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What’s the Macau Grand Prix and which F1 stars have gained there?

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Formulation 3 automobiles will make a grand return to Macau this weekend for the seventieth operating of the historic Macau Grand Prix, however what precisely is it? 

The Macau GP is a non-championship spherical of the F3 season, however F3 automobiles haven’t been since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The occasion is taken into account to be a stepping stone for larger motor racing classes, because it has been gained by a number of world-famous drivers earlier than they reached stardom. 

Preview: How Macau’s long awaited return is shaping up to thrill

Racing is held on the streets of Macau, a metropolis going through the South China Sea. 

To have a good time its seventieth anniversary, organisers expanded this yr’s occasion over two weekends. The opening weekend (11-12 November) had primarily home and Asian collection in motion – TCR Asia Problem for instance, whereas this coming weekend (16-19 November) are the worldwide races. 

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The F3 race is the spotlight of the occasion. Despite the fact that factors will not be scored in the direction of the FIA Formulation 3 championship, which concluded at Monza in September, the Macau GP winner turns into the F3 World Cup champion – an honour final claimed by present Formulation 2 driver Richard Verschoor. 

But it surely isn’t only for automobiles on 4 wheels. That is the one avenue race that has each automobiles and bikes competing over the weekend. Legends of two wheels throughout the Isle of Man TT, British Superbike championship and World Superbike championship have competed at Macau, together with Carl Fogarty, who gained the race in 1992. 

Then there are the grand touring automobiles as effectively. GT3-spec automobiles compete within the FIA GT World Cup, which can be again for the primary time since 2019. Final yr, when it held GT Cup standing with a decreased worldwide entry, Maro Engel added to his 2014 and 2015 victories in a Mercedes-AMG GT3. So it’s an occasion for all disciplines of motor racing, and right here is all the things to know concerning the Macau GP.

Photograph by: Macau GP

Engel triumphed on the slender avenue monitor within the Macau GT Cup race in 2022

Historical past of the Macau Grand Prix 

The Macau GP made its debut in 1954, however initially it was simply an newbie race held for native motor fanatics. It was not till 12 years later {that a} skilled workforce entered when Mauro Bianchi gained for Alpine-Renault.  

His victory led to elevated publicity of the occasion and the next yr the motorbike race was launched. It was gained by Hiroshi Hasegawa, however the occasion was clouded by tragedy. 

Arsenio Laurel, two-time winner of the grand prix in 1962-63, misplaced management of his Lotus 41 and hit the circuit’s sea wall to keep away from hitting spectators. His automotive burst into flames upon influence and he died earlier than marshals arrived on the scene. 

Laurel was the Macau GP’s first tragedy, demonstrating its risks. The motorsport neighborhood was shaken, but the occasion returned for an additional yr. 

In 1968, John MacDonald grew to become the primary – and nonetheless solely – driver to have gained the occasion on each two and 4 wheels. In subsequent years because the occasion grew in reputation, so did the variety of fatalities. 5 rivals had been killed in the course of the Seventies, together with quite a lot of spectators in 1974 when Dieter Glemser’s spinning automotive ploughed right into a largely unprotected crowd.  

Nevertheless the occasion was not cancelled and 1983 noticed the introduction of F3 automobiles following Formulation Pacific’s demise. Initially, organisers had focused F2 automobiles, however main circuit modifications to accommodate them would have been wanted – reducing down bushes, for instance – and organisers had been unwilling to do make the modifications. 

F3 automobiles had been as an alternative adopted for the race, kickstarting a brand new period for the occasion with many future big-name drivers partaking. It shortly grew to become a must-do race for younger drivers with aspirations of reaching F1, heightening the occasion’s popularity much more. 

Senna won the first edition of the Macau GP held to F3 rules in 1983 aboard a WSR-run Ralt

Photograph by: Motorsport Images

Senna gained the primary version of the Macau GP held to F3 guidelines in 1983 aboard a WSR-run Ralt

Nevertheless, fatalities continued to blight the occasion. In 2000, a brake failure on Frans Verschuur’s Renault Megane triggered him to plunge into the tyre barrier earlier than crashing right into a parked automotive, truck and quite a few pedestrians, one in all whom was killed, whereas the motive force escaped with again and leg accidents. 

