Canadian Grand Prix Preview
Robert Kubica: "I think the car will be strong in Canada"
Robert, аyouааcontinued аyour аrun аof аpoints аfinishes аin аTurkey. аWere аyou аhappy аwith аthe
performance of the car?
It was a good race and I enjoyed driving the car. We had some balance issues in practice, but I
had a much better feeling with the car during the race. The only disappointment was that we didn't
get аahead аof Mercedes because we are still missing a couple of tenths in order to beat them in
qualifying. Right now we have to get everything perfect to jump ahead of them, but I think our race
pace is quite similar, maybe even quicker, so it's important we close the gap. We have some more
updates coming along in the next few races, which I hope will give us a chance to do that.
Are you looking forward to going back to Canada?
I'm glad that after a year's break we are returning to Montreal. I enjoy driving there and I like the
characteristics of the track. It's kind of a mix between a high and low-speed track because there
are big braking zones and some long straights where top speed is important. We haven't been to a
track аwith аthese аcharacteristics аyet, аso аwe аwill аhave аto аwait аand аsee аhow аall аthe аteams аperform
there. аAlso, аbecause аit's аnot аa аpermanent аtrack, аthe аgrip аlevel аchanges аquite аquickly аduring аthe
weekend and you can push more with each lap, which always feels nice.
What are realistic expectations for the weekend?
I think the car should work well in Montreal so I'm quite confident we can go there and get a strong
result. I'll be aiming to score good points, as we have done all season, which is very important for
our position in the championship. It would be great if we could repeat the performance we showed
in Monaco and fight for the podium, but if it's not possible I will simply concentrate on getting the
maximum from the car and bringing home as many points as I can.
Vitaly Petrov: "It was good experience to race with the top teams"
Vitaly, looking back to Turkey, you came very close to scoring points. Sum up your feelings
after such a promising performance
I аhave аmixed аfeelings аabout аTurkey аbecause аeven аthough аit аwas аa аgood аrace аfor аme, аI аwas
disappointed to end up without any points.аAll the way through the weekend I was consistent and
felt comfortable with the car. In qualifying I made it into Q3 for the first time, which was my target
and this was an important step for me. Then, in the race, everything was going perfectly until the
incident with Alonso, which caused the puncture.
Did it feel satisfying to race on terms with the Ferraris?
Of аcourse, аbut аit аwould аhave аbeen аeven аmore аsatisfying аto аfinish аin аthe аpoints. аThe аcar аfelt аvery
good in the race and I was able to keep pace with the cars around me, especially Massa who I
was pushing hard for most of the race. All the cars in the train were very close and it was good
experience for me to race with the top teams.
Are you looking forward to the next race in Montreal?
It will be a totally new experience for me because I have never been to Canada before. So it's a
new аcountry аand аa аnew аtrack аfor аme аto аdiscover. аI've аbeen аtold аthat аthere аis аalways аa аgood
atmosphere аin аthe аcity аand аthat аthe аpublic аreally аsupport аthe аrace аso аI'm аlooking аforward аto
What are your expectations for the race?
First of all I just want to get there and see how things go in practice before I start setting myself
targets. I need to get a feel for the car and learn the track so that is the priority. It's a track with lots
of big braking zones and chicanes, so I think it will suit the R30 because our car is easy to drive
and аis аgood аat аjumping аover аthe аkerbs. аI аwill аbe аtargeting аthe аtop аten аin аqualifying аand аwe'll аsee
what happens in the race.
James Allison: "We're creeping forward race by race"
James, it was another strong showing from the team in Turkey and more points for Robert.
Were you satisfied with the team's performance?
It аwas obviously very encouraging to have both cars qualify in the top ten and to see them both
perform аwell аin аthe аrace. аBut аit аwas аfrustrating аto аsee аboth аour аdrivers аpenned аin аfor аthe аwhole
afternoon behind the Mercedes and it would have been interesting to see their speed in clean air.
In аthe аend аwe аnarrowly аmissed аout аon аgetting аboth аcars аin the points, but on the whole it was a
pretty satisfying weekend.
