Canadian Grand Prix FP1: Power cut ruins first practice with FP2 changes confirmed

Mark Scott
General shot of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. June 2023

General shot of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. June 2023

The first practice session from the Canadian Grand Prix weekend was ruined by a power cut affecting the circuit’s local CCTV cameras.

In what could be a rare dry session this weekend with an unsettled forecast in Montreal, drivers were forced to stay firmly in the garage and respect a red-flag period enforced by the FIA who were not prepared to run FP1 for safety reasons.

The bizarre stoppage meant only 12 timed laps in total were recorded and led to a rather funky timesheet. FP2 is to be extended to a 90-minute session in order to make up for lost time.

Valtteri Bottas finished the ‘session’ top of the timesheet, with Aston Martin pair Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso both in the top three, a target that owner Lawrence Stroll wants his drivers to repeat come Sunday with their upgraded AMR23.

With the threat of rain in the air, something that will remain in place for the entirety of the race weekend in Montreal, there was an eagerness from the drivers and teams to get on with their programmes and take full advantage of the dry track conditions.

But that enthusiasm was curbed almost straight away as Alpine driver Pierre Gasly came to shuddering stop in the second sector reporting he had “lose the driveshaft”. That brought out the red flags just three minutes into the session.

There were problems, too, on the other side of the Alpine garage for Esteban Ocon, who was forced to hop out of the car whilst his mechanics performed some unscheduled final checks.

The red flag period was extended further due to power outages affecting the track’s CCTV cameras which are used to monitor the circuit and, with those out of action, the FIA were not able to restart the session.

Despite the best efforts of the circuit staff to fix the issue, FP1 was officially abandoned with FP2 now going to be 90 minutes long.

Canadian GP FP1 timesheet

1 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo 1:18.728
2 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.447
3 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +1.079
4 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +1.426
5 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +1.503
6 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +2.768
7 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +5.317
8 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +5.608
9 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +6.233
10 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +7.263
11 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +8.081
12 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri +13.546
13 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri
14 Lando NORRIS McLaren
15 Pierre GASLY Alpine
16 Alexander ALBON
17 Logan SARGEANT Williams
18 Esteban OCON Alpine
19 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes
20 George RUSSELL Mercedes