The Canadian F1 Grand Prix Was a Mess for Fans on the Ground

Blocked views, "canceled" practices, and flooded facilities plagued Montreal's F1 race.
Chris Tsui Avatar
Shot of the first corner of the Canadian Grand Prix with ominous clouds overhead.
Getty Images

This past weekend’s Formula 1 race in Montreal may have been a banger on-track, but off-track it was reportedly a bit of a disaster, with many fans (and notable F1 personnel) reporting a venue, organizers, and local police that simply weren’t prepared and not very organized.

In a video posted to X, F1 photographer Kym Illman detailed a situation in which General Admission ticketholders apparently found a primo spot near Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s start/finish line and stayed there for multiple hours (in the rain, no less) only to have their view of the track covered up by a big, black mesh by race organizers an hour before the race. Some spectators said that the tarp wasn’t present by the time they got to the spot later in the afternoon, but either way, the decision must’ve been frustrating for fans when the green flag dropped.

Meanwhile, other attendees were stuck on the bridge to the track on Friday after being told by allegedly misinformed police that the weekend’s first two practice sessions had been canceled. (There were indeed bouts of heavy rain in Montreal on Friday, but neither practice was canceled.) Adding insult to injury, one of those people stuck on the bridge happened to be 1997 World Drivers’ Champion, son of Gilles Villeneuve of “Circuit Gilles Villeneuve” fame, and professional shit-talker Jacques Villeneuve.

Sky Sports F1 commentator and every celebrity’s favorite grid walk run-in Martin Brundle even chimed in on how much of a gong show the Canadian GP was this year, writing in a column:

“I’ve been visiting the Canadian GP in Montreal since 1984, and 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.”

According to PlanetF1, hospitality units were flooded by heavy rain, water leaked into TV commentary booths allegedly resulting in damaged equipment, and VIP parking areas became very muddy (the circuit is on an island). There was also the issue of fans spilling onto the track after the race, which the FIA was apparently super not happy about. Things were so bad, it caused F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to issue an apology to team principals, per Autosport.

But on behalf of those fans who got erroneously turned away and their views blocked at the last minute: don’t be sorry, be better.

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