Montréal 2012 - GP Preview - Caterham Renault
Heikki Kovalainen: "Montreal is a very cool track. It’s a temporary street circuit with a couple of long straights and low downforce settings and that makes the cars pretty tricky in the faster corners and into the braking areas, but it’s a great track to race on. As with everywhere we race you have to find a good balance to get the best lap times, but you need a setup that means you can really attack the kerbs, particularly in the final corner as you head back to the start /finish line. You also need to make sure you have maximum speed down the back straight, so we’ll look closely at the gear ratios we use and balance seventh gear against the speeds we could be doing with DRS and KERS both engaged.
"Apart from being a great race Montreal is also a really good city as well. All the teams like going there as the fans are passionate, the stands are always full on track and the city itself turns into a party town while we’re there. The Canadian people are brilliant and there’s a special atmosphere all over Montreal, which we only get at a few races we go to so it’s one of the weekends everyone’s up for."
Vitaly Petrov: "I have very good memories of Canada after finishing fifth there last year and I’m really looking forward to getting back to Montreal. Everyone loves racing there - it’s a great city with some really good restaurants, and enough bars to keep everyone who’s not driving happy!
"The track itself is a good challenge from inside the cockpit. It’s very slippery on Friday morning and while the grip does improve over the weekend it’s important to keep the rear tyres in good condition. There a few things to get right for a really quick lap - you need to manage the brake wear and cooling enough to be able to get on the brakes hard every time you need them, you have to have very good traction out of the slower corners and you need to be able to really hit the kerbs hard to save the tenths of a second that add to up to a good time.
"The other thing is the weather. Last year it obviously got so bad we had to stop the race and while that’s not good for the fans it’s much safer for the drivers. Hopefully we won’t have quite so much rain again this year, but if it does we’ll deal with it. I like racing in the wet, it gives us more of a chance to fight a few cars ahead and it’s an even better feeling in the car when you get it right in the wet. Whatever happens it’s always a pleasure to come back to Montreal."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "The Montreal circuit is another fascinating challenge from a technical perspective. As a temporary street-style circuit it is always very green when we start running on Friday but the evolution level is not as high as somewhere like Monaco. The asphalt on the track surface is also very smooth and has very low grip levels so the tyre degradation rate is high throughout the whole weekend. As we have already seen this year, managing tyre wear is the key to both qualifying and the races, so tyre strategy will play an even more crucial role in Montreal than it has all season.
"The other major factor in Canada concerns the brakes. The track has a couple of very long straights with heavy braking zones at the end that lead into tight corners so it is pretty severe in terms of brake wear. We need to make sure we keep optimise the brake cooling every lap and while we do not have a specific brake duct set for Canada, we will be using the larger ones in our range to give us the best chance of managing the brake cooling."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "I am still on a high after the race in Monaco. Moving back into tenth place is important but there are 14 more races to come this season and we are taking nothing for granted. However, Heikki’s 13th place and the battling performance he and the whole team put in is another sign that all the hard work we have put in over the last two and a half years is starting to pay off. Vitaly has not had the best luck in the last couple of races but his hunger, enthusiasm, humour and determination are all evident whenever he is with us so he has everything he needs in his locker to succeed with us long-term.
"I am very realistic about what we have achieved so far, and I know that Monaco is a unique circuit that gave us the sort of opportunity we grabbed last Sunday, but I also know that as we continue through this season we keep making small but significant steps forward. During the Monaco race I had some very good news from the factory about a new update we have planned for Silverstone and to see that come in while we were having our best race of the season was another sign that we are doing this in the right way.
"Next it is Canada, a race the whole team looks forward to and possibly another one where we can spring a surprise. Unfortunately I will not be in Montreal but I will be watching every session and I know everyone wants to build on what we achieved at the last race."