Less than a month before the next race in Montréal, Formula One (F1) legend Sir Jackie Stewart and the first lady of Canadian racing Joann Villeneuve helped Canada Post unveil a set of five stamps honouring famous winners the F1 Grand Prix du Canada.
The “F1 in Canada” set celebrates 50 years of the race in this country by honouring five previous winners—one from each decade—including Stewart, of Scotland; Gilles Villeneuve, of Canada; Ayrton Senna, of Brazil; Michael Schumacher, of Germany; and Lewis Hamilton, of England.
The unveiling was held at 1700 La Poste on 1700 rue Notre-Dame Ouest in Montréal. This stamp is not part of Canada Post’s ongoing Canada 150 program, which will see its next unveiling take place tomorrow in Regina, Sask.
About 150 guests watched Joann Villeneuve, Gilles Villeneuve’s wife, unveil a stamp of her late husband before Stewart unveiled his own stamp.
F1 ENTHUSIASTS WELCOME VILLENEUVE, STEWART
The stamps feature head-and-shoulder images of the drivers. The cover of a booklet of 10 stamps depicts an F1 car rocketing past a grandstand with the Montréal Biosphère looming in the background.
Designed by Paprika and printed by Colour Innovations, the stamps measure 24 mm by 30 mm and are available in booklets of 10 stamps, a pane of five stamps (160 mm x 200 mm) and as an uncut press sheet (358 mm x 608 mm). Official first-day covers (OFDCs) are cancelled in Montréal and are available as a set of five with a commemorative folder. A limited-edition framed pane of stamps is also available along with limited edition framed enlargements of each stamp.
Stewart signed 500 OFDCs, which are only included with his framed enlargement.
The set and related products are available at canadapost.ca/shop.
FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA
The first F1 Grand Prix du Canada was at the Mosport track near Toronto in 1967. It hosted many great drivers, including Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt and Jody Scheckter, until 1977. The race was also run at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec before moving to a course on Île Notre-Dame in Montréal.
After Villeneuve’s death in 1982, the track was named Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in his honour.
— Canada Post (@canadapostcorp) May 15, 2017
FIVE ICONIC GRAND PRIX WINNERS
The five are national heroes in their homelands and legends internationally. As a group, they have won 220 Grand Prix races—17 in Canada—and taken 216 poles, 399 podiums, and 16 World Championships.
Between 1994 and 2004, Schumacher won an unrivalled seven F1 Grand Prix du Canada races. Hamilton, who is still racing, has won five (and he hopes to make it six at the 38th Grand Prix on Île Notre-Dame on June 11).
Stewart and Senna both won two Canadian races: Stewart won at Mosport in 1971 and 1972 and Senna won in Montréal in 1988 and 1990. Gilles Villeneuve recorded his first Grand Prix victory at the island track now bearing his name and remains the only Canadian to win an F1 race in Canada.
Sir Jackie Stewart: Stewart was the man to beat in the first decade of the Canadian Grand Prix. He raced F1 from 1965-73. In nine years of racing, he won 27 races and took 43 podiums, 17 poles and three World Championships. In 1967, he raced in Canada’s first F1 race at Mosport, where he also had the last F1 race of his career in 1973. His one-man safety crusade revolutionized safety in the sport, while his communication skills made it more popular. He set new standards of professionalism for drivers and helped F1 realize its commercial potential. In 2001 he was knighted for his services to motor sport.
Gilles Villeneuve: This flamboyantly aggressive driver with amazing control represents the second decade of the F1 Grand Prix du Canada. He raced F1 for McLaren and Ferrari from 1977-82, winning six races and taking 13 podiums as well as two poles in a career that lasted little more than four seasons. He won the F1 Grand Prix du Canada at the inaugural race on Île Notre-Dame, about an hour from where he grew up in Berthierville. About 70,000 fans were bundled in blankets and tuques on that frigid October day in 1978, when Villeneuve became a national hero. On May 8, 1982, aged 32, Villeneuve was killed in a crash while qualifying for the F1 Belgian Grand Prix. He was among the first inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Ayrton Senna: A fierce and fearless driver with spectacular raw talent and terrifying determination represents the third decade of Grand Prix racing in Canada. He dominated F1 from the mid-1980s until his fatal accident in Italy in 1994 at the age of 34. He raced F1 from 1984-94. In 161 starts, he logged 41 wins, 80 podiums, 65 poles and three World Championships. For many fans in Brazil, his homeland and all over the world, he was the purest driver to compete in F1.
Michael Schumacher: Representing the fourth decade is the most successful driver in the sport’s history: Schumacher raced F1 from 1991-2006 and 2010-12. In 308 races, he registered 91 wins and took 155 podiums, 68 poles and a record seven World Championships. He won his first World Championship in 1994 and his second in 1995. After breaking his leg in 1999, he mounted a comeback that saw him win five consecutive World Championships from 2000-04. He retired at the end of 2006 but would return to racing for another two years.
Lewis Hamilton: In Italy, they call him “Il Phenomeno”—the Phenomenon. In terms of raw ability, few drivers compare to the man who represents the fifth decade. Hamilton won four races in his rookie season in 2007 and finished on the podium in the first nine races of his brilliant, ongoing career. In his 193 starts, the three-time World Champion has recorded 55 wins, 108 podiums and 64 poles. Hamilton has finished in the top five in points in each of his 10 years in F1. He won the World Championship in 2008 and back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.