During the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, it became apparent that parts of the track on Ile Notre-Dame were deteriating as the race progressed. Several drivers suffered at the loss of grip that occurs immediately off-line and the issue has repeated itself during yesterday’s qualifying. The hairpin is the most affected area of the track, but other corners are also showing signs of breaking up. Circuit bosses have instructed the hairpin to be resurfaced for this afternoon’s race.
Many drivers have complained that as soon as they leave the usual racing line around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, they run a very high risk of putting the car in the barriers. This is mostly to do with the rubber from the tyres collecting at the outer edges of the circuit and forming small balls, or marbles. However, it seems that the problem has been made even worse with the actual surface breaking up.
Part of the reason why the track is falling apart is down to the climate of Montreal; the area experiences freezing winters and hot summers. This dramatic change in temperature doesn’t help the tarmac and several measures have been put in place to prevent it from happening. However, according to the race’s executive vice president Francois Dumontier, the “technological evolution” of the cars and the tyres has exacerbated the situation.
This year we chose a new specialist to settle the issue, but obviously conditions related to the technological evolution of the race cars do create some problems.
Aggressive adhesion of grooved tyres, removal of traction control systems and the actual physical configuration of the hairpin corner itself could all be probable causes for this situation.
We will correct this problem as soon as the last car leaves the track today, and everything will be rectified for tomorrow’s races. Francois Dumontier.
If the surface starts to break up again during the 70-lap race later today, we could be seeing a fair amount of the safety car and a fair amount of cars in the barriers. For the future of the Canadian Grand Prix, the circuit owners need to fix the problem before it becomes a serious embarrassment.