Montreal and Baku, two turning points

by H. Mayor – photo:

It is still early days but many regard the next dates at Montreal and Baku as possible turning points on the unravelling of the F1 World Championship. These are two courses that require medium to low downforce and where high-speed straight lines and dangerous chicanes coexist with very low-speed bends. A very demanding race for the pilots and their single-sitters that are still undergoing a process of development.

The World Championship lands this weekend in Montreal, one of the most spectacular circuits of the season. The Gilles Villeneuve is a combination of very long straights, ideal for take overs, and very low-speed bends, in sum, a great opportunity for engines, brakes and tyres to demonstrate what they can do and where getting the right balance is going to be key. The biggest challenge at the top: Mercedes arrives with a significant disadvantage with Ferrari accumulated over the first part of the competition and with the full knowledge that their options can be gambled over the next two races.

The tyre problems Mercedes endured in Monaco could get worse here if no solution is found and these two circuits are precisely the kind that could make them even worse.

– “We are working to achieve a more balanced car, something that Ferrari already has”, Valtteri Bottas said a few days ago.

Different challenges

At Red Bull they are also admittedly worried regarding the next two races: “I am a little worried about Canada and Baku, because they are completely different challenges” acknowledged Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing director. “So the next three circuits for us are really tough – Canada/Baku/Austria – they are going to be our biggest challenge of the calendar apart from Monza; if we can perform OK at those next three venues then with what is coming in the pipeline for further in the season the second half of the season for us can be stronger than the first half.”

Besides Montreal, Baku could be another of the great surprises of the season. In its début last year the Azerbaijan circuit displayed and interesting show, very demanding to the engine with its never ending 2 km straight line and its very close bends across the urban stretches. How will the different scuderias tackle these challenges?

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