Canadian Grand Prix Preview: D-Day For Red Bull

The Monaco Grand Prix has come and gone and what a race it provided. Rain, incidents galore and a botched pit-stop from Red Bull that left Daniel Ricciardo in a huff and Hamilton on the top step of the podium. But attention now turns to the Canadian Grand Prix and specifically the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Canadian Grand Prix Preview: D-Day For Red Bull

Located in the city of Montreal, this 4.3 km circuit is a blend of long straights and tight chicanes with a hairpin thrown in for good measure. No doubt the highlight of the track however is the infamous “Wall of Champions”. Located on the exit of the final chicane, this concrete wall has claimed the scalps of even the most decorated champions including German duo Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Overtaking is very possible with a long Casino straight providing the best chance to get moves done. Fuel consumption is relatively tight around the circuit with Fernando Alonso notably complaining about the amount of lifting and coasting he had to undertake in last years race.

Red Bull head into the race following their pit-stop calamity in Monte Carlo that cost Australian Daniel Ricciardo his first win of the season. With the Red Bull chassis mostly responsible for the strong Monaco showing, the Milton Keynes outfit will be keen to see if their upgraded Renault engine has put them ahead of Ferrari and closer to Mercedes. With both Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen packing the updated engine, we should get a clear indication on the power hungry Montreal circuit just where Red Bull lie.

However, Red Bull won’t be the only ones hoping for a successful upgrade package. Indeed, Maranello outfit Ferrari will bring a turbo upgrade to Canada. Conflicting reports have debated if only Vettel or both Ferrari drivers will receive the update while both Vettel and Raikkonen will receive a new rear suspension package. This has been done with the hope of increasing the SF16-H’s mechanical grip- something they have struggled with all season. The turbo upgrade on the Ferrari engine should also provide a slight power boost with the Scuderia hoping to move closer to Mercedes and keep Red Bull behind.

Mercedes themselves have brought no new upgrades to Canada. Following Hamilton’s gutsy drive in Monaco he will no doubt be full of confidence as he aims to hunt down championship leader Nico Rosberg. None the less, the silver arrows will no doubt be worried of the progress of Ferrari and, in particular, Red Bull, in what promises to be a fascinating weekend, not just in the battle for first.

Mclaren will bring a new ExxonMobil fuel to Canada which is said to be relatively unique to the rest of the field’s. Reports have also suggested Mclaren will bring as engine upgrade to Montreal however, that has not yet come to pass. Mclaren may find it difficult to compete with the likes of Williams and Force India due to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s long straights, with Mclaren’s Honda engine still at the back of the pack. Toro Rosso may also find the going tough due to their dated 2015 Ferrari engine. If they are not careful Carlos Sainz and Danil Kvyat, who already has a 3 place grid penalty, may find themselves well down the order.

Back-markers Manor could be in for a good result around Canada. Their Mercedes power unit is still the top dog and could drive them to a midfield and even points finish should luck be on their side. Renault will also be hoping that their engine upgrade sees them improve while it is very likely Sauber may bring up the rear amidst their financial woes. Haas seem to lie in no-mans land but with the relatively strong Ferrari engine in the back Grosjean and Gutierrez could well trouble the points positions.

Tyre selection is arguably not that important for Canada with a one stop still very much possible using the ultra-soft and soft tyres Pirelli has brought to Canada. Interestingly however some teams have opted to bring no super-soft tyres with them.

With the potential prospect of a three team fight for first and six previous winners of the race in the field, the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix promises to be an exciting one.
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