Macau (MNA) – For the local driver and motor racing enthusiast Joseph Rosa Merszei there are many factors behind the current state of affairs regarding the declining local motor racing scene.
Although over the years Macau SAR racers have been part of the main races, this year only Mak Ka Lok has entered the FIA WTCC Guia Race.
The FIA F3 World Cup will be contested by the cream of young drivers seeking to make a name for themselves in world motor sport, but with Andy Chang Wing Chung retiring from the scene due to lack of support to stay at the highest level means that Macau was not able to find a new up-and-coming driver.
“To understand this, we need to look at what is happening in reality at the grassroots level of motorsport in Macau”, veteran Macau racer Jo Merszei told Macau News Agency (MNA).
“The ‘Kartodromo de Coloane’ racetrack is the ultimate grassroots of Macau motorsport and it’s essential to strengthen its foundation. We definitely need to do something there.”
The way funds for motor racing from the Macau Foundation have been distributed has been severely criticised by drivers in the past few years. This subsidy has been pivotal in launching the career of promising Macau racers but the way it is structured now does not seem to be succeeding.
“Nowadays, with the current sponsorship system, there is no chance of that happening again (new drivers kick-starting their racing careers). This sponsorship fund has totally lost any positive meaning because now with its current system and rules, the majority of Macau racers are restricted to racing in China”, explained the former FIA WTCC Guia Race and Formula 3 race competitor.
The CTM Touring Car Cup is running to a new format this year. The highly popular race among locals has become a fusion of the “old” CTM Cup and Road Sport Challenge, to be divided into 1600cc Turbo and over 1950cc classes.
Each group of 25 participating cars is separated for practice and qualifying, with the fastest 18 in each group entering the Sunday race.
Commenting on these changes, a Macau Touring Car series racer himself, Merszei said, “We need to constantly question ourselves, analyse and debate if the changes are truly positive. There is also the challenge of adapting to changing regulations because of the short notice with which these new rules were announced.”
“There may be drivers with bigger budgets who are able to invest in having their own race car but even they cry foul when the rules and regulations are constantly changing and monies invested in cars are wasted as the new rules may not permit certain modifications. All these changes drive expenses and budgets up (…) 100 years ago, only kings, dukes and counts could afford to go racing, but we are in 2017. Are we going backwards?”
The Asian V8 Championship race winner is also very critical of the people currently managing the sport in the territory: “Their knowledge of motorsports is severely limited. Their stubbornness and arrogance prevent any kind of communication and debate between the relevant parties. The general feeling is that they are hindering the development of Macau motorsport for their own career advancement and benefit.”
“We all know we have some great people in the Macau Grand Prix Committee and the Macau Sport Development Board but if we don’t use the right people for the right positions we all know these things will just end in tears”, he concluded.
Some 37 Macau drivers will participate in the 64th Macau Grand Prix: 35 in the CTM Touring Car Cup, one in the FIA WTCC Guia Race, and one in the Chinese Racing Cup.