Security enhancements inevitably adopted. That proved lucky for Sophia Floersch, who sustained a spinal fracture after a horrifying accident in 2018. After clouting Jehan Daruvala, who slowed for incorrectly waved yellow flags on the method to the tight Lisboa right-hander, Floersch’s broken automotive spun into the barrier then was catapulted into the air upon hanging a sausage kerb. She clipped the highest of Sho Tsuboi’s automotive earlier than going via the catch-fencing past the apex. 

Sausage kerbs had been launched the yr earlier than to handle monitor limits, however appeared to have been a key consider stopping Floersch T-boning Tsuboi’s automotive. A number of years prior, organisers had additionally elevated the peak of the fencing she hit, which proved essential in absorbing the crash’s power. 

The distinguished race continued at a home degree within the subsequent years due to COVID-19. From 2020 to 2022, Chinese language F4 automobiles competed within the Macau GP whereas the bike race was not held. However the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in China has paved the way in which for F3 to return, and a three-year deal was signed with the FIA was agreed earlier this yr.

F1 drivers to have gained the Macau Grand Prix 

The Macau GP has been gained by 15 drivers to have began an F1 grand prix, two of which grew to become world champions.  

Ayrton Senna took the chequered flag within the inaugural F3 Macau GP in 1983, whereas a 21-year-old Michael Schumacher took a controversial win in 1990. He arrived because the German F3 champion whereas his future F1 rival Mika Hakkinen was the British champion. 

The 2 had been a reduce aside that weekend, and Hakkinen beat Schumacher by 2.7 seconds within the first race. This meant he simply wanted to complete inside 2.7 seconds of the German within the second leg, because the winner was decided by combining the entire time from each races. 

Hakkinen and Schumacher famously clashed at Macau in 1990 as the latter took victory

Photograph by: Sutton Photos

Hakkinen and Schumacher famously clashed at Macau in 1990 because the latter took victory

Within the second race, the Finn tried to play it secure behind Schumacher, however was a lot faster and tried a cross on the ultimate lap. However when Schumacher moved throughout, the West Surrey Ralt struck Schumacher’s rear and spun into the obstacles. That left Schumacher’s WTS Reynard to say the victory, regardless of crossing the road with out a rear wing. It’s seen as an incident that fuelled their heated rivalry all through the Nineteen Nineties.  

Archive: When Schumacher and Hakkinen battled in Macau

Senna’s victory, in the meantime, was a lot much less contentious. He dominated the primary race from pole to take victory by six seconds, earlier than doubling up within the second operating. Schumacher and Senna every gained the race solely as soon as on their means up the ranks, with Vern Schuppan, Ricciardo Patrese and Geoff Lees the one drivers to achieve F1 after a number of Macau GP wins. MacDonald holds the file for essentially the most Macau GP wins, with 4.

A number of energetic F1 drivers have competed within the race, however with out successful it. Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris competed in 2014, 2015 and 2017 respectively, whereas the three-time F1 champion is the one one of many trio to not have stood on the rostrum.

F1 Drivers to have gained the Macau Grand Prix Years
Dieter Quester 1970
Vern Schuppan 1974, 1976
Riccardo Patrese 1977-78
Geoff Lees 1979-80
Roberto Moreno 1982
Ayrton Senna 1983
Mauricio Gugelmin 1985
Martin Donnelly 1987
David Brabham 1989
Michael Schumacher 1990
David Coulthard 1991
Ralf Schumacher 1995
Ralph Firman 1996
Takuma Sato 2001
Lucas di Grassi 2005

Macau Grand Prix Circuit

The Macau GP is held on the Guia Circuit, which is famend for being one of many world’s hardest tracks. With its lengthy straights, tight corners, bumpy asphalt and uncompromising obstacles, Guia has all the standard traits of a avenue circuit.  

This in fact means overtaking alternatives are restricted. The perfect alternative is at Lisboa Bend.

The Lisboa right-hander is one of the best overtaking spots on the track. Robert Kubica leads Lucas di Grassi in 2005

Photograph by: Mark Capilitan

The Lisboa right-hander is without doubt one of the finest overtaking spots on the monitor. Robert Kubica leads Lucas di Grassi in 2005

However though overtaking alternatives are restricted, it’s considered a real take a look at for drivers. With over 30 metres between its highest and lowest level, the format has been left largely unmodified since 1957. 

