F1 track lays animal traps weeks before event over fears of major crashes

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The city of Montreal has placed animal traps around the vicinity of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to reduce the likelihood of a major collision over the course of the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix weekend, according to reports. Formula One has not raced in the country for the last two years due to cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but is preparing to return in June, with steps already having been taken to deter the local wildlife before the cars take to the track.

Lewis Hamilton won the last edition of the Canadian Grand Prix back in 2019 and will be hoping to repeat the feat ahead of the likes of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc when the action gets underway in Montreal next month. A number of small animals have made their way onto the circuit in recent years but organisers have moved to prevent any similar occurrences at the next time of asking by installing traps around the perimeter of the track, according to TVA Nouvelles.

It is said that a few dozen cages have been laid down at various points along the edge of the circuit to trap any rodents that may be inclined to venture onto the tarmac. Food has been placed in the cages as bait to lure the unsuspecting animals into the traps before they are locked in by the metal doors, which are designed to slam down upon entry.

The mammals, once caught, are promptly relocated to a safe area of the city within 24 hours in order to remove them from the vicinity of the track. Kaven Gauthier, spokesperson for the Societe du Parc Jean-Drapeau, has explained that the measures are necessary to reduce the likelihood of potentially dangerous collisions between F1 cars and small animals that have occurred in previous instances of the Canadian Grand Prix.

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“It is a priority for us to ensure the healthy cohabitation of the activities that take place on our site,” he said.

Several animals have been either struck or narrowly avoided by F1 cars at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve over the last few years. Felipe Massa was forced to act quickly to steer clear of a rogue marmot as he approached the final chicane back in 2015, while Romain Grosjean was unable to stop himself from hitting and killing another small mammal three years later.

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Meanwhile, a groundhog ended up inadvertently costing Anthony Davidson a podium finish during the 2007 edition of the Canadian Grand Prix. The Super Aguri driver suffered front wing damage after making contact with the animal while running in third place before dropping down the order after he was forced to dive into the pit lane for a replacement wing.

Local authorities have previously used fox urine, a natural predator of marmots, to deter rodents and other animals from the circuit grounds. This measure is not currently in place, though, due to its lack of concrete efficiency in keeping the mammals away from the tarmac.

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