Macau reluctant to adopt new F3 cars after Floersch accident
The Macau Grand Prix is edging closer to sticking with the former generation of Formula 3 cars in the wake of Sophia Floersch’s massive accident in the 2018 race last month.
The Macau-organising AAMC is understood to be concerned that the new-for-2019 F3 cars, which will compete in the FIA F3 Championship, will carry too much momentum for the Guia circuit.
While the 2012-18 generation of F3 cars produce 240bhp and can get up to 270km/h with a tow in Macau, the new machines will push out 380bhp with a projected top speed of 300km/h.
The older 2.0-litre F3 cars weigh 580kg including the driver. No weight has been published for the new racers, but with the 3.4-litre Mecachrome V6 engine and halo they are expected to be considerably heavier.
Furthermore, Macau’s FIA circuit homologation as Grade 3 means a maximum possible weight-to-power ratio of 2:1.
With 380bhp, this means the new F3 cars would have to weigh in at a minimum of 760kg, some way over the 750kg including driver of the ‘big-brother’ Formula 2 category.
Motorsport.com understands that, at a pow-wow held in Macau on the day after the 2018 GP, the AAMC was reluctant to make the circuit changes necessary to rehomologate as Grade 2.
Sources from the meeting suggest that there are fears that the weight and speed of the new F3 cars would lead to a much more serious outcome to an accident such as Floersch’s.
The FIA F3 Championship cars would be freed up for Macau – insiders say that F2/F3 series boss Bruno Michel told teams at the recent Abu Dhabi finale that the 2019 FIA F3 Championship will finish with the Russian Grand Prix support at Sochi on September 28-29.
The Macau GP would be run as a non-championship event outside the jurisdiction of Michel’s organisation, allowing teams to import drivers from other series for a one-off event.
It is understood that the Macanese government, which signs off the AAMC’s programme, is keen to work with the FIA, which is thought likely to favour the new breed of F3 cars, so there may be a period of negotiation ahead between the parties.
Older-style F3 machinery – which is still homologated by the FIA until the end of 2019 – will continue racing on next season in three separate championships, so there will likely be no problem filling a grid for the Macau GP with these cars.
The DTM will host the renamed Formula European Masters as a succession to the F3 European Championship; Euroformula Open is allowing in cars powered by the same engines brought in by the FIA in 2014; and the Japanese F3 Championship will also stay loyal to the formula.