Martin Brundle highlights Canadian GP ‘logistical mess’ after ‘least enjoyable’ visit

Thomas Maher
2024 Canadian Grand Prix racing action.

Martin Brundle didn't enjoy his experience of working within the tight confines of Ile Notre Dame in Montreal.

Martin Brundle has said his working weekend in Montreal was the least enjoyable of his Canadian visits during his broadcasting career.

The former F1 driver turned broadcaster wasn’t impressed by what he saw over the course of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix weekend, despite the thrilling race that unfolded on Sunday.

Martin Brundle: Canadian GP was a logistical mess

As one of F1’s more historic venues, which first held the Canadian Grand Prix in 1978, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve may be well-known for producing great racing but, in terms of facilities, there’s no denying it’s showing signs of its age.

Sky F1 broadcaster Martin Brundle expressed his unhappiness with the venue following this year’s race, also saying the on-track personnel added to the issues he saw over the course of the weekend.

“I’ve been visiting the Canadian GP in Montreal since 1984,” he wrote in his column for Sky F1 during the week.

“This year was undoubtedly the least enjoyable in terms of the venue. The popularity and scale of today’s F1 has outgrown the facilities, and the rain turning accesses into mud didn’t help.

“The police and security appeared increasingly aggressive and unhelpful to boot, it was a logistical mess.”

The circuit attracted a record attendance of 350,000 visitors over the weekend, all squashed into the tight confines of the tiny man-made island of Ile Notre-Dame upon which the circuit was constructed during the 1970s.

A number of issues arose over the weekend, which resulted in F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali apologising to the teams.

Team members and guests ended up stranded for hours on Friday when the entrance to the circuit was closed as police officers closed bridge access points due to congestion.

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Heavy rain resulted in flooded hospitality units, while the confines of the island meant the VIP parking area used turned into a muddy mess.

The rain also resulted in leaking through the TV commentary booths, resulting in damage to equipment, while fans were erroneously turned away during Friday practice due to inaccurate information that the on-track action had been abandoned due to the weather.

After the chequered flag, the promoter Octane Racing Group was also summoned by the FIA over a fan track invasion that resulted in an admonishment.

The aging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a contract with F1 until 2031 but its facilities pale in comparison to modern offerings that have been purpose-built with modern F1 in mind. But the lack of space on Ile Notre-Dame means the promoter will struggle to meet the demand for improved paddock facilities and infrastructure, as well as improving access points.

However, given the modernisation efforts being carried out at other venues in recent years – such as the ongoing work at Monza – the lack of room on the island may not be seen as an excuse to ignore further investment into improving its facilities.

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