Talking of the battle with Mercedes, you must be pleased at how the team has closed the
gap compared to the start of the season?
We аstarted аthe аyear аa аreasonable аamount аbehind аMercedes аand аwe've аgradually аbeen аhunting
them down. Robert was ahead of both Mercedes for the first time in Monaco, but it's not a typical
track, so it was encouraging to see us breathing down their necks at Istanbul Park. It confirms the
progress we've made to get on terms with them and if we can maintain our current development
rate, I'm confident we can move ahead of them soon.
Robert continues to show amazing consistency this year. It must feel great to have such a
I don't think Robert has made a singleаsignificant mistake so far this year. He's locked up the odd
wheel here and there, but during the races he has been pretty much faultless. Having a driver who
can maintain a very fast and consistent pace is just what any team needs and it's something we're
very happy about.
Vitaly delivered a very mature drive in Turkey, although he just missed out on points. Are
you happy with how he is developing as an F1 driver?
Vitaly's аperformance аin аTurkey аshowed аus аwhat аhe аis аcapable аof. аHe аwas аon аthe аpace аfrom аthe
opening аlaps аin аfree аpractice аand аhe аmaintained аthat аall аthe аway аthrough аthe аweekend. аHe
managed аto аkeep аRobert аpretty аhonest аduring аthe аrace аand аhe аcan аbe аvery аproud аof аhis
We often talk about the effort going on back in Enstone, but can you give us an idea of just
how busy it is from day to day?
It's absolutely flat out all the time. Over the last few months it has been every bit as busy as the
most intense period of the new car build during the winter.аAnd that intensity will continue for the
rest of the year. This workload is felt at all levels in the team: the factory take up the continuous,
unrelenting pressure of delivering the new parts, and the race team then shoulder the burden of
fitting them at the circuit and ensuring that we get the most from them in the races. It's tiring work
for all concerned and we don't underestimate how much we're asking from people, but the rewards
come from seeing the fruits of all our labour on the track as we creep forward race by race.
Looking ahead to Montreal, how do you expect the R30 to perform there?
I аthink аwe аwill аbe in reasonable shape. There are aspects of the track that will suit us very well.
Most аof аthe аcorners аare аlow аspeed аand аyou аneed аto аbe аable аto аhammer аacross аthe аkerbs аquite
aggressively, аwhich аis аsomething аthe аR30 аis аgood аat. аThe аcircuit аis аalso аvery аdemanding аon аthe
brakes, but we are confident that we will be able to attack the circuit even on the very heavy fuel
loads that are run in 2010. We will have further updates to the car and I would hope that we can
take another step forward in Canada.
Robert Kubica's guide to Montreal
Montreal is one of my favourite tracks and I'm really happy that after a year's break it's back on the
calendar. There's always a big atmosphere and it's a great event for the fans.
The аcircuit аis аvery аstop-start аwith аlots аof аheavy аbraking аand аbumps, аand аbecause аit's аnot аa
permanent track, the grip builds up throughout the weekend and you can push more and more with
every аlap. аThe аwalls аare аalso аvery аclose аto аthe track so there's little room for error, but I always
enjoy these circuit characteristics. For the set-up you have to concentrate on braking stability and
traction, plus the car has to be easy to drive because there are so many bumps.
Although аI аhad аa аbig аaccident аthere аin а2007, аI аnever аthink аabout аit аand аI'm аnot аconcerned аabout
going back to Montreal. In fact I won the last race there in 2008 so I'm going back as a winner. I
have a good feeling about the track and I'm hoping that the R30 will be competitive. Realistically it
might be difficult to get the win, but you never knowЕ
Turn one is a corner where you brake as you are already turning into turn two. You can attack the
inside quite hard, depending on your car balance, but it's important to get a proper line into turn
two, which is an annoying hairpin that is quite long and opens up on the exit. You get round the
apex аearly аand аare аsoon аon аthe power for the approach to the first chicane, which is one of the
nicest corners of the lap.
