After a brief cycle of races in Europe, here we are again on another long intercontinental voyage, this time heading West. The Montreal race is one of the most popular with the drivers and the teams: the city is very welcoming and the people are very interested in Formula 1, to the extent that the grandstands are already busy on Friday.
I arrived yesterday evening and this afternoon I popped down to the track to meet up with the team. I found that the boys were in good spirits, wanting to demonstrate here that Monte Carlo wasn’t a flash in the pan. There is promise that it can happen. Even though it has some very fast stretches, the Canadian track suits cars which can jump over the kerbs without losing too much balance and cars that have good traction on the exits of the slow corners. Those are both characteristics that are among the strong points of the 150° Italia.
Here aerodynamic efficiency, which is our Achilles Heel at the moment, is less important and so we think we can have more chance to fight for the top places. Brakes are another fundamental factor on this circuit: we will need to work hard during free practice to understand the correct level of cooling in order to avoid the risk of problems in the race.
In Montreal we will again have the two soft tyre compounds prepared by Pirelli: the Soft and the Supersoft. Last year this was one of the few races in which we saw more pit stops than the traditional one-stop because the degradation of the tyres is quite high. Even though the Pirellis are different to the Bridgestones, I don’t think we will see anyone manage to get to the end of the race with only one tyre change, as we saw in Monaco. As we have seen this year, it will be important to pick the right moment for the pit stop so as not to lose too much time compared to your direct rivals.
For the first time this year we will have two places where it will be possible to use the DRS on Sunday: the first is after the apex of Turn 10, the second on the pit straight. I’m interested to see what will happen: on paper whoever manages to pass in the first zone will then have a big advantage because they will be able to use the movable wing again on the main straight, even though they are ahead of the car they are battling.
Last year I managed to make the podium but we left Montreal with a definite sensation of having deserved more than our eventual third place. There were a couple of episodes that didn’t go well for us that prevented us from picking up the win that was within our reach. We also had the chance to win at Monaco ten days ago and it would have been good to have won there because wins have now eluded us for too long. It remains very difficult because I expect McLaren and Red Bull to be very strong but we must not count anything out.
The second third of the season is starting and the situation in the championship is far from favourable. It’s true that there are still many races to go but it’s clear that we must try to find a catalyst for this title chase in terms of points. We hope to start straightaway, on a track that carries the name of one of the drivers who is most loved by Ferrari’s tifosi: Gilles Villeneuve.