seat even worth getting? I tried Grandstand 12 as well, but the only seat the website gives me is in Section 1 Row MM. Do you think I can get better sections by calling the phone number to order?


    1. I would say that sitting on the far right in Grandstand 11 would be among the best seats of the entire track. Have a look at the video that GerIRL posted from stand 11. The only difference will be that from the far right you can see all the way up the start/finish straight. And then you can see them all the way through to turn 3.
      I have sat on the far left of grandstand 12 for the first Nascar race in 2007. That is a great spot.

    2. Alzarius,
      Yes, Sections 8, 9 are the extreme right as you look from the track at the stand.
      The better view is the extreme left as you look from the track at the stand….Sections 1,2,3.
      My guess is Tony is meaning he likes the right as you look at the track from the stand ?

      You should be able to choose seats by phone – or keep clicking on the website and hope to be lucky.

      Row Y is great unless you would rather be seated closer to track level, for myself, I like the higher rows.

      1. You guesssed right. I always think of direction from the spectators perpective. My bad. Listen to Joe

      2. Thanks so much for the suggestion.
        I called in, and Grandstand 11 really is almost all gone. I needed 2 tickets, and the only section left is 9. They have some singles in section 7 but that’s about it.

        Instead, I went with Grandstand 12, section 3, row A (11,12). I figured section 3 in Grandstand 12 is probably better than section 9 of Grandstand 11.

        Woohoo I have my tickets!!

  21. Is it OK to pick up my tickets at the ticket office with my confirmation number, identification, and credit card that I used for the purchase? I just wanted to make very sure that I don’t need to bring the email confirmation, because for some bizarre reason, I can’t receive it. I’ve checked my spam folder and inbox, and I called the ticket office by phone and they said they sent me my email confirmation – it just doesn’t show up in my email for some reason. They even re-sent it to me, and I still can’t receive it. I’ve checked my name and contact info with them, and verified my seats, and they tell me everything is fine.

    So I guess that should be safe enough, right? Just makes me feel safer if I got that confirmation through email, but they just gave me the confirmation number over the phone.

    1. Best e-mail ticket office, ask them to reply with confirmation.
      It is one less thing to worry about if you have the correct paperwork to hand.
      Last year I collected tickets they asked to see e-mail confirmation, passport photo ID and the credit card used to purchase.
      Admittedly in previous times I rolled up to Will Call, they asked my name, I showed them photo ID and they rummaged through a wooden box to find the envelope with my name.
      It could go either way.

      1. Thanks. I emailed them and will see what happens. It is so strange… they tried to email me confirmation twice, and it isn’t going through. Nothing in inbox or spam folders. I really do feel safer with an email confirmation in hand when I walk up to the ticket office.

  22. Mark from Seattle
    18th April 2011, 1:50

    I am replying I think to several e-mails above.

    Begining in early March, I spent hours online, researching hotel prices and vacancies, ticket prices and tour packages.

    I have concluded that the cheapest ticket price is through Circuit Gilles Villeneuve itself, as they appear to have 0 or the least handling fees.

    Hotels in a lot of Montreal are priced high or asking for nonrefundable, large deposits in advance. I think the several tour groups that offer Formula 1 weekend packages have block booked rooms in many hotels; as a result, space already appears scarce.

    My friend and I finally decided on a package from Octane Travel Solutions, who apparently an adjunct of the promotors’ firm. (Hotel and tickets, subway pass, etc.) So far it has been very smooth sailing with them, but of course the proof is in the pudding.

    I have never been to Montreal before, and the last GP I attended was at Watkins Glen! Quite excited.

  23. Big F1 fan planning to Make Montreal 2011 my first race. First off I’m not a big party guy so I’ll be staying in the suburbs and parking at Longueuil Station and taking the train on Sat and Sun. I’ve pretty much limited my choices to Grandstand 31 or 33. I see that 31 is closer to the footbridge (although not that close) so it is more convenient but I think the 33 would provide better views of the cars. My other issue is i need to drive back to Boston (6 hours) immediately after the victory lap. Would being in 31 over 33 get me to the train faster? I do realize that 120,000 people will all be leaving essentially at the same time but I’m hoping tots of folks rush to the podium and/or goes into Montreal after the race to party while I’m going the other way.

