Trackside – 2018 Canadian Grand Prix

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Useful information to help you plan your weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, including the full on-track schedule. The 2018 Canadian Grand Prix takes place on June 8-10.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve offers an excellent, well-organized trackside experience. The circuit is easily accessible by metro from downtown Montreal, the atmosphere is friendly and the park setting is the perfect backdrop for a weekend of Formula 1. 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.

Circuit Access

  • You are allowed to bring food, beer, and other drinks into the circuit, as long as there is no glass. Foldable chairs are also allowed in General Admission. Click here for the current list of prohibited items and general entry requirements.
  • Gates open at 8am on Friday and 7:30am on the weekend, 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.
  • Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located on an island and is accessed via several bridges (see 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.


Friday, June 8

  • 08:00: Gates Open
  • 08:55 – 09:15: Ferrari Challenge free practice
  • 10:00 – 11:30: Formula 1 free practice (FP1)
  • 11:55 – 12:35: Porsche GT 3 Cup Challenge free practice
  • 14:00 – 15:30: Formula 1 free practice (FP2)
  • 15:55 – 16:25: Formula Tour 1600 qualifying
  • 16:50 – 17:10: Ferrari Challenge free practice
  • 17:35 – 18:15: Porsche GT 3 Cup Challenge qualifying
  • 19:00 – 21:00: Grand Walk on the Track (Charity event: tickets $50)

Saturday, June 9

  • 07:30: Gates Open
  • 09:00 – 09:30: Formula Tour 1600 qualifying
  • 11:00 – 12:00: Formula 1 free practice (FP3)
  • 12:20 – 12:55: Ferrari Challenge qualifying
  • 14:00 – 15:00: Formula 1 qualifying
  • 15:35 – 16:00: Ferrari Challenge first race
  • 16:35 – 17:05: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge first race
  • 17:40 – 18:05: Formula Tour 1600 first race

Sunday, June 10

  • 07:30: Gates open
  • 09:05 – 09:30: Formula Tour 1600 second race
  • 10:05 – 10:35: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge second race
  • 11:05 – 11:30: Ferrari Challenge second race
  • 12:30 – 12:40: Formula 1 Drivers’ Parade
  • 14:10 – 16:10: Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada

Open House: Thursday, June 7 from 9:30am to midday

The circuit and pit lane is open to fans on Thursday morning (free entry, no need to bring your race tickets) This is a great chance to walk a lap of the track or check out the pits area as the teams get the cars ready for Friday’s sessions. An autograph session with the F1 drivers should also be held in the pit lane from 9:30-11am, but this is still listed as TBC in the official schedule.


The Canadian Grand Prix schedule includes more than 6 hours of F1 action, including three practice sessions, qualifying and the main event. Montreal misses out on F2 and GP3 (F1’s main feeder series), but makes up with two races each from three support categories:


  • 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.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: good to know

  • Following the action: tune in to Radio Grand Prix at 99.1 FM or 104.3 FM
  • Visit the 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.
  • Check out Montreal Casino: one of the largest casinos 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.

Been to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve? Leave a comment with your trackside tips! 

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (17)

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  1. Kathryn says:

    Hi. I have bought a weekend ticket for grandstand 34 this year (2016). Having read this article, would this ticket include the pit walk on the Thursday morning? Thanks.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Kathryn. Yes, all weekend tickets give you access to the pit walk for fans on Thursday morning. Enjoy your trip to Montreal!

      • Ryan says:

        Thanks for having information about the pit walk on Thursday. Do you know if the times will be the same for the 2016 GP?

        • Editor says:

          Hi Ryan, the pit walk on Thursday has been held at the same time for years, so we don’t expect it to change this year. The organizers should publish the final schedule around 4-6 weeks ahead of the race.

  2. Amalia Cabusay says:

    Is there a pit pass on Saturday, with fee in Canadian F1 grand prix? If so, how can I get it?

    • Editor says:

      A so-called “pit pass” is not really available for F1 events, but F1 Experiences does offer several packages that could interest you for the Canadian GP. More info here.

  3. Emil Baran says:

    Where is the autograph session held and how long before you have to show up? Also is it gonna be all drivers or only select ones ?

    • Editor says:

      Details haven’t yet been announced for 2018, but you have 2017 info on this page. It’s likely to be the same. Normally you won’t see all the drivers. It always pays to get there early for these kind of sessions, 1-2 hours before it starts

  4. Lynn Hughes says:

    We have senior-discount family grandstand tickets for 2018 (all 3 days). We also have a handicapped placard for our car (USA) because one of us has breathing and balance issues and can’t walk very far (but does not use a wheelchair). Is there access to handicapped parking on race weekend? Will our placard enable us to access it? If yes to both of those, how should we take our car onto the island? There doesn’t seem to be any information about this at the official website. Thanks for whatever you can tell us.

  5. James says:

    Hi, Is the Montreal f1 race and qualifying broadcast live over the local FM or AM radio?

  6. Wesley says:

    Hi guys, Will the fans be allowed onto the track after the race to walk?

  7. Erin says:

    Hi, so regardless of where your seats are you can bring in outside food and drink, including alcohol (no glass)? I just want to confirm that.

    • Jason MacCallum says:

      Correct. From the GP Canada website:
      Authorised items

      •Video and still-image cameras (images for personal use only);
      •Portable radios (you can tune in to Radio Grand Prix 99.1 FM and 104.5 FM);
      •Food (for personal use only);
      •Alcohol (glass containers are forbidden);
      •Foldable chairs (General Admission);
      •Promotional items that do not disturb other spectators;
      •Strollers, walkers and wheelchairs;
      •Cigarettes, cigars, E-cigarettes and vaporizers are permitted on-site. However, in accordance to the tobacco control law, smoking is strictly forbidden in the grandstands, the suites terraces and enclosed areas;
      •Authorized coolers and bags must respect the following dimensions:
      Height: 22.8 cm (9 in)
      Length: 45.7 cm (18 in)
      Depth: 25.4 cm (10 in)
      Grandstand ticket holders must place their cooler or bag underneath their seats.

  8. jan formesyn says:

    hello i am intending to go to this race in 2019; is there still a pitwalk on thursday for weekend ticketholers or do you have to buy now the special F1 experiences package?

    • Editor says:

      Yes, there is still “Open House” on Thursday with Pit Lane Walk for weekend ticketholders. F1 Experiences also has a separate Pit Lane Walk on Thursday.

  9. Dorothea Park says:

    What are the best rows for Grandstand 15? Is Row H too low?

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