Canadian Grand Prix – Stroll and Latifi, non-prophets in their country: “It’s a little light to keep interest”

F1 loves Canada. Canada loves F1. After three years of waiting, the Île Notre-Dame, where the Montreal circuit is being built, will be full again. Two new stands have been installed. “Developers were already accustomed to saying that by adding stands, the island would eventually collapse.“, smiles Philippe Crépeau, journalist of Radio Canada. The country is one of the few that has two representatives in Formula 1, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi.

But unlike Spain, where Carlos Sainz and especially Fernando Alonso caught the attention of locals, Montreal is much less tied to its drivers than its Grand Prix. “F1 still has very fertile ground in Montrealspecifies our partner. It obviously dates from the time of Gilles Villeneuve, and continued with his son JacquesThe father’s talent, son’s success and the Villeneuve family’s history have largely shaped Quebec’s interest in Formula One.

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Problem is, everything is against the current duo of the 1997 world champion and his father. “They are two English-speaking pilotsPhilippe Crépeau recalls. So there’s a little less resonance for the French public in Quebec. And besides, they don’t have the results that can be found in the press. Even if they are not the only ones responsible for all this, it plays against them a lot. “

Between Villeneuve and Latifi and Passeig, there is a chasm

In recent weeks, Stroll and Latifi have been spotted for the wrong reasons. In the race as in the classification, the Aston Martin driver is being shot by his teammate Sebastian Vettel, who is said to be less concerned about the competition than about the fights that his presence in F1 allows him to lead. Latifi has been living a long nightmare since his accident in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season.

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In Baku, one ended up on the track in the classification, the other was penalized for not respecting the blue flags in the race. In short, bad memories, such as his amazing accident in Australia, outweigh the good ones. Although Stroll has had a few hits, with three podiums and especially a pole in Turkey, in difficult conditions, in 2020 “.The ride paid off, he showed that he had real driving skills before reaching F1 winning promotion championshipsemphasizes the Canadian journalist. But it’s a little light to keep interest. “

It is also difficult for Canadians to identify with their pilots. Stroll is the son of the owner of the Lawrence stable. Latifi is the son of the boss of Sofina Foods, a company whose millions allowed the Williams family to keep alive the stable created by Frank, before being sold to the American fund Dorilton Capital. “Here, we fall into the completely opposite scenario of the history of the Villeneuve family, analyzes Philippe Crépeau. Gilles was a little boy who came out of nowhere, he was doing snowmobiles in Quebec. And he ended up impressing Enzo Ferrari, who had many setbacks before winning races and remaining in the collective imagination.. “

No fascination with wealth

The gap is deep. And still maintained by Jacques Villeneuve, now a consultant for Canal + and often stingy when it comes to talking about the performances of his two compatriots, on the encrypted channel as well as the local media. And unlike Americans, the families of billionaires and the stories of businessmen or women do not fascinate Quebecers. “Here we are very Latin, much more than American, because of our French originsadds our partner. This fascination does not exist with us. At least in terms of F1 and the Stroll and Latifi families. I would even say the opposite. “

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320,000 people are expected at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit throughout the weekend. Many will wave Canadian flags without really getting excited about the race of the two local drivers. It doesn’t matter if one of them, Nicholas Latifi, could have to give up his Williams steering wheel to Oscar Piastri, a young Australian prodigy.

People are not upset that Lance is still driving in F1 because he is still a guy from Quebecadds Philippe Crépeau. But we are also told that he should not continue driving just because he is his father’s stable. Imagine, Stroll arrived in 2017 and we still wonder if it has its place in F1 … The excitement in Montreal, we feel it even in the city center. But it is F1 that makes Quebec vibrate. Much more than our two Canadians. “

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