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michael schumacher 1999 canada

There’s a reason why they call it the Wall of Champions…

The Formula 1 calendar shifts into eighth gear as the championship holds four races in just six weeks, starting with this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve combines numerous chicanes, two hairpins and a lengthy straight, making for one of the more challenging tracks on the calendar.

Unarguably the most infamous feature is the final chicane, featuring a wall that has been dubbed the Wall of the Champions, no doubt due to the fact that numerous champions, would-be champions and rookies have clouted it over the years.

The wall received its name after a rather eventful 1999 race, which saw Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill and Ricardo Zonta hitting the wall. In fact, Villeneuve hit the wall in both 1999 and in his 1997 championship-winning year. Not a great record for the Quebecer at his home race…

Other casualties over the years include Jenson Button, Alex Wurz, Rubens Barrichello and Juan Pablo Montoya. The below compilation does a great job of highlighting the major victims.

Four time champ Sebastian Vettel wasn’t immune to the Wall of Champions either, smashing into it during practice in 2011.

Fortunately, the F1 legend has mostly kept his nose clean around this section of track ever since.

So what is it about the wall that makes it such a challenge? Is it the fast, flick-based nature of the chicane? Is it due to the harsh kerbs? Lack of run-off?

Johnny Herbert and wall victim Damon Hill break it down…


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