Canadian Grand Prix Betting

Canada is well known as a nation of two languages, which often results in some rivalries between the French- and English-speaking populations. Not surprisingly, this competitiveness also found expression in the country’s approach to introducing Formula One racing, which started out in the 1960s with two distinct homes for the Canadian Grand Prix—one in Ontario and one in Quebec.

The very first race ever conducted under the name “Canadian Grand Prix” was held in 1961 as the premier event of the Canadian Sports Car Championship. It was run at Mosport Park near Toronto. When the F1 World Championship came to Canada in August 1967, this venue was the obvious selection for the eighth leg of that year’s 11-race season. The inaugural event was won by Australia’s Jack Brabham.

Eager to share in the international notoriety now associated with hosting the Canadian Grand Prix, Quebec put forward its Circuit Mont-Tremblant for the 1968 edition, which was won by New Zealander Denny Hulme. A plan was put in motion to alternate the event between the two tracks, which saw Germany’s Jacky Ickx prevail at the Mosport International Raceway in 1969 and then repeat at Mont-Tremblant in 1970. There were, however, numerous complaints about the Quebec course, which suffered greatly from the effects of Canadian winter. Of the 40 cars that ran there in 1968 and 1970, only 21 were able to finish. In response, a decision was taken to drop Circuit Mont-Tremblant from the F1 rotation.

From 1971 through 1977, Mosport Park was the only home of the Canadian Grand Prix and conducted its races under the sponsorship of Labatt’s Brewing Company. Britain’s Jackie Stewart was the only repeat winner during that period, taking the checkered flag in 1971 and 1972. In the meantime, most of Canada’s interest in sports focused on the French-speaking city of Montreal, where the XXI Olympic Games were being held in 1976, and quietly plans were afoot to move the Grand Prix back to Quebec Province.

Rather than build a completely new facility, Montreal’s race course designers connected the island roads of the city’s Île Notre-Dame to create a circuit at a cost of just $2 million. It was the perfect venue for a Grand Prix, running past the futuristic-looking buildings of the 1967 World Fair and new Olympic sites.

In 1978, the brand-new Île Notre-Dame Circuit incorporating the streets of Montreal debuted to host the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, and it has been the race’s home ever since. Fittingly, the first winner in Montreal was Quebec native Gilles Villeneuve, driving a Ferrari. Australian Alan Jones won the following two editions, followed by Frenchman Jacques Laffite in 1981. Then came tragedy, as Villeneuve died in 1982 on his final qualifying lap for the Belgian Grand Prix. Weeks later, the Montreal race course was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the native driver’s memory.

In the years that have followed Villeneuve’s death, Montreal has staged the Canadian Grand Prix on 30 occasions. Germany’s Michael Schumacher holds the record for victories on the celebrated circuit, with seven wins in total between 1994 and 2004. Trailing far behind him with three triumphs apiece are Brazil’s Nelson Piquet (1982, 1984 and 1991) and Great Britain’s Lewis Hamilton (2007, 2010 and 2012). Of special note, in 1995, Jean Alesi of France drove to his only career victory here in a Ferrari numbered 27—which was the same car number that “carried Gilles Villeneuve into the hearts of the Canadian Formula One fans.”

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