    1. The grandstands nearer to “Kubica Corner” definitely get to the Metro station earlier, and they are pretty good at getting folks away. But you might still find a crush that delays you by half an hour or so. Walking across a bridge could be quicker.

    2. You are going to get the crush out of both stands because the hairpin stands are all going to get to the bridge before you.
      If I were you I would spend a little more and get a stand at the hairpin. You get to see the cars for a lot longer and you will get to the metro quicker.

  24. So how about GS34? My budget is a little tight to spring for the more expensive hairpin sections. I’ve actually watched some youtube footage from 34 and it looks pretty sweet. You really get a good long view of the cars in a prime overtaking area.

    1. I would go to 34 over 31 because you will see better. There will be a rush to get over the bridge over the track after the race but you will have all the main entertainment right behind you for the whole weekend. Plus you will be able to wave to me in 21 all weekend.

      I don’t know if I am much help to you for getting out of the track after the race. I think you will get a crowd unless you are willing to miss a couple of laps at the end. But I would stay away from 31 and 33 on the grounds that you will see bugger all racing. 34 should be good for the price

  25. Came on just to post that #34 will be sold out, as it seems to sell out first every year, and was in fact listed as sold out by January. Amazed that checking on the circuit website it is now available again. There must have been some unblocking of seats.
    In fact, having looked at various hotels that are normally sold out months ago, even some of the favourites are still available, although the room rates show they are not worried yet.

    Maybe some of the F1 tour companies have cancelled their packages with the hotels ?

    I would never leave before the flag drops, but have noticed enough do so to cause a queue at the Metro, so may as well hang around, walk the track, have a close up look at the cars in the pit lane, and hopefully by then the stampede will have eased. If you can spare the time.

    If the weather is good you could walk to La Ronde, and consider walking back along the water ? By then there definitely will be no queue.

  26. Here is another issue when I was checking tickets on-line. From what I’ve always read that opposed to most events (concerts, ball games etc), the best or most sought after tickets for auto racing are the the seats that are the highest in each section. I also see that the front row is AA through ZZ and row 27 would be A and if they went that high the 52nd row would be Z. The ticket site seems to fill from the bottom up. Here is an example a single ticket (which is all I need) in Grandstand 34 puts me in row LL (12) but if I put in 4 tickets (seemingly more difficult to find 4 seats together) they put me in row R (44). Any way to get around this?

    1. Other than hitting the submit key repeatedly day after day and maybe being lucky, the only way to buy request specific seats / rows is to telephone # 514-397-0007.

      Could try the order form but for me that is too hit and miss. Good luck anyways.

  27. I took your advice and called. Got a nice high seat in GS 34. I’m counting down the days now.

  28. Hello fellow F1 fanatics…some advice if you’re still looking for tickets – Keep on checking and CALL/DEAL directly with Circuit (1-514-350-0000). I’ve literally been living on the website debating on where to sit this year. GS34 is still looking sold out, but I’m told that there are still blocks of tickets that, if go unsold with the holders (tour companies etc.) they will be released – when?, who knows. I’ve also kept on checking for GS11 & GS12, with only the outermost sections showing available on the website (not what I wanted), and yet, to my surprise I found 1 seat in GS12-section7-rowR-seat27 when I called directly…woo hoo…my thanks to the ‘live voice’ that did in 5 minutes what 2 months of ‘clicking’ on this computer couldn’t.

    All the best in your search, and see you at the race!!!

  29. Can anyone give me the details of the Thursday pitwalk? I’ve been to Montreal a few times but never done the walk. It doesn’t seem to be as ‘advertised’ as others I’ve done in Spa or Monza for instance. This year I’d like to attend so just wondering what time to arrive on Thursday.

    1. Nothing has been posted for this year’s PitWalk yet. Last year(if memory serves me correctly)was from noon til 4pm. Busses pick up fans just past where you cross the bridge. Hopefully it’ll be posted of the circuits’ website soon.

      * For those who have never done the PitWalk – Last year the weather was rather soggy but the pitwalk was pretty well attended. I got there about noon which gave me loads of opportunity to check out most of the pits and get some great pics. But by about an hour later it became 15 to 20 deep in front of each pit and it was tough to see anything. I’d suggest getting there early, a quick walk-about and parking yourself in front of your fave’s pit and hoping for your driver to show or at the very least watch the pit crew practising going through their paces. There’s usually an autograph session as well, and it’s the best day to buy your program – no need to lug it around on a race day…

      1. According to the schedule the public pit-lane walk is 9-12 on Thursday.

  30. I received my tickets yesterday (super excited) but I ordered the Metro Pass and it wasn’t with the tickets. Do they ship these separately or did I get screwed?

  31. If someone is interested. I have one ticket for sale in Grand Stand 11 – Section 4 – Row GG – Seat 10. I have the whole package from Fri – Sun. email me if interested at andrewg2@hotmail.com asking face for it.

  32. I noticed while attending the GP last year, when the track was opened to the public immediately following the podium celebration – i recalled seeing folks out on the track with bikes, rollerblades, etc.

    i am staying downtown and am planning to ride my bike into the track each day.

    does anyone know how close you can get on-bike, and when you might likely have to lock it up and leave it behind?

    seeing the folks riding around on track made me think that there might be someway to actually get through the gates with your bicycle? is this true?

    any information?

  33. additionally – might anyone know where i might get some info regarding a “Schedule of events” outside the track.

    ie: “grand prix weekend” celebrations. festivals, specifics, etc.

    seemed to be able to locate a plethora of activities last year – yet for this year (2011) i’ve been unable to do so thus far.

  34. Hey Guys –

    New to this but was looking for info on doing Barcelona and Monaco back to back in 2012… this is a great site!!

    Going to Montreal again from Florida (4th time) Wednesday to Monday and here are some things that may help your experience.

    The hotels in Montreal are expensive but you can really get a great deal if there’s a few of you going and you don’t mind sharing rooms – or even beds. We’re staying at Le Square Phillip Hotel & Suites and we have opted for a Family Suite – 1,000 square feet with a King Bed in a closed bedroom, a Queen Bed in an alcove and a Double Pull-out couch. The room rates are based on 2 to a room and will only charge $15.00 pp per night. Our room rate for the family suite is $399 + tax per night – and there’s 5 of us. The hotel is 4-star and each room has its own full kitchen and refrigerator. For those of you in the UK, the BBC Five Live team stay at this hotel, which is situated downtown in the heart of the Montreal party and one block away from the metro station. As of last week, this hotel still had suites available with a minimum 4-night stay.

    The Track – wear comfortable walking shoes as you will be walking some distance from the metro station. Don’t think of arriving by any other means of transportation than the metro. Roads are gridlocked and the nearest you can get is the casino – getting a taxi from the casino after the race is a good option if you don’t want to walk back to the metro.
    There aren’t restrictions on what you can take in!! Take a backpack cooler, fill it with beers – it gets lighter as the day goes on. Get bottled water too and freeze the bottles in the room as it keeps the beer cold and can be welcoming when you’ve had a few. Buy a “Stadium Seat” – you’ll thank me! The grandstand seats are numbered but are just one long metal bleacher. Even those cushions you buy at the track won’t save your butt. There are plenty of quality lightweight stadium seats on Amazon. Take a personal FM radio – track commentary is broadcast in English. Take sunscreen and a waterproof – the stands aren’t covered unless you’re on the pit straight. Whatever you do, do not settle with a General Admission ticket. This will be the end of the enjoyment of your trip. There is nowhere to get high and see over the catch fences and even if you’re at the front, you will only see a fraction of what you will from a grandstand.

    We have always done stand 12. We did 34 and the Hairpin once during qualifying, but nothing matches stand 12. Stand 12 is located on the first corner and has 6 sections, 1 being at the left of the stand and 6 being at the right. Sections 1, 2 and 3 will get you views down the start/finish line and the entire first corner. Section 4, 5 and 6 will give you views of the cars heading into the first corner but not the start/finish line.

