Formula 1 | Great enthusiasm for the Canadian Grand Prix

“I think there are more people than usual on the subway this morning! », François Dumontier starts Thursday morning with a smile as a crowd of spectators arrive in front of the paddocks of the circuit of Gilles-Villeneuve for the open day.

Posted at 11:58 am

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The press

The Canadian Grand Prix promoter walks down the pit lane to meet the fans, many dressed in the colors of their favorite teams.

“We’re excited, that’s for sure! “, he proposes.

“Since the teams arrived, we’ve heard that comment. We feel it on the field. They are really happy to be back in Montreal. We can hardly wait. »

As it does every year – before the pandemic took its toll on the last two – the Grand Prix draws crowds to Montreal. All stands have reached their maximum height and width capacity. According to Dumontier, the enthusiasm is even greater than in 2019.

First there are two Canadian riders, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi, who will be on the grid. But “the key element,” according to the promoter, “is the series on Netflix”; drive to survive.

“Everyone tells us about it,” he said. It created new followers of F1. There are people I know who didn’t know anything about Formula 1. They weren’t interested. You listened drive to survive and suddenly they became amateurs. »

“And not just in Montreal,” he adds. This is a phenomenon that we see at all Grand Prix. »

The controversial final race of the 2021 season, when the championship was decided on the very last lap, also contributes to this enthusiasm, he believes.

A good show

Montreal has offered excellent on-track performances over the years. The course puts the pilots’ precision to the test and features several straights that invite overtaking. Not to mention the crowd always very engaged.

In the drivers’ standings, the two Red Bulls driven by Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez are currently in first place, followed by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. After two retirements last weekend in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Ferraris are keen to get back on their feet in Montreal, where they have enjoyed massive support from the crowd – a legacy Gilles Villeneuve left behind.

“Montreal has always produced races that we didn’t expect, so I think we’re entitled to expect a race [intéressante]. The Ferraris will dominate, it’s a circuit that’s good for them,” assures François Dumontier.

There were some doubts regarding the presence of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in Montreal earlier this week. After the race last Sunday, the Mercedes driver had difficulties getting out of his racing car due to severe back pain. However, the next day he calmed down and said he was on his way to Canada to join his team.

“Lewis, in 2007 it was his first career win here. […] He said he wouldn’t miss Montreal for the world. I think that [Mercedes] will want to perform well. »

“With the new cars being a bit wider and a bit longer, I can’t wait to see Turns 1 and 2 at the start,” he added.

Without giving too many details, François Dumontier promises that Gilles Villeneuve, who died at the track 40 years ago, will be commemorated.

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