Monday, 1 June 2015

Canadian Grand Prix: The Wall of Champions

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Canadian Grand Prix is the "Wall of Champions". What makes the "Wall of Champions" so synonymous with the Canadian Grand Prix and why has it been called that?

It all started back in 1999 during the Canadian Grand Prix, a race which saw no less than four crashes at the final chicane on the high speed circuit. 

The final corner of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve became well known for crashes involving former World Champions including British hero Damon Hill, title contender Michael Schumacher and home favourite Jacques Villeneuve all become victims of the tricky right to left kink.  

The three drivers were out the race on the spot and the new name for the “Bienvenue au Quebec” [Welcome to Quebec] wall came into fruition: the "Wall of Champions". 

The wall became ironically known as the "Wall of Champions". The wall also was involved in a crash with Ricardo Zonta, who was, at the time, the reigning FIA GT sports car champion. In recent years, GP2 Champion Nico Rosberg and CART Champion Juan Pablo Montoya have also fallen victim to the wall. In 2011 Friday practice the wall claimed reigning F1 Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Before the wall was named it also claimed victims such as 1992 World Sportscar Champion and long time F1 driver Derek Warwick who spectacularly crashed his Arrows-Megatron during qualifying for the 1988 Canadian Grand Prix.

Full list of victims:
Alexander Wurz in 1997.
Damon Hill in 1999.
Michael Schumacher in 1999.
Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 and 1999.
Ricardo Zonta in 1999.
Nico Rosberg, 2005 GP2 Champion.
Nick Heidfeld in 2001.
Rubens Barrichello in 2002.
Jenson Button in 2005.
Tiago Monteiro in 2006.
Juan Pablo Montoya in 2006.
Vitantonio Liuzzi in 2007.
Kamui Kobayashi in 2010.
Sebastian Vettel in 2011.
Bruno Senna in 2012.
Pastor Maldonado in 2012.

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