Turns three and four feel great in an F1 car. You take the corner at about 155km/h and you can
gain a lot of lap time by jumping over the kerbs, but when you do that, the kerbs unbalance your
car, so you have to make sure that you land in the proper direction. The wall comes very close on
the exit and if you can scrape it by millimetres then you will be 0.2secs quicker than if you miss it
by two feet. You get a sense of how close it is, but you can't get too close because F1 cars are
quite fragile if you make contact.
Turns eight and nine make up another chicane, but even though it looks like a chicane, it's actually
just a one apex corner. You need to get a good exit out of there because it leads into the hairpin,
which is the only real overtaking opportunity on the track. The hairpin is the slowest part of the lap
and we've had problems with the track surface breaking up there in the past. If you take a 'V' line,
by аsacrificing аyour аentry, аyou аcan аget аa аgood аexit аand аthat's аimportant аto аensure аyou аget аgood
traction leading onto the long straight afterwards.
The аCircuit аGilles Villeneuve in Montreal is one of the most unusual circuits on the F1 calendar.
With a mix of long straights and low-speed chicanes hemmed in by unforgiving concrete walls, it's
a bit like combining Monaco with Monza and therefore poses some unique challenges for car set-
In terms of aero, Montreal will see the cars running with the lowest levels of downforce so far this
year. а"It's аonly аMonza аwhere аwe аwill аrun аless аdownforce," аconfirms аVitaly's аrace аengineer аMark
Slade. а"We аwill аtherefore аbring аdifferent аwings аthat аhaven't аbeen аused аbefore аto аensure аgood
straight-line speed. That will give the car quite a different feel and the drivers will need to adjust to
Because аthose аlong аstraights аare аfollowed аby аlow-speed аchicanes аand аhairpins, аthe аbrakes аcan
expect a punishing workload this weekend. "Montreal is by far the toughest circuit on the calendar
for аthe аbrakes аwith а16% аof аthe аlap аspent аon аthe аbrakes, аwhich аcompares аto а12% аat аMonza,"
continues Mark. "There are four big stops where the drivers are braking from over 300 km/h plus
down аto аaround а120 аkm/h, аwhich аputs аenormous аenergy levels through the braking system. And
because it's such a short lap, we're doing those five big stops for 70 laps during the race."
With аcars аstarting аthe аrace аfuelled аto аthe аbrim, the demands on the brakes will be even tougher
than аin аprevious аyears. аCompared аwith аthe аlast аCanadian аGrand аPrix аin а2008, аwe аcan аexpect
around 10% more energy going through the braking system.
The low downforce package means the braking contribution caused by aerodynamic drag will be
reduced, аputting аeven аmore аburden аon аthe аbrake аsystem. а"The аdiscs аsee аvery аhigh аpeak
temperatures for much longer than usual in Montreal," says Mark. "We therefore need to keep a
close аeye аon аthe аwear аand аtemperature аsensors, аwhich аlet аus аknow аif аwe're аgetting аmarginal аon
brake wear because it's not something the driver can feel in the car."
The аideal аMontreal аset-up аalso аdemands аgood аtraction аand аa аcar аthat аcan аcope аwith аthe аbumpy
track surface. "If the car is bouncing through the air then you're losing grip," continues Mark, "so
the focus is on trying to keep the wheels in contact with the ground by softening up the suspension
to improve ride over the bumps. Running softer suspension also gives the drivers good mechanical
grip through the chicanes where it's important to be aggressive because there's a lot of lap time to
In terms of traction out of the low-speed corners, the teams will be keen to avoid high levels of rear
tyre degradation. "To ensure good traction we might compromise mid-corner performance of the
car аin аorder аto аhave аbetter аtraction аand аprotect аthe аrear аtyres," аconcludes аMark. а"This аalmost
inevitably causes more understeer on corner turn-in, but it's about making the right compromise for
a set-up that will work for the whole race."
Driver аconfidence аaround аMontreal аshould not be underestimated either, and kissing the walls is
just as important for finding those final few tenths as it is in Monaco. "The walls are very close on
the аexit аof аthe аchicanes, аespecially аturn аfour," аconfirms аRobert аKubica. а"If аyou аcan аscrape аit аby
millimetres you will be two tenths quicker than if you miss it by two feet."