Rain Affects First Day In Montreal

2024 Canadian Grand Prix Friday Tyre Analysis - Fernando Alonso
2024 Canadian Grand Prix Friday Tyre Analysis - Fernando Alonso

Today’s recently ended track action at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal produced more questions than answers in the build-up to the 53rd Canadian Grand Prix. The main reason was the changing weather conditions that saw rapid switches from sun to rain and even hail. There were about thirty minutes at the start of the second free practice session where it was possible to run consistently with dry weather tyres but before and after that, the rain got in the way.

The quickest time overall was set by Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) in FP2 in 1’15”810, after Lando Norris (McLaren) headed the field in the first session with a time of 1’24”435.

“It was a tricky Friday for the entire field due to the weather with not many laps recorded, particularly in FP1. The conditions meant the track was never fully wet or fully dry but it could be like this in Qualifying and the race so today could provide very useful information for the rest of the weekend.

“If the conditions are the same tomorrow, those that are sharp in Qualifying and make the right decision on tyres could gain a big advantage. It’s going to be interesting for those watching but for us as a team it’ll be about getting the tyre calls right and aiming to make the most of that,” said Alonso.

The track was very wet for the start of the first session, to the extent that the pit lane light was kept on red for the first 21 minutes. Once it turned green, nine drivers used a set of Extreme Wet, although without completing a timed lap. The switch to Intermediates saw a few drivers do a run on the green-banded tyres. However, it was only towards the end, following a five minute stoppage required to remove Guanyu Zhou’s Sauber, which had crashed into the barriers, that slicks were finally viable with all drivers doing a run on the C5, the softest compound available in Montreal.

Initially, the track was considered to be dry at the start of the second session, even though rain had fallen quite heavily in the hour leading up to it and there were even a few drops still falling. All the drivers made the most of it to get in some mileage, most of them – 16 out of 20 – opting for the Soft. The exceptions were the Ferrari and McLaren drivers, who concentrated on the Medium. Then, yet another shower halted the action on track, while towards the end of the session all the drivers, with the exception of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) stuck in the garage with a technical problem, went back out on Intermediates even though the track was drying out at various points.

“Unfortunately FP1 was very affected by the weather and we also did not get many laps out of FP2. There was a suspected electrical issue so the Team told me to box. They are investigating what the issue is in the garage now and I’m sure we will get to the bottom of it. It is not ideal as I would have liked to have driven a few more laps and it is not how I would have liked to have finished the session. But now we just need to understand more about what happened and the implications that it will have for this weekend,” said Verstappen.

Simone Berra – Pirelli Chief Engineer

“It’s very difficult to draw any conclusions from today, which saw the weather alternate between sunshine and showers. Track conditions never got close to optimal, as seen from the fact that lap times on the slicks were a very long way off, around four seconds in fact, of the average simulation times received from the teams prior to this North American trip. That still leaves two main unknown factors, namely how the tyres will suit the new track surface, and so far today we have seen very low levels of grip, so it is logical to expect a marked evolution if the cars can run consistently on a dry track, and secondly the level of graining. We have been able to gather some slightly more solid data on the crossover point from intermediate tyres to slicks, confirmed at around 112% of a dry lap time.

“Clearly, uncertainty surrounding the weather for the rest of the weekend will be a major consideration: for tomorrow, Meteo France is currently saying there is an 80% probability of rain for qualifying, while the figure is lower for the race, but we know that the situation can change rapidly here.”

2024 Canadian Grand Prix – Friday Tyre Analysis

2024 Canadian Grand Prix - Friday Tyre Analysis Graphic

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