Trackside – 2021 Canadian Grand Prix

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Useful information to help you plan your weekend at the 2021 Canadian Grand Prix, including advice on getting the most out of your trackside experience at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Please Note: The 2020 Canadian Grand Prix has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dates for the 2021 Canadian Grand Prix have not yet been announced, though the race is normally held in early June. This guide will be fully updated when the on-track schedule is announced, normally around 1 month before the race. weekend.

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 and La Ronde Amusement Park. The park and its attractions are 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 are expected to open at 8am on Friday and 7:30am on the weekend (TBC – based on 2018 times) 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 7

  • 08:55 – 09:15: Ferrari Challenge practice session
  • 10:00 – 11:30: Formula 1 practice session (FP1)
  • 11:55 – 12:35: Porsche Cup Challenge practice session
  • 12:45 – 13:15: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 14:00 – 15:30: Formula 1 practice session (FP2)
  • 15:55 – 16:25: F1600 practice session
  • 16:50 – 17:10: Ferrari Challenge practice session 2
  • 17:35 – 18:15: Porsche Cup Challenge qualifying session
  • 19:00 – 21:00: Grand Walk on the Track (Charity event: tickets $50)

Saturday June 8

  • 09:00 – 09:30: F1600 qualifying session
  • 09:40 – 10:05: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 11:00 – 12:00: Formula 1 practice session (FP3)
  • 12:20 – 12:50: Ferrari Challenge qualifying session
  • 14:00 – 15:00: Formula 1 qualifying session
  • 15:30 – 16:00: Ferrari Challenge first race
  • 16:30 – 17:00: Porsche Cup Challenge first race
  • 17:35 – 18:05: Formula Tour 1600 first race
  • 18:45 – 20:00: Pirelli Cycle the Track TBC

Sunday June 9

  • 09:15 – 09:45: F1600 second race
  • 10:15 – 10:45: Porsche Cup Challenge second race
  • 11:15 – 11:45: Ferrari Challenge second race
  • 12:00 – 12:20: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 12:30 – 13:00: Formula 1 Drivers’ Parade
  • 13:00 – 13:15: Formula 1 Starting Grid Presentation
  • 14:10 – 16:10: 2019 Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada

Open House & Grand Walk

  • Open House on Thursday, June 6 from 09:00-12:00: The circuit and pit lane is open on Thursday morning – anyone can attend, you do not need to bring your 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 will also be held at the pit exit during the Open House.
  • Grand Walk on Friday, June 7 from 18:00-21:00: walk the track on Friday night with thousands of other fans, with proceeds going to charity. Tickets cost $45 in advance or $50 on the day. Learn more here.


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 F3 (F1’s main feeder series), but makes up with two races each from three support categories:

  • F1600: an exciting entry level open-wheeler series
  • Ferrari Challenge: race four on the North American calendar for a competitive field of Ferrari  488s
  • Porsche Cup; a field of identical Porsche 991s are set to compete

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: 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.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: Good to Know

  • Tickets: even if you’ve purchased 3-day tickets, you’ll still receive individual tickets for each day of the weekend. Pass outs are available on the day, but you’ll need to scan your ticket when leaving.
  • 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 (37)

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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?

  10. Belinda Anderson says:

    Can you tell me if taxis can drive to the track or if there is parking available for rental cars?? If not, what is the best way to get to the track from Griffintown?

    • Editor says:

      Leave the car at home. There is a taxi stand on St Helen’s Island near the Concorde Bridge, but traffic can be a problem and the queues at the end of the day are long. Better to take the metro or even just walk back to the city and take a taxi from there.

  11. Isaias says:

    Hello, just saw on the promoter’s Twitter feed that the open house is open to everyone, no ticket needed. Link to tweet: Was checking out your guide and noticed you put 3-day ticket holders only. They also added two new items for this year’s open house.

  12. Marie says:

    great information. We will be first time attenders for June 2019 and the information was very very helpful. Thanks so much!!

  13. Heidi says:

    Is there wheelchair accessibility up to the Lance Stroll grandstand? My husband can walk for short distances, so will be able to get to his seat, but would need a wheelchair up to that point. Is there anywhere to store the wheelchair on the grounds while seated for the race?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Heidi, I’m not sure, sorry. I suggest asking the circuit this question on social media (Twitter or Facebook). Let us know if you get a response

  14. Sam says:

    Was wondering what are the food vendors (food trucks, fast food) and type (burgers, pizza, hot dogs?)and restaurants in the venue and range of pricing for both. Can’t find specifics anywhere (trying to figure out if I want to bring snacks or real food)

    • Editor says:

      Sorry Sam, not sure. I’m going myself this weekend, so will be sure to update the guide for next year. You can normally expect high prices at the track, but I’m hoping the food offer in Canada is better quality than at some other races.

  15. Kimi says:

    Hey, Im thinking to attend to the 2020 Canadian GP. Im wondering on some of the info for the past years on Opening House. WillI meet most of the F1 drivers? at the end of the pitlane? Should I arrive early to meet them?(If so, when?)Can i have autographs with different drivers? These are the questions I want to know.
    Thank you.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Kimi, I was there in Canada this year and I went to the Open House on Thursday. There was a lot of people! It was well organized, but if you want to get autographs you will need to be there very early – I went later and it was impossible to get close for autographs. You may look at other strategies for getting autographs – e.g. hanging out at the hotels downtown where the drivers stay.

      • Kimi says:

        Thanks! Also, do you know how to get to grandstand 1 or the pit exit the fastest way? So that I dont need to be waiting on a huge waiting line of autographs.

        • Editor says:

          There’s only one way in for the Open House, via the Metro and Cosmos Bridge. After that you have to take the buses around the circuit to the pit exit, which is where the autograph session and walk are held. So you just need to get there early and line up near the Cosmos Bridge.

          • Kimi says:

            Note: Sorry for posting the same thing again, I accidentally reply at the wrong place the first time

            Is it the 777 bus or the bus that F1 provided themselves? Also, should I wait at the bus station or at the bridge? If I should wait at the bridge, which side of the bridge? One last thing, is the circuit/bus available before 9am?
            Thank you very much for answering a lot of my questions

          • Editor says:

            No, these are buses provided specially for the Open House – they run on the track itself. I’m not sure where the queue begins. I had to wait near the Biosphere last year, but people were queued up over the bridge. The buses started on the other side of the Cosmos bridge. Hope that helps!

  16. Janey Sharman says:

    Hi we are booked for Grandstand 11 for the weekend. I see you are allowed to brink drinks, food and alcohol in as long as no glass. So tins of beer/cider should be ok carried in a cooler? Also can you come and go from the track ? We might want to leave and grab something to eat outside, is there any places near by that could be recommended ? Thanks

    • Editor says:

      Hi Janey, unfortunately you are no longer allowed to bring alcohol purchased off site into Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. More information here. I believe that pass outs are available. The best place to go for food and drink is the Casino. There’s a couple of restaurants, including one quite affordable one.

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