Montreal flashback: “Wall of champions” claims four in 1999


The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Isle Notre Dame doesn’t have a jaw-dropping, iconic corner quite like Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps, 130R at Suzuka, or the Parabolica at Monza. But its last corner, the chicane onto the front straight, is probably the most memorable on the course in Montreal.

Its exit is known, simply, as the “Wall of Champions.”

This chicane, a crashing right-left over the curbs, has claimed a ripe number of victims over the years. The corner’s slow enough to where none of these wall impacts have caused any significant injuries, but it’s fast enough to push drivers to and often over the limit in order to make up lost hundredths or tenths of seconds. All that really gets hurt is pride.

Every Canadian Grand Prix weekend seems to have at least one or two major impacts at this corner. In 1999, four champions – three World Champions in Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve and F3000 champion Ricardo Zonta – all made impact with the wall on exit.

Mika Hakkinen won the race over Giancarlo Fisichella and Eddie Irvine, but the race was more widely remembered for its four safety car periods.

You can see who the wall claims this year, starting with free practice two at 2 p.m. ET on Friday on the NBC Sports Network, and the race Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. Live streaming is also available via NBC Sports Live Extra.