F1 gives Canadian Grand Prix update after wildfires cause smoke to descend on Montreal

The Formula 1 race weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal is scheduled to start next Friday

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Thursday 08 June 2023 16:57 BST
Dashcam footage shows car driving straight through Canadian wildfire

Formula 1 insists next week’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal is not at risk despite wildfires in nearby regions.

More than 400 wildfires are raging in Canada which have led to mass evacuations in the Quebec region and officials warned this could be the country’s worst wildfire season on record, with over 6.7 million acres already scorched.

In Montreal, thick layers of smog have descended on parts of the city in the last few days but F1 insist next week’s race meet at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (16-18 June) is set to go ahead as planned.

An F1 spokesperson said: “The event is not at risk, and we have been assured by all the relevant information that the situation in Montreal at this time is different to other parts of the country and northern US and the risk remains low and air quality is good in Montreal.”

F1 had to previously cancel last month’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola due to devastating flooding in the region.

Despite calls in cities as far south as New York for residents to stay indoors if possible, Montreal has not enforced a similar requirement of its locals this week.

The government situation states the situation in the city is low risk, with wind direction set to move the smoke away from Montreal in the coming days - and expected rainfall should also alleviate the situation.

Smoke has descended on parts of Montreal in the last few days
Smoke has descended on parts of Montreal in the last few days (AFP via Getty Images)

F1 will continue to monitor the situation but there are no concerns at this stage.

Smoke from Canada’s wildfires has been moving into the United States since last month. The most recent fires near Quebec have been burning for at least several days.

The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) said hazy skies, reduced visibility and the odor of burning wood are likely, and that the smoke will linger for a few days in New England.

Max Verstappen won last year’s race in Canada - the first grand prix in the country for three years due to the Covid pandemic - and holds a 53-point lead in the championship this season after recent wins in Monaco and Spain.

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