F1 drivers in 2013 aren’t burning rubber so much as burning through rubber, and the super tight turns and sharp chicanes of Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve are virtually certain to add a chapter to the controversial tale of the tires at this year’s Canadian Grand Prix…
For the 2013 season, Italian tire maker Pirelli – responsible for supplying all F1 wheel-wear since 2011 – did what would be unthinkable for a maker of regular street tires: they made them softer so they’d fall apart faster. Rapidly degrading tires make for more exciting racing as the quick decline in performance enables more passing and requires more pit stops. (Which not all of F1’s 22 drivers are thrilled about since it impedes their ability to hold a lead.) Pirelli says the tires are tailor-made for twisty tracks like the 4.361 km Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, which means the hundreds of thousands of elite racing fans who attend the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal (taking place this year on June 7-9) will be in for a show.
The show, of course, won’t be limited to the blacktop. Numerous celebratory events take place across the city, beginning with the annual three-day Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival. On June 6-8, from 11 am to 11 pm, a blocked-off Crescent Street will be flooded with race fans taking in bands and DJs and other live entertainment. F1 driver autograph sessions and the Pit Stop Challenge (see how fast you can change a tire, pit crew style) are prominent features of this popular – and free – outdoor party.
Less free, but certainly no less fun, is the third edition of The Grand Evening on June 6, a benefit gala established by the Canadian Grand Prix. Tickets are a grand a head, or $25,000 for a table for you, seven of your friends and a bona fide F1 driver. All proceeds from the black-tie formal will be donated to the Canadian Olympic Foundation and to the Fondation de l’Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal.
For those who want to mingle with the jet set while enjoying a more Montreal neighbourhood–type vibe, Grand Prix on the Main might be just your cup of authenticity. Upscale eateries, buttoned-down pubs, and trend-setting restos and bars line the sides of Montreal’s renowned Saint-Laurent Boulevard (known to locals as The Main), which will be closed to traffic from June 6-9 to allow for street patios and a lively range of top-shelf entertainment that’ll smoke your tires.
Canadian Grand Prix, June 7-9, 2013