As we approach the halfway point of the 57th World Championship season, Formula One makes its annual swing through North America, opening in Montreal and continuing next weekend in Indianapolis.
Canada is always a popular stop on the calendar, and Montreal plays host for the 28th time, at the circuit on Ile Notre Dame, the man-made island that played host to Expo '67 and was the base for the rowing events at the 1976 Summer Olympics. As if to pay homage to the circuit's heritage, there used to be an annual raft race between the F1 teams, the last of which was won by Jordan in 1994.
The first Montreal race was in 1978, as previous Canadian Grands Prix had been held at the demanding Mosport Park and St. Jovite circuits. Mosport came first, hosting the inaugural championship event in 1967. In drizzly conditions, Jack Brabham took victory, the eighth and last F1 win for the three-litre Repco V8 engine that powered him to the 1966 title and teammate Denny Hulme to the '67 crown.
In 1968, the race went to the St. Jovite circuit for the first of what would prove to be just two visits (the other one was 1970). Those races were the longest Canadian races ever held, at over 383 kms, compared to the modern-day average of around 310 kms. With a relatively slow lap speed, both races took in excess of 2 hours and 25 minutes despite being held in full dry conditions - longer even than Monaco.