F1 faces more groundhog days in Canada in future

The front wing of Romain Grosjean's Haas is badly damaged after hitting a groundhog at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
© Haas

Formula 1 officials admit that there is little they can do about the presence of groundhogs on Montreal's Ile de Notre-Dame.

One of the small ground mammals ventured onto the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve during Friday's free practice session last week. It was hit by Romain Grosjean's Haas, destroying his front wing - the groundhog coming off much worse.

“It was a big impact, it was a big animal,” Grosjean said afterwards. “It’s a bit disappointing because they showed it on TV before the beginning of the session.

"“I’m surprised they didn’t move it," he added.

Asked about the incident later, race director Charlie Whiting said there had been little he had been able to do about it.

"I gave them the full explanation of why that was during the drivers' briefing," Whiting told Motorsport.com.

"Of course we saw the groundhog," he admitted. "I did ask whether or not it was feasible to try and catch him,.

"I was told by those who know much more than I do about groundhogs that it was a very unwise thing to try and do.

"We felt that on balance we thought it was better to leave him there and hope that he didn't make a dash for it

"But he did, unfortunately."

Whiting said that there was little that the Formula 1 officials or local race promoters could do to avert a repeat in the future.

"They are indigenous to this island," he explained. "They are protected, and do their best to get to places that they are not supposed to go.

"We do our best to try and fill up all the holes,: he added. But they just dig new ones,

"They quite often get onto the track, as you know," he acknowledged. "It's not nice, but there's very little that we can actually do to eradicate it."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter