Canadian Grand Prix Preview: Ferrari upgrade to challenge Mercedes supremacy?

Canada, Kettle Mag
Written by F1_Charlie

After the thrills and spills in Monaco, it seemed only fitting that Formula 1 headed to another fan favorite for the next scene in what has been quite the season so far. With its high speed chicanes, little run off area and walls right on the edge of the circuit, seeming to just lure the drivers in and of course the dreaded “Wall of Champions” on the outside of the last corner that has claimed the greats of the sport such as Hill, Schumacher, Vettel, Barichello and Button just to name a few, it isn’t hard to see why this event is always one to remember

Victory was snatched away from Lewis Hamilton around the streets of Monaco. The Brit looked to have the race won up until the safety car was deployed after a hefty crash between Romain Grosjean and Max Verstappen. With Hamilton on fresh option tyres trying to carve his way past the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and team-mate, and eventual three-time Monaco winner, Nico Rosberg, it just went to show that in F1, it isn’t over until it is over.

Thankfully for Hamilton, Montreal is one of his strongest circuits. The championship leader has tasted victory around the tricky 2.7 mile circuit on three occasions and it was the scene of his very first Grand Prix win in an incident packed race in 2007.

On that day we saw four safety cars, each time Hamilton would build his gap it was taken away from him, sound familiar? Despite a team error that failed to lift Hamilton’s Monaco curse, the trust between himself and the team remains intact. Despite not winning, he did still end up on the podium and is keen to move on.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is considered a power circuit, on paper it is a track that looks to play into the hands of the Mercedes team and the other teams in the pitlane that they supply, however this weekend they could have a huge fight on their hands in the shape of a pair of Ferrari’s.

Ferrari themselves have used some of their engine developments tokens this weekend, an upgrade that is rumoured to bring up to an extra 25mph, vital extra speed that is needed especially on the long back straight after the famous hairpin. Not only is engine performance vital around the track situated on the man-made island of Île Notre-Dame, but brakes can win or lose you the race. Ferrari are the most successful constructor in terms of victories in Montreal, after Mercedes showing in Monaco that they aren’t immune from mistakes, we could see a prancing horse on the top step of the podium come Sunday for the fourteenth time.

With high temperatures and heavy braking events, looking after and nursing both the front and rear brakes is vital, just ask Hamilton who lost his rear brakes last year and was forced to retire from the race. Canada 2014 is not the only time that Mercedes and Hamilton in particular has run into brake problems, in Bahrain Hamilton’s braking problems almost opened the door for Kimi Raikkonen to take an unexpected victory. Before losing the race due to a poor call by the team, Hamilton was already on the limit in terms of brake temperatures from the get go.



You could say that Monaco was a weekend to forget for Williams. After a pointless weekend, the team are looking to bounce back at a circuit that should play into the strengths of the FW37 and could give Ferrari something to think about. Williams have an upgrade this weekend and an even bigger one coming for the next race in Austria. In recent years Canada has been a happy hunting ground for Williams. Valtteri Bottas was the star of Saturday back in 2013 when he qualified on the second row of the grid in a difficult Williams car. 

Felipe Massa last year was on course for a podium finish until he and Force India’s Sergio Perez had a coming together at the first corner on the final lap, ending the race behind the safety car, a race that was won by Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull for his maiden win.

McLaren are another team in recent years that have enjoyed success in Canada. When you think of the Canadian Grand Prix, 2011 and Jenson Button’s epic win in the rain in what was the longest race in F1 history. After a huge rain delay, a collision with then team-mate Hamilton, even Rihanna appearing in the McLaren garage. The picture above tells the story and proves that anything is possible, but realistically McLaren’s chances of scoring points this weekend are slim.

This weekend could be a struggle for the team due to the lack of power that is coming from the Honda power unit. After Monaco points for Button, Fernando Alonso will be itching to get off the mark after yet another retirement, unfortunately for the Spaniard, the wait for points does not look like it is going to come to an end soon.   

Rain looks to be on the cards come Friday practice which is a headache for the teams who are desperate to get as much set up work done for the race on Sunday, especially when it comes to the low grip surface found in Canada.

We could be on for a surprise win this weekend. Leave your predictions in below.