About us/The Circuit

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

an essential stop on the Formula 1 calendar since 1978.

The Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix

Is ​​always eagerly awaited by motor racing fans around the world.

And it will not prove them wrong after more than four decades of exciting races, demanding for the mechanics and the drivers. However, very few people realize the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit owes its success to the inspiration of a single man, Roger Peart, who left us last winter at the age of 88.

In addition TO being the architect of this track …

In addition to being the architect of this track, his involvement with the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix continued until 2018.

A lifelong motor racing enthusiast, Roger Peart was already frequenting British circuits at the age of 15 as a mechanic. Later, with his engineering degree in hand, he emigrated to Canada where it was not long before he was seen around the tracks, first as a driver, then as a race marshal. Because of his experience and background, he was given the mandate in fall of 1977 to find a new location in Montreal to organize the next Canadian Grand Prix. Indeed, a dramatic accident suffered by driver Ian Ashley at the Mosport circuit would cause a cascade of events culminating, a year later, in the inauguration of the brand new racing infrastructure, built in just a few months on Notre-Dame Island.


The calendar is tight,

The schedule is tight, as the track is to be opened with a Formula Atlantic race in late September 1978, followed shortly by the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada in early October. Roger Peart’s team will deliver the goods and, as they say, the rest is history! The crowning achievement of their efforts was undoubtedly the victory of local driver, Gilles Villeneuve, who won the race in masterful fashion, thus signing his first career victory, as well as the first victory in Formula1 for a Canadian driver. It was in his honour that the track adopted the name “Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve” in 1982, following his tragic death during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix in May of that same year.


from 1979, cErtain turns were modified …

From 1979, certain turns were modified to allow cars to pass more smoothly. Then, taking advantage of a break in 1987, major work was undertaken to move the start-finish line further west, while adding new permanent garages and a new pit line. Previously, the start was given just after the Hairpin and the teams were accommodated in construction trailers and other temporary accommodation. The new infrastructures offered a space dedicated to media representatives.


Following the death of ayrton senna…

Following the death of Ayrton Senna on May 1, 1994 in San Marino, for safety reasons, an artificial chicane was inserted after the Hairpin, where the old starting line once was. Then, for 1996, this same chicane was abolished, as was the Casino bend which was located halfway between the hairpin and the entrance to the pits. In doing so, we create this very long spectacular straight line along the Olympic basin, where drivers reach speeds of more than 300 km/h, and which ends abruptly on a tight chicane bordered by a wall that has become famous: the “Wall of Champions”. This wall owes its name to the many world champions such as Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, who have come to display there over the years.


In the middle of the first decade of the current millennium…

In the middle of the first decade of the current millennium, the organizers of the Canadian Grand Prix worked on plans. It was becoming increasingly clear that the solution was to rebuild since the garages built in 1980s were no longer sufficent for the teams and their equipment. The requirements of F1 were becoming more pressing, especially since many other organizers around the world were building ultramodern facilities. It was necessary to raise awareness for local political authorities so that they would commit themselves to ensuring the sustainability of the event by offering facilities worthy of modern F1, but above all, worthy of the great metropolis that is Montréal. Finally, just after the end of the 2018 race, the old garages were demolished to be replaced by a new building to meet the demands of the Formula One World Championship (FOWC) and the FIA. Designed by Les Architectes FABG, the new three-story building houses new garages, a new media space, a new control tower, new dressing rooms as well as a covered panoramic terrace on the top floor.

Gilles-Villeneuve circuit has evolved while remaining very faithful to the original design of its creator. Its layout still remains very current, and even refreshing compared to recent design paths which seem to lack a little character. Although it is an urban circuit, near the city center and accessible by Metro, it nonetheless remains an authentic Formula 1 circuit, initially designed for this sole function. The rest of the year, the track becomes a training site for running or cycling, to the delight of Montreal citizens.