    Get out at night and enjoy the Montreal nightlife. This city has such a heartbeat during GP Weekend – the bars, restaurants, clubs, streets are teaming with people having fun. Live bands in multiple areas of town performing in closed-off streets (for free) and GP Parties going on everywhere. Follow all your GP drivers on Twitter – you’ll get some clues on where the teams are hanging out. Ziggy’s Pub on Crescent is a popular hangout of some F1 teams during the weekend and they have some superb signed memorabilia displayed around the place and is a who’s who of the history of the Canadian Grand Prix.

    Hope this helps a few of you out there! Now for me to find out the stuff on Barcelona and Monaco. Enjoy Montreal.

  35. … regarding the above, I meant to say that the hotel charges $15 pp per night for each additional guest in the room.

    Here’s the link for the “Open House” for Thursday at the track – Free entry.
    Here’s the link for the “Grand Evening” – very expensive but may be a good place to be near if you want to do some team principle / driver spotting on Thursday night.

  36. I can now answer my own question above, the Metro pass came over the weekend so they are shipped separately.

  37. I am attending my first grand prix next weekend and am looking for some advice. I have a ticket in grandstand 33 but was wondering what else the grandstand tickets gives me access to. Can I go into GA areas on Friday /Saturday / non F1 session times so I can see the track from other areas. Aside from what to bring to the track (thanks for talking about that in other posts) what other track activities / displays are not to be missed.

    Thanks in advance!

    10 days to go!

  38. Roy –

    You should be able to get to the hairpin area with your 33 grandstand ticket (and probably get a seat in the stands on Friday and Saturday) but it’ll be difficult for you to get to the Senna Curve as there’s an additional checkpoint before you get to the bridge. They were even checking tickets here after Saturday qualifying last year. The Budweiser Stage always has a lot going on with bands and free merchandise giveaways.
    Here is a LINK to all the on-track action all weekend.
    Here’s a LINK to the downtown festivities on Crescent.

    1. You won’t be able to get into other stands. There is security on every stand entry and the stands are generally fairly full all three days so there are no roving ticket days. GA will be open to you all weekend. You won’t find too many good viewing spots but you might be able to find some places to watch that have a bit of shade which is always welcome after a day in roofless stands.
      For extra activities the support races have their pits past the hairpin behind stand 15. Its a good place to get to talk to some racers and get some close up photos especially of old F1 cars

  39. I have a 3-day ticket up for grabs if anyone wants it at face value – Grandstand 12, section 4, row SS, seat 15 (Senna Curve 1st corner). One of our party has had to cancel – this is a great stand in which to see the race.

    Message me at archer.neil@yahoo.com if you’re interested.
    We arrive in Montreal Wednesday.


  40. If there is no roaming would anyone be up for swapping 2 saturday tickets to mix up the views a bit? Being in the same stand for 3 days sounds a bit much.

    We are in 31

    1. Drop me an email if you want to swap for Friday or Saturday sessions. Thestig84@googlemail.com
      We are in Montreal from Monday

  41. Does anyone have suggestions as to where to temporarily store my luggage for a few hours?

    We’re arriving Thursday morning around 7am, but will have to lug all our luggage around until we can check in to our vacation rental in the pm (if we did a hotel, we could have them store our luggage but we’re doing a vacation rental and they don’t meet us until Thursday afternoon).

    Really want to check out the Pit Walk / Open House, but will be impossible to do so with our luggage.


  42. hey i am going to the gp this year and i have been a couple times before with my father and the hairpin is a great place to see the race and is especially fun during the support races. because of all the passing and bumping around.

    my question is, anyone who have been there before remeber what the company that rents those portable tvs called?


    1. Kangaroo tv or kangaroo something

  43. Could anyone advise on the best approach to General Admission on Sunday? Yes, I’ve read the posts from previous years/discussions proclaiming the dismal views, etc. But we’re stuck with GA, so we want to make the best of it!! The ticket info claims GA is, among other places, behind Grandstand 34. I’d love to hear from anyone who has been in that location before. Which side of the track can you see from there? With the first DRS zone starting after Turn 11, I’m wondering if this might be a good spot to see overtaking. Any advice on this or any other GA area would be hugely appreciated!!

