The Canadian Grand Prix has long been a fan favourite thanks to its beautiful setting and its habit for producing terrific racing. The combination of flatout blasts with slow chicanes, and one tight hairpin, creates a lot of overtaking places even for a modern Formula 1 car.
The famous Wall of Champions sits waiting to claim another victim on the exit of the final corner, but that isn’t the only close wall that can cause damage if you venture off-line. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a frequent pick for online racing thanks to these characteristics so having a dedicated setup for this track is absolutely vital.
Here is our Canadian Grand Prix setup guide.
This is more wing angle than you would think for a circuit that is dominated by a long back straight. However, this 4-6 setting allows you to carry much more speed though the corners and also brake a little later than others into turn 1 and the turn 10 hairpin, making overtaking a little better too. You aren’t losing too much time down the back straights, especially if you are doing your career mode with a Mercedes or a Ferrari power unit. Overall this aero setting provides more stability and the ability to carry momentum around the lap in a much cleaner way.
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This part of the setup is about how we deliver power through the rear wheels and into the tarmac. Canada is rear-limited with tyres, which means it is your rear tyres that wear out fastest rather than any front tyre. This means we need to be a bit more protective of the rear tyres with our transmission settings, otherwise we’ll be struggling for traction out of the slow corners during the race and vulnerable to an overtake down the straights.
The 50% on-throttle differential allows us to get on the power a bit earlier while not ripping up the tyre when we accelerate on a kerb, while the 75% off-throttle allows the outside wheel to roll a little more through the corner and not get dragged along the tarmac.
Because this circuit is so kind on the front tyres we can really extract performance from them with our camber and toe settings and produce even more performance in the corners. Our camber settings of -2.70, -1.20 allows us to lean on the outside tyre during cornering and carry pace at places we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. The added rear camber also increases rear contact patch during cornering, adding to our drive through the corners.
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Toe is set to 0.07, 0.26. This reduces resistance in a straight line, and while it also reduces responsiveness on turn-in and stability on acceleration, the additional downforce we have makes up for that.
This is a vital part of the setup as it establishes the stiffness of the car and how weight transfers during braking, acceleration, and cornering. As a semi-street circuit there are some bumps around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and we also have to ride some kerbs to maximise corner angle. That means a nice, soft suspension setting is beneficial so we have gone with a 2-2 setting to allow weight to go back during acceleration and aid traction a bit more.
The anti-roll bars are set pretty stiff here to allow us to change direction quickly during the tight chicanes. The 9-6 setting lets the rear roll a little more than the front, getting that outside-rear tyre down and letting it push the car forward while the front stays sharp and responsive when you turn the wheel.
Stopping is crucial here. Speed quickly builds but there are several big stopping zones and if you don’t have high brake pressure then you will find passing and defending tough. We have gone with a 90% brake pressure but this is based on using the ABS assist. If you don’t have that then you’ll need to balance the brake pressure down to around the 82% mark.
Brake bias has been moved rearward to 54%, this takes some of the pressure off the front tyres when stopping and allows them to focus on turning. This does reducing stopping distance a little, but you can adjust it mid-race so if you are looking to make a desperate move on the final lap bump the bias forward a bit.
Tyre pressure can directly affect tyre wear, but also the traction and cornering of the whole setup. In this setup we’ve gone for a 23.4 psi front pressure and a 21.1 psi rear pressure. This provides a more pointy front end and a smaller contact patch on the straights, while the rears have a bigger contact patch to improve traction and also dissipate heat a bit better.
So that’s our Canadian Grand Prix setup. It is not quite what you would expect but it delivers good one-lap pace and consistency in the race. There is not snappy rear or struggle to turn thanks to low aero, and the suspension works to protect the tyres as much as possible while maintaining performance.
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