Useful advice and information on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for fans going to the Canadian F1 Grand Prix in Montreal on June 10-12, 2016.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve offers an excellent trackside experience. The race is well organised for fans, the atmosphere is friendly and the park setting is the perfect backdrop for a weekend of Formula 1.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located on an island and is accessed via two bridges – see above circuit map. If you are seated in the Grandstands around the hairpin or grandstand 33, it’s best to enter the track by the Pont du Cosmos, close to the biosphere (the distinctive dome inside the track). This brings you to the outside of the circuit close to grandstand 21. If you are in Grandstand 31 or any of the grandstands around the start or on the Senna curve, then you are best entering the track using the Pont des Îles, which goes to the inside of the track, across from grandstand 31.
Gates open at either 7:30am or 8:00am, but if you have a reserved seat in a grandstand, you can afford to stay in bed a little longer as there is nothing on track until around 9am each day and you won’t have to beat the crowds in general admission to find a good vantage point. Fans are free to bring food, beer, and other drinks into the circuit as long as there is no glass.
2016 Canadian Grand Prix Schedule
You’ll see around 6.5 hours of F1 action on the track over the course of the three day weekend in Montreal:
Friday, June 10
- 10:00 – 11:30: F1 Practice session 1
- 14:00 – 15:30: F1 Practice session 2
Saturday, June 11
- 10:00 – 11:00: F1 Practice session 3
- 13:00 – 14:00: F1 Qualifying
Sunday, June 12
- 12:30: F1 Drivers parade
- 14:00 – 16:00: Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada
Pit Walk on Thursday, June 9
From 09:00-12:00 on Thursday June 9, the pit lane is open to fans holding a three day ticket. As well as giving you the opportunity to see inside the garages as the teams assemble their cars, there are chances to get autographs and photos of the drivers as they complete their track walks.
Other on-track action
The Canadian Grand Prix features racing from several entertaining support categories. Although the support races do change from year to year, the Ferrari challenge and Formula 1600 are both regular series at the track. Historic F1 cars, Canadian touring cars and Porsche GT3 are other series that regularly appear on Grand Prix weekend. The support events provide excellent racing with large fields and high levels of competition, offering something extra for fans at the Canadian race.
Amenities & Entertainment
As with most F1 circuits, the quality of food on offer at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is generally poor and the prices are high. For typical fast food fare such as a slice of pizza or a hotdog, expect to pay from around $5 CAD – there are some pricier options as well. Food stands are placed within the vicinity of most grandstands.
Merchandise outlets are dotted around the track, with the largest selection to be found in the stretch between Grandstand 21 and 31. Expect to pay around $90 CAD for most F1 team shirts, with the cheapest t-shirts starting from $50 CAD. There are also merchandise outlets, as well as promotional displays from various companies in the centre of the circuit close to the Budweiser stage, which provides music and entertainment all weekend.
There are plenty of toilets at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – both portable and permanent park facilities. Apart from peak times over the weekend, queues are not excessive.
Support Race Pits
If you have some time between the on-track action, be sure to have a look at the Support race pits, tucked in behind Grandstand 15. The pits provide a great opportunity to get up close to all manner of racing cars from Formula 1600s to historic F1 cars. The teams are usually very friendly, happy to chat and willing to let you check out their cars up close.
The huge Montreal Casino, one of the largest in the world, is located in the middle of the circuit. It is open during the race weekend and is a good place to grab a cold beer or something to eat at the end of the day while you wait for the crowds leaving the circuit to die down. If you want to lighten your wallet, the casino staff will be only too happy to help you out. More info here.
Much like Albert Park in Melbourne, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located on the site of a city park. Spread over two islands in the St Lawrence seaway, Parc Jean-Drapeau was the site of the World Expo in 1967 and several structures remain, including the distinctive biosphere dome, now home to an environmental museum. The park is well worth exploring if you have time before or after the race weekend. Click here to learn more.
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