Montreal must shape up David Coulthard says Formula 1’s powers-that-be must “read the riot act” to the Canadian Grand Prix organisers after the problems with the track surface at last weekend’s event.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve broke up in several corners during Saturday’s qualifying session, forcing track workers to carry out remedial work overnight at the trouble spots.
And although the surface held together well enough to allow Sunday’s 70-lap race to be completed as planned, drivers complained that it deteriorated as the afternoon went on and was treacherously slippery if they strayed even centimetres off-line.
“The track conditions we had to contend with in Montreal were frankly unacceptable,” Coulthard said in his exclusive column for itv.com/f1.Towards the end of the race I was putting two wheels on the grass at the hairpin because if you drove the normal line you would get sucked into the gravel. It was incredible.”
Coulthard had one such anxious moment in the closing stages when he ran wide in turn six, but survived it to score first podium finish in two years.
It was not the first time the Montreal track has broken up, and the Scotsman believes a complete resurfacing is the only answer.
“The problem arose two years ago, last year it was OK and then this year it was worse than ever,” he said.
“I went round the track on Wednesday and there were just patches everywhere.
“It’s shocking, really, that this situation can arise. The organisers need to get on top of it.
“It cannot be beyond them to put down a proper surface – patching racetracks is not the answer.
“They can wait for the winter snow to melt and resurface it in the spring, or they can do it now one year ahead so it’s had more time to settle.
“But either way the surface needs to be completely relaid.”
While he enjoys the Canadian event and wants to see it remain on the calendar, Coulthard feels it should not be exempted from the high standards expected of other Formula 1 venues.
“We all like going there so I don’t want to beat up on Montreal too much, but if that had happened at Silverstone there would be hell to pay,” he observed.
“The riot act should be read, because F1 is a professional sporting event that’s going out across the whole world, and it’s like having a soccer pitch that’s so badly waterlogged that it’s virtually unplayable.
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