F1 teams will be searching for optimum traction and brake endurance at the medium to low downforce Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, the venue for Canadian Grand Prix, this weekend.

F1 teams will be searching for optimum traction and brake endurance at the medium to low downforce Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, the venue for Canadian Grand Prix, this weekend.

The Montreal circuit is very popular with the drivers. The circuit is quite fast and most teams will be running special aerodynamic components on their cars to minimise drag. However, some teams might compromise on the race setup, because some sharp corners, the hairpin in particular, requires higher downforce, sharp brakes and traction under acceleration.

The race was traditionally a one-stopper, but fuel consumption is higher than usual due to the acceleration out of corners. Now that teams are not allowed to refuel cars after qualifying, some teams may opt to qualify on light fuel loads and make one or two extra pit stops during the race. However, the track offers more overtaking opportunities than many other circuits in F1 and that could motivate some of the top teams to opt for a conservative strategy and run a heavy fuel load in qualifying.

Drivers lap at an average speed of 200 km/h at Montreal… The circuit is quite bumpy and is known for a high rate of mechanical breakdowns. Most teams will run medium to soft compound tyres.

Michael Schumacher won last year's race after an early fight with the Williams-BMW of Juan-Pablo Montoya. The Colombian was on pole but lost the lead to Rubens Barrichello, then a safety car period after Jacques Villenueve's BAR broke down. Montoya had a blown engine and team-mate Ralf Schumacher had a time-consuming pit stop. Schumacher won, followed by McLaren's David Coulthard and Barrichello.

The 2003 season is just about at the half-way point and there have been five different race winners. Ferrari was simply wrong-footed in Monaco and Williams-BMW was the team with the best strategy.

However, Ferrari should be strong in Canada, although Williams-BMW expects its strong performance to continue at the high-speed circuit. Championship leader Kimi Raikkonen resigned himself to second at the tight Monaco circuit, but Montreal has chances for overtaking that the Finn will no doubt take given the opportunity.

Renault's lack of engine power could be a problem on Montreal’s long straights, but Williams-BMW should benefit, as should Jaguar and Toyota. BAR is looking more competitive as the season progresses and it is expected that local hero Jacques Villeneuve or Jenson Button will make the podium at some point this season.

Ferrari, McLaren and Williams-BMW should be the front-running teams in Montreal, with Renault picking up the remaining points. In the midfield it's Jaguar and BAR that seem to be on the up - despite reliability issues - while Sauber and Jordan are floundering. Toyota is no doubt eager to make amends for its poor Monaco weekend and Minardi will probably just be happy to get one of its cars to the end of the race.