The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has declared its support for the Macau Grand Prix this year, just weeks after Motor Race Consultant’s Barry Bland distanced himself from the role.
Speaking to an online racing media Autosport, FIA said that the classic Formula 3 race will be held in accordance with the same tradition of previous years.
“Macau is for us a key event for F3,” FIA Single Seater Commission’s Frederic Bertrand told Autosport.
“As of a few years ago, we have made the relationship closer with Macau to better understand how they work,” Bertrand continued. “We respect the philosophy and DNA of the event […] the idea is to keep consistency and continuity, but at the same [time] they had a lot of changes with the organization on the [Macau] government side.”
The commission member added that with regard to places on the entry list, which will be announced on October 6, priority will be given, as is usual, to those who have competed in either the F3 European Championship or the Japanese F3 Championship, but other contestants will also be considered.
Bertrand also provided details on the proposed multi-round World Cup that is being discussed for 2017. Macau would be on this circuit, which would reduce the impact of a cut in the number of European F3 rounds.
“We are looking at a way to make European F3 a little bit more affordable and for sure the number of events is part of the equation,” Bertrand told Autosport. “It could be eight European rounds and three World Cup, nine plus two or 10 plus one [as it is this year].”
Earlier this month, the Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee (MGPOC) accredited the departure of Barry Bland to the changing regulations of the race, which now requires the involvement of FIA.
“As a result, Mr. Bland has made the decision to discontinue his involvement,” the statement from the entity read. “The MGPOC respects Mr. Bland’s decision and would like to convey its appreciation for his many years of contribution and valued service.”
According to Bland, the reason for his departure was linked to rushed developments from the organizing committee, which had become characteristic of organization in Macau. Despite Bland’s comments however, the MGPOC insists that “arrangements for this year’s event are well underway and progressing smoothly.” DB
F3 race with new status
The Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee announced earlier that the “status of this year’s Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix is now officially elevated to FIA F3 World Cup status.” According to the committee, “Macau has many years’ experience staging major motorsport events, and its organizational skills have received praise from the FIA. The trust established has led to Macau’s selection as host of the FIA F3 World Cup.” Previously, the race was titled FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup.
Promo campaign held in Hong Kong
A grand opening for the promotional campaign for the Suncity Group 63rd Macau Grand Prix was held on Saturday at Ocean Terminal in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui. The Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee participated in the roadshow which was staged by the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) over the weekend.
The event included a number of activities recalling the history of the Grand Prix and Macau’s famous Guia Circuit. According to a statement from the organizing committee, visitors had the chance to get an up-close look at the Mercedes Dallara Formula 3 car which took Spain’s Daniel Juncadella to victory in 2011, as well as a Ducati ridden by the “undisputed two-wheel ‘King of Macau’, Michael Rutter.” There was also a pair of racing simulators present at the event which offered visitors the chance to try out the Guia Circuit themselves.