A circuit that is quite a joke? A disaster? A nightmare? That requires motorcross bikes? Regardless of events during yesterday’s qualifying session, the Canadian media has been telling F1 to get over itself this morning.
Take, for instance, an article in the Toronto Sun covering the news that Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal was degrading so rapidly during Q3 that it turned the final session into a kind of high-velocity bingo – every driver taking a different line and hitting a different spot.
The Sun thinks the drivers should be grateful to be racing there at all: “Racing impresario Normand Legault spent $5.5 million to give Circuit Gilles Villeneuve a facelift for the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix this year but all that got him yesterday was a chorus of complaints from the pampered princes of pavement.
“Even pole-sitter and defending race champion Lewis Hamilton, who earlier in the week praised the Canadian circuit for giving him his first F-1 victory in 2007, dumped on the 4.361-kilometre permanent road course.” Read full story here.
We think that translates as “we have rather limited sympathy.” And the Montreal Gazette doesn’t feel much different.
Its story starts like this: “Did you hear that laughter? It was the misery-loves-company mirth of every rim-dented, hubcap-missing, wheel-misaligned Quebec motorist upon hearing Formula One drivers yesterday singing long and loud and in rare harmony – and with very good reason – that Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is an amazing disgrace.
“Skating some and driving some, Lewis Hamilton of McLaren-Mercedes best survived the disintegrating asphalt to snatch pole position for today’s 40th Grand Prix of Canada.”
It does go on to comment that “that this refrain is heard almost annually is embarrassing.
“‘I lost so much time in Turn 10, I couldn’t turn around and went straight on,’ Raikkonen said. ‘We had the car to fight for (pole). We will see how it is going to be in the race and whether it is going to be a nightmare when we do 70 laps and it breaks up after two laps. It is going to be quite interesting.
“‘The problem is black patches. They redo it every year and every year, they break down. It’s been the same the last three, four years. They always promise to fix it and the same happens again. Maybe they should find some other people from somewhere else to fix it.’
“Your words exactly, right, when you hit the same pothole every blasted spring?”
The Toronto Sun does mention an interesting detail that we didn’t know – problems are occurring at the same corner where the NASCAR Nationwide Series had problems last year, at one point forcing officials to stop the race to repair the damaged track.
And the circuit has apparently had some emergency work this morning, so all should be good for the race.
But, as Montreal residents are doubtless saying, at least the F1 and NASCAR drivers only have to put up with this once every 12 months…