66th Macau Grand Prix Special | Co-ordinated by Sérgio Fonseca
2019 is a year of festivities for Macau SAR – the 70th anniversary of People’s Republic of China, and the twenty-year celebration from the handover – and under this festive setting we are heading to the 65th running of the Macau Grand Prix.
There is little doubt that the event further strengthened its position as the world-famous sports tourism signature of the city. For this year, it kept the three FIA World Cups and will introduce the new FIA Formula 3 car. Ahead of the event there were a lot of concerns regarding the terminal speed of these new F3 cars.
Even more, with last year’s Sophia Flörsch spectacular accident still in everyone’s mind. The Circuito da Guia is not known for being merciful. However, FIA have run some computer simulations and the men from Paris seem confident.
The new car came with new circuit safety measures, an FIA circuit grade upgrade and a budget increase of 22.7%. The 50 million MOP rise is said to have been invested “in terms of structure”, and “relevant aspects” have been improved to ensure that drivers and riders can keep competing “in a safe environment”.
Unfortunately, in some ways the amazing safety of modern cars and tracks clearly leads to a general mindset that cannot accommodate or accept the harsh reality behind the sport. The event isn’t getting any cheaper but, as safety comes first, thankfully no-one will call into question this massive but warmly welcome investment.
The influence of FIA in the Grand Prix greatly increased in the recent years, but Macau must not forget its roots. The event was fuelled by the passion and deep involvement of the locals, in and out of the track. Its success depends upon the support and, above all, the understanding of the residents. With the big names of the local racing leaving the stage – André Couto, Rodolfo Ávila, Michael Ho or Andy Chang all sit on the sidelines of the event today – and less and less opportunities for the new blood to take part in their own event, the Grand Prix takes the risk of losing interest within the local community no matter how much energy the Organizing Committee is putting on seducing the new generations. One must take into account that preparing the future is creating the future of the event… we all need our heroes!