What is the Wall of Champions at the Canadian Grand Prix?

The winners of 15 F1 world championships have crashed into the Wall of Champions at the Canadian Grand Prix

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On a pretty simple Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, one corner has built a reputation for catching even the best drivers out and become synonymous with the Canadian Grand Prix.

Kevin Magnussen was the last driver caught out by the Wall of Champions, in 2019, but he’s far from the biggest name to have hit the barriers at turn 13 – no offence K-Mag!

Indeed, despite earning its moniker less than 25 years ago, the wall has absorbed drivers with a combined fifteen Formula 1 world championships between them.

It’s the only part of the circuit with a widely-recognised name – though do you know it’s other title?

Why is it called the Wall of Champions?

Alex Albon, then driving for Toro Rosso, inspects the “Wall of Champions” at the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix | Peter Fox/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Put simply, a number of high-profile drivers have crashed there. The 15 F1 world championships to have hit the wall over since it was christened sit alongside a host of other champions to have met their fate there.

Magnussen lost control there in qualifying in 2019 and slammed into the pitwall opposite, giving his Haas mechanics an overnight rebuild that they’ll hopefully have forgiven him for by now.

Magnussen, the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 winners, added his name to an illustrious list of victims – though the last F1 champion to crash there was Sebastian Vettel in 2011.

It’s probably due another big one – none of the three current champions of the grid have hit the wall there.

Which F1 drivers crashed at the Wall of Champions?

The wall earned its name in 1999, when it claimed Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve within 20 laps.

Schumacher crashed out from the lead of the race, which was won by the only remaining champion on the grid – Mika Hakkinen.

Ironically, the wall had ‘Bienvenue au Quebec’ [Welcome to Quebec] daubed on it – and it’s retained an alternate nickname as the Quebec Wall.

It wasn’t the first time Villeneuve had crashed there either, he’d also hit the barrier in 1997 before it earned its name – 1992 Sportscars champion Derek Warwick was another victim of the wall before that fateful day in 1999.

Since then, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button are the other high-profile drivers to have hit the Wall of Champions. Button crashed in 2005 under pressure from Michael Schumacher after starting on pole position, while Vettel hit the wall in practice for the 2011 Canadian GP becoming the only reigning champion to do so.

That foreshadowed a dramatic race for the German, who lost out on the last lap – to a certain Jenson Button. CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya is another victim – but who will be the next?

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