Formula 1 is hot, largely thanks to the raging popularity of Netflix’s Drive to Survive and the charisma of the sport’s characters, like Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris, and foul-mouthed Haas boss Guenther Steiner. So, after a two-year hiatus, this year’s Grand Prix in Montreal will be bigger and better than ever. There’s never been a better time to jump on the F1 bandwagon.
When: June 17—19
What: Canada’s only race on the F1 calendar
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo hybrid Power: More than 1,000 hp Price: Untold millions
What’s New: Everything. For 2022, the “formula” for Formula 1 cars is totally different. Every team is starting fresh. The goal was to design cars that could run closer together, leading to more on-track battles and, ultimately, more entertaining races. So far, the new formula has delivered exactly that.
Name: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
First Grand Prix: 1978
(won by Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, hence the name)
Why Go: Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a favourite of drivers and spectators alike, not just for its high speeds and picturesque surroundings, but because the city shows out for F1 weekend. It’s a boozy three-day party, with people spilling out of bars and restaurants onto closed streets into the wee hours. Even if you don’t care for motorsport, don’t worry, you’re not alone; racing is only part of the entertainment here.
Team Budgets: F1’s budget cap limits teams to “just” $140 million USD ($178 million) this year, but that excludes marketing, staff, and driver salaries.
Driver Salaries: The true numbers are unknown, but multiple reports claim that Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are each being paid around €50 million ($68 million) this year.
Tips from an Insider
Renato De Cubellis, vice-president and general sales manager at McLaren Montréal, on where to go and be seen during Grand Prix weekend:
- Bar Furco and Café Parvis are both amazing eateries and very secluded, making them celebrity favourites. Classic restaurants like Marcus at the Four Seasons, Beatrice, and Joe Beef are still go-to places as well.
- The new hot spots in town are SHAY in Griffintown and Tropikàl in Saint-Henri.
- For amazing views of the city, try the rooftop terraces at the William Gray Hotel in the Old Port, or its sister property, Hotel Nelligan.
- Local dealerships (namely, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and McLaren) make a splash by throwing invite-only events for their best clients.
- Watch for a full list of parties and red-carpet events to be announced ahead of race weekend.
Two Canadians are racing in F1 this season.
Lance Stroll: Born: Montreal, October 29, 1998, Team: Aston Martin
Notes: His father, Lawrence Stroll, owns the Aston Martin F1 team, but at the time of writing, it’s rumoured that Audi may be interested in buying the struggling squad.
Nicholas Latifi: Born: Montreal, June 29, 1995, Team: Williams
Notes: Uncharacteristically for an F1 driver, Latifi had a late start, only beginning to race go-karts as teenager. He never went to his high school prom because he was too busy racing.
The Talking Points
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen have been fighting it out for the champion- ship title in spectacular fashion.
Can Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes stage a comeback? With seven world championships under his belt, Hamilton is facing his toughest season in years.
Gabriel Gélinas — a Montrealer, local hot shoe, and influential car critic — has learned how best to navigate the city during the chaos of Grand Prix weekend:
- Certain VIP ticket packages come with a parking pass, which means it’s a five-minute walk or shuttle ride to your trackside suite instead of a 45-minute walk from the nearest Metro station.
- Helicopters were the best way to get to the Grand Prix. The airspace became so crowded, however, that a temporary flight control tower had to be set up at the circuit.