Macau Grand Prix organizers are reluctant to adopt the new generation of Formula 3 racing cars and are considering sticking with older models prior to next year’s revamp, according to a report from motorsport.com.
The news website suggested the annual racing event may rebrand outside of the current Formula 3 jurisdiction, inviting racers from other series to participate in a separate, non-championship event.
Last month’s incident involving 17-year-old racing driver Sophia Flörsch has reportedly raised concerns for organizers about adopting even faster machines on the difficult Guia Circuit.
Flörsch’s single-seater collided with Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi’s car at high speed in the final hours of the Grand Prix event, tearing through a catch fence at the Lisboa bend and injuring several people. The accident left the young F3 driver with spinal fractures that warranted a seven-hour surgery and an extended stay at the Conde de São Januário General Hospital.
Citing unnamed sources from a Grand Prix organizer meeting after the Macau event, motorsport.com said that organizers were reluctant to adopt certain changes necessary to be classified as Grade 2, because the new-for-2019 F3 cars might carry too much momentum for the Guia Circuit and cause even more serious accidents.
The 2012-2018 generation of F3 cars produce 240 bhp and can achieve speeds of 270 km/h. The new generation will reach 380 bhp and a projected top speed of 300 km/h.
The Guia Circuit’s current homologation as Grade 3 means a maximum possible weight-to-power ratio of 2:1, meaning that the newer cars would need to weigh at least 760 kg, significantly more than the 580 kg required of older cars.
Instead, the news website suggests the Macau Grand Prix might continue as a non-championship event separate from Formula 3, “allowing teams to import drivers from other series for a one-off event.”
However, the Macau government is still understood to prefer to continue working with the FIA, which may lead to a period of negotiation between Grand Prix organizers and local authorities.