    1. databuzz (@)
      9th June 2011, 3:05

      There are several good GA areas that are close to the action. The area behind GS34 is very good. You can get very close to the track at many places. The promoter just makes sure you can’t see any of the Jumbo Screens from any of them. If its hot and sunny, then the area behind GS31 has some trees to sit under. Unfortunately, on race day you’ll have to get there early (7AM) to claim a good GA spot.

  44. Mark from Seattle
    6th June 2011, 2:29

    My first time in Montreal this year. A person I know posted this tid bit on another forum: during a practice session walk over to the bridge that lets you in to the paddock. Mind you, they’ll stomp your balls off if you try to cross the bridge, but it puts you right next to the fence and from there you can see the cars blow by at full song as they approach the “corner of champions.” That’s one place where I took off the ear plugs for a little while for the full mind bending effect.

  45. I just figured out last week that there are no KTV/Fanvision kiosks at the venue this year. I was unfortunately also too late for shipment.

    Oh well, always next year! Sounds like good weather all weekend anyway.

    1. There is no fanvision kiosk but they are selling them from a clothing kiosk. If you enter the track by the bridge close to the biosphere turn right and the clothing stand after the redbull stand on your right is selling them. You can buy them for $350 or rent one for the weekend for $75 if my memory is right

  46. Anyone want to swap their Saturday tickets with mine? I have Grandstand 1, section 1, Row CC and would like to mix it up a bit over the weekend.


    1. Hi Mark,

      I would be interested in doing that for a bit on Saturday. I have a ticket in grandstand 33. Row P. send me a message if you are interested and we can meet up.


      1. Thanks Roy, I would want to swap 2 tix for 2 tix ideally. Email me your contact info at headingley81@hotmail.com if you are interested. I’ve never been in 33 – I’ve heard it’s a good view.

  47. whats everyone thinking re: the forecast for montreal this weekend?

    rain on sat/sun? any locales have insight as to whether or not this forecast will hold?

    whilst the rain will make for an interesting afternoon, i’d rather stay dry as a spectator… ;)

    1. The forecasts at this time of year are usually a bit shaky. Today they were spot on and yesterday they were close but the day before they were way wrong. I would trust the forecast for tomorrow but I wouldn’t be surprised if the forecast for Saturday and Sunday change. But whether that means less rain or more rain I have no idea.
      Sitting in open stands in the rain isn’t much fun. I have done it here for a Cart race and one Nascar race but not for a Grand Prix yet. At least you can keep your beer cold for longer.

  48. Returned from my first GP and I’d just like to share some thoughts. I had built this up in my mind for so long that I thought I was setting myself up for disappointment but it was even better than I thought it would be, totally awesome. For an event this size I really couldn’t believe how well organized it was. I was in in GS34 and I thought it was the best bronze GS by far and I walked to the others: 33 was OK but it is relatively isolated, 31 was a bit boring I thought and 22 was just terrible, your view is either blocked by trees or GS34 or both. I was in row V which is 5 from the top and I had a great panoramic view of the entire hairpin as well as the Biosphere, La Ronde and the river with all of the ships going by. I can see why this is the first bronze section to sell out every year. I didn’t end up walking all the way to the GSs near the start/finish or Senna curve but keep in mind that the walk there from the train must be 2 miles since you’re taking winding paths through the island. I thought the food was expensive and not very varied but similar to any stadium or amusement park I’ve ever visited. Merchandise was expensive but I expected that too. Event t-shirts were $30. I was a bit shocked at how expensive the team merchandise was a team Mclaren/Red Bull etc t-shirt was $60 and the small die cast cars started at $80. I brought earplugs but never used them. I love the sound and it really wasn’t that loud. Not nearly as loud as an indoor arena concert. Another thing that sort of shocked me is that there were several events both days (Formula 1600, Ferrari Challenge, Historic GP cars and Porsche GT3) and at least half of the crowd didn’t seem to care. Most people left after the F1 Q3 and didn’t show up on Sunday until 12 or 12:30. I guess I’m someone who wants to get the most bang for his buck, I watched everything and thought all of the racing was very exciting including several spins on Sunday morning in the wet. I also cheaped out and stayed outside of the city in Boucherville for less than half the price of the cheapest hotel in the city and took the train from Longueuil station (10 minute drive) which was very easy. I would rate the overall experience a 9 out of 10 and wouldn’t hesitate to go back although I’m considering either Austin or Barcelona next year.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Michael.

