Open House at Canadian Grand Prix, F1 fans come out

“You see the drivers,” said Craig Beaudoin, a Montrealer, about the F1 Canadian Grand Prix open house at the Gilles Villeneuve track on Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal. Gareth Madoc-Jones reports.

By News Staff

It’s Open House at the Canadian Grand Prix, down at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, on Thursday. Race fans have been waiting two years to line-up for this event, where they get to see what teams are bringing to the track.

The pandemic forced the Montreal race off the Formula 1 schedule. The last one held in 2019.

“The Open House is just a really good chance to get up close with what’s going on at the track before race day,” said Anna Belford, en route to the track.

For Belford, she was most excited to see the cars and the paddocks. But for her friend, Lydia Angel-Fox, it was about the people.

“Maybe catch a glimpse of the drivers and Toto Wolff,” she said, referring to the Mercedes Team Principal and CEO.

Tigo Gutierrez from London, Ontario is excited to see the F1 cars on the paddocks during the Open House.

“Obviously, you see the cars from far in the stands, but it gives you the opportunity to see them right in front and that’s pretty awesome,” he said.

“We’ve liked this sport for a while and we have a simulator at home, so we drive around on that and we’ve always wanted to come to an actual race so this is our first one and it’s honestly amazing,” Gutierrez said.

Thousands of fans like him lined up, including Kim Reimer from Tallahassee, Florida, who showed off his hand-made Ferrari car hat.

“This is great to be back in Canada, I feel like this is my home race,” he said. “There are more people that know  me here than at any of the other races.”

Reimer has been a staple on the Canadian Grand Prix scene for years, become a sort of “fan celebrity” in the city and easily recognizable with his hat.

“My name escaped probably five or six years ago and so I walk around the track and people are going, ‘Hey, Kim,’ so it’s sort of fun,” he said.

Reimer has been coming to Montreal for the Grand Prix since 2008 and has created a new hat every year. He’s now on hat number 18.

“At this point, there’s a little bit of, if I don’t show up, like fan disappointment,” he said.

F1 fan Kim Reimer from Tallahassee, Fla., shows off his hand-made hat on June 16, 2022. (CREDIT: Alyssia Rubertucci/CityNews)

Fans streamed onto the Île Notre Dame race site so they could see all the preparations and stream the pit lanes.
Many travelling from far, like Sudantha Gunaratn and Astara Blackwood of Dallas, Texas.
“I got him these tickets for Christmas, it’s something that he’s wanted to do,” said Blackwood. “So this is the closest, maybe not closest to us, but I figured we want to go on a trip.”

“I’ve been following a Formula One since I was a little kid, and it’s my first year actually living in Montreal, so I wanted to take advantage of race week as much as I can,” said Serena Yu, in line for the Open House.

She said she’s looking eager for her first ever Grand Prix.

“I’m looking forward to see like obviously the drivers back in Canada since we haven’t been here in a couple of years and I’m pretty excited to see what kind of surprises we might have since the races have been pretty interesting this past season.”


Top Stories

Top Stories