(Renault Sport) The long straights of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve require a low downforce package, however the tight hairpin and chicane that bookend the lap demand stability under braking. As such the RS27 must combine good top end power with effective engine braking and pick up on the entry and exits to the corners.
Wind direction can have a strong influence on 7th gear selection. Due to the circuit’s location in the middle of the St Lawrence Seaway, the conditions are notoriously changeable so there is a greater element of risk involved in choosing the right ratios. Get the selection wrong and you will be at a deficit on the straights.
The start/finish straight leads into a smooth left hander that turns into a spoon profiled corner. The engine has to be very smooth through this section without any peaks as engine revs will be at approximately 11,000rpm for five seconds, the longest consistently low setting of the lap.
Sector two is relatively start stop, with the chicane of turns six and seven and the flick of eight and nine. Drivers will try to clip the kerbs in this section to shorten the length so the engine needs to be extremely responsive under braking and on the apexes – this is the longest sector in turns of time.
The hairpin sees cars brake down to a little under 60kph before accelerating onto the long 1,046m straight to turn 13 and the infamous ‘Wall of Champions.’ Drivers will reach speeds of over 320kph with DRS open in qualifying and over 300kph in the race, so engine maps will be calibrated to give the driver good pick up from the exit but reach vMax near the end of the straight.
The heavy braking zones of the hairpin and chicane may require effective engine braking but are also the opportunity to keep the KERS system fully charged. This can then potentially be discharged twice on the straight as the energy counter resets. The high power sensitivity of this track also increases the KERS benefit over the non-KERS equipped cars.
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