Friday favorite: Augusto Farfus explains the magic of Macau

Like again then, there are 24 turns with a twisty center sector comprising 13 corners. Drivers then should weigh on the anchors for the downhill 180-degree Melco Hairpin, the circuit’s narrowest level at simply seven metres, which makes it a chosen no-overtaking zone.

Two 90-degree right-handers take drivers to the end line, which Ferdinand Habsburg crossed on three wheels in 2017 after an tried transfer on Sergio Sette Camara at R-Bend ended with each within the wall and let Dan Ticktum snatch the victory.  

Juri Vips presently holds the lap file for F3 automobiles after setting a 2m06.317s time in 2019, which is slower than all however one (Pepe Marti at Spa-Francorchamps) of the pole instances from the 2023 FIA F3 championship. 

Who’s competing within the 2023 Macau Grand Prix?

Group Quantity Driver Present Collection
Trident Motorsport 1 Richard Verschoor Formulation 2
Trident Motorsport 2 Roman Stanek Formulation 2
Trident Motorsport 3 Ugo Ugochukwu Italian F4
Jenzer Motorsport 5 Max Esterson GB3
Jenzer Motorsport 6 Charlie Wurz Euroformula pen
Jenzer Motorsport 7 Matias Zagazeta Formulation Regional European Championship
Prema Racing 8 Dino Beganovic Formulation 3
Prema Racing 9 Gabriele Mini Formulation 3
Prema Racing 10 Paul Aron Formulation 3
Hitech Grand Prix 11 Luke Browning Formulation 3
Hitech Grand Prix 12 Isack Hadjar Formulation 2
Hitech Grand Prix 14 Alex Dunne GB3 
Campos Racing 15 Pep Marti Formulation 3
Campos Racing 16 Sebastian Montoya Formulation 3
Campos Racing 17 Oliver Goethe Formulation 3
Van Amersfoort Racing 18 Noel Leon Euroformula Open
Van Amersfoort Racing 19 Sophia Floersch Formulation 3
Van Amersfoort Racing 20 Tommy Smith Formulation 3
ART Grand Prix 21 Laurens van Hoepen Formulation Regional European Championship
ART Grand Prix 22 Christian Mansell Formulation 3
ART Grand Prix 23 Nikola Tsolov Formulation 3
Carlin Motorsport 24 Zane Maloney Formulation 2
Carlin Motorsport 25 Dan Ticktum Formulation E
Carlin Motorsport 26 TBA TBA
MP Motorsport 27 Dennis Hauger Formulation 2
MP Motorsport 28 Mari Boya Formulation 3
MP Motorsport 29 Marcus Armstrong IndyCar

2023 Macau Grand Prix schedule 

Thursday sixteenth November 
Macau GP Free Apply 1: 9am native time, 1am GMT 
Macau GP Qualifying 1: 3:15pm native time, 7:15am GMT 

Friday seventeenth November  
Macau GP Free Apply 2: 9:30am native time, 1:30am GMT 
Macau GP Qualifying 2: 3:05pm native time, 7:05am GMT 

Saturday 18th November 
Macau GP Qualification Race: 3:50pm native time, 7:50am GMT 

Sunday nineteenth November 
Macau GP F3 World Cup: 3:30pm native time, 7:30am GMT  

F2 racer Verschoor is seeking two Macau F3 wins in a row having triumphed in 2019

Photograph by: Alexander Trienitz

F2 racer Verschoor is searching for two Macau F3 wins in a row having triumphed in 2019

How you can watch the 2023 Macau Grand Prix 

Motion for F3 begins on Thursday, with the primary apply and qualifying classes of the weekend. The second a part of each classes happen the next day, which units up the 2 races throughout Saturday and Sunday.

The grid for Saturday’s Qualification Race is determined by the mixed qualifying outcomes from Thursday and Friday. A ten-lap bout will decide the beginning order for the principle occasion. Sunday options the hotly anticipated 15-lap Macau GP the place drivers will battle to be the most recent title edged into Macau historical past. 

It can all be accessible through Motorsport TV, who additionally live-streamed Macau’s opening weekend. The stream is out there from 7:25am GMT on Sunday, and can be accessed here

However it’s not simply F3 racing round Guia Circuit this weekend. Between all of the F3 motion shall be different races to maintain the viewers entertained, together with the FIA GT World Cup. That may also be proven stay through Motorsport TV, beginning at 4am GMT.

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