      Someone else at the track mentioned there was a lot of booing when the safety car stayed out so long after the race suspension – did you hear (or voice!) any of this?


  49. Great to hear you enjoyed it – thanks for posting your thoughts.

  50. I have to confess I left after about 60 minutes of red flag. I had to get back to drive back to Boston.

    1. Bugger, talk about making the wrong desicion! Long drive though.

  51. We really surprised to see so many people leaving! Shame you missed an epic.

    Michael – I have to disagree with you comments on GS 31. Apart from constant action in the form of drivers getting crossed up and cutting the grass we saw: Leader Vettel go off, Di resta come within inches of the barrier, Kobi’s off that lead to the Schumacher double pass, The beginning of Massa incident with the HRT, Heildfeld pass Massa, a few Button overtakes, Di Resta pulling off with 3 wheels I could go on. GS 21 did look good but I cant remember much action at the hairpin compared to what we saw.

    Keith on the safety car we didnt really hear booing but there was general discontent with the amount of time it spent out especially as our area looked really quite dry. The were big cheers when it came in. There was general discontent about the SC start too. OTT in my opinion.

    I would do a proper write up but am still on my hols so a bit busy. Ill try and do one when Im back.

  52. We were in grandstand 12 at turn two and I have to say that the booing came from grandstand 11 and 12. Most of us were up on our feet with our thumbs down around lap 3 of the restart after the 2 hour red flag period. It was disappointing to have the race start behind the safety car and then have it come out again until lap 25 until th race was stopped. I think most of us were expecting 70 laps behind the safety car when we could see that the track was certainly safe enough to have a race. The cheers were deafening when we saw the message on screen that the safety car was coming in. What a thrilling race it was in the end. Sorry that some people decided to leave. They really missed a thrilling race.

  53. Just got home from my first Grand Prix. A long 14 hr drive back to NS has given me to the chance to compose my thoughts on the weekend.

    Overall organization: Excellent
    I had never been to Montreal so was a little worried about how busy the metro was going to be, I was impressed at how well it was run, getting to the track and back was a breeze. I never waited more than 2 trains, even after the race!

    Thanks to comments on this forum, we left a day earlier than planned and arrived in Montreal Thursday morning to take advantage of the pit walk. My wife and I both enjoyed the atmosphere at the track and seeing some of the cars up close. Using my T3 camera and a telephoto lens I have some very detailed shots of some of the cars.

    I won’t comment on the food at the track except to say that it was as expensive as you would expect. I planned ahead and brought things with me, a snack and hydration pack in my backback was all I needed (ok, i did break down and by a warm drink during the red flag in sunday, but to be fair the wind and rain were cold)

    I pretty much hung out at the track all three days. I had a great time watching the support race activities and exploring the track. I watched practice sessions from various points on the track and shot some great pics and videos including some locked wheels in the hairpin and great passing maneuverers down in turns 5,6 and 7 on race day.

    I broke down and bought a seat in 33. I am glad I did. The view from of turns 5, 6, and 7 are great and as it turned out was action packed on Sunday from a fox darting out in front of the safety car, to the Shumacher pass and of course Buttons last lap pass – that was a great moment – all of which made up for the 2 hr delay – sorry so many people left, it was a great race.

    I found everyone at the track very helpful and friendly. I enjoyed chatting with people from all over North America as we waited out the rain under the cover of a park pavilion.

    Thanks to everyone who gave advice to people leading up to the race weekend. Your info made the weekend that much better.

    Look forward to attending another race soon, maybe an overseas race?

  54. This discussion page is closed. If you want to discuss going to the Canadian Grand Prix please go to the new discussion forum here: Going to the Canadian Grand Prix

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