2015 Macau Grand Prix
|Date||22 November 2015|
|Official name||62nd Suncity Groupo Macau Grand Prix|
|Location||Guia Circuit, Macau|
|Course||Temporary street circuit|
6.120 km (3.803 mi)
10 laps, 61.200 km (38.028 mi)
15 laps, 91.800 km (57.042 mi)
|Weather||Qualifying Race: Cloudy; air 26 °C (79 °F), track 27 °C (81 °F)|
Main Race: Cloudy; air 28 °C (82 °F), track 32 °C (90 °F)
|Driver||Felix Rosenqvist||Theodore Racing by Prema|
|Driver||Felix Rosenqvist||Theodore Racing by Prema|
|Time||2:10.330 (on lap 9)|
|First||Felix Rosenqvist||Theodore Racing by Prema|
|Second||Charles Leclerc||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Third||Alexander Sims||Double R Racing|
|Driver||Felix Rosenqvist||Theodore Racing by Prema|
|Driver||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark|
|Time||2:10.186 (on lap 15)|
|First||Felix Rosenqvist||Theodore Racing by Prema|
|Second||Charles Leclerc||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Third||Alexander Sims||Double R Racing|
The 2015 Macau Grand Prix (formally the 62nd Suncity Group Macau Grand Prix) was a motor race for Formula Three cars that was held on the streets of Macau on 22 November 2015. Unlike other races, such as the Masters of Formula 3, the 2015 Macau Grand Prix was not a part of any Formula Three championship, but was open to entries from all Formula Three championships. The race itself was made up of two races: a ten-lap qualifying race that decided the starting grid for the fifteen-lap main race. The 2015 race was the 62nd running of the Macau Grand Prix and the 33rd for Formula Three cars.
The Grand Prix was won by Theodore Racing by Prema driver Felix Rosenqvist from pole position, having won the event's Qualification Race the previous afternoon after the on the road victor Antonio Giovinazzi was penalised twenty seconds for a first lap crash. Rosenqvist led the majority of the main race to clinch his second consecutive Macau Grand Prix victory, the first time this had happened since Edoardo Mortara triumphed in the 2009 and 2010 editions. Second place went to the highest placed rookie driver, Charles Leclerc for Van Amersfoort Racing, while the podium was completed by Double R Racing driver Alexander Sims.
In order to compete in Macau, drivers had to compete in a Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)-regulated championship meeting during the calendar year, in either the FIA Formula Three European Championship or one of the domestic championships, with drivers placed high up in the rankings of these respective championships given priority in receiving an invitation to the meeting. Within the 28-car grid of the event, two of the three major Formula Three series were represented by their respective champion. Defending race winner Felix Rosenqvist, the Formula Three European champion, was joined in Macau by Japanese series winner Nick Cassidy. As was the case the previous year, Euroformula Open racer Yu Kanamaru was a late addition to the entry list at Carlin after George Russell was withdrawn from the Grand Prix.
Three drivers who mainly competed in other series outside of Formula Three in 2015 became eligible for the Macau race: British GT driver Alexander Sims competed in the Formula Three European Championship at the Algarve International Circuit round in order to become eligible. Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters racer Daniel Juncadella had to wait until his main series campaign had concluded before sealing his eligibility; he took part in the Euroformula Open Championship, a second-tier Formula Three series in Europe, in its season-ending round at the Hockenheimring. Super GT participant Yuhi Sekiguchi sealed his eligibility for the Macau Grand Prix by competing in the All-Japan Formula Three round at the Twin Ring Motegi.
The 2015 Macau Grand Prix was the 62nd running of the event and the 33rd time that the race was held to Formula Three regulations. It took place on the 6.2-kilometre (3.9 mi) 22-turn Guia Circuit on 22 November 2015 with three preceding days of practice and qualifying. At the start of 2015, the Macau Grand Prix coordinator Barry Bland discussed the implementation of the virtual safety car (VSC) system with race director Charlie Whiting during the drawing up of the race's sporting regulations. Provision for the system was implemented into the regulations and would help save a large amount of time as well as aiding drivers at the circuit's multiple blind corners. Thus the Grand Prix was designated a "test race" for the VSC in order for the system to be written into the 2016 Formula Three European Championship regulations.
The Macau Grand Prix was started in 1954 by local car enthusiasts Fernando de Macedo Pinto, Carlos da Silva and Paulo Antas as a treasure hunt around the enclave's streets. Shortly after, it was suggested the hunt's track could host a professional race for local motoring enthusiasts. The race was first entered in the FIA's international motor racing calendar in 1960 and the regulations were amended to allow sports and grand touring cars to compete. The Grand Prix attracted further exposure amongst professional racing teams following Mauro Bianchi's victory in the 1966 edition. Formula Pacific regulations were introduced in 1974. Since the 1983 edition, the event has been a Formula Three race after organiser Barry Bland updated the regulations. That has seen the Grand Prix's reputation in the motorsport world greatly increase; it attracts the world's best young drivers, who consider the race as a reputation forger. Macau is considered a stepping stone to higher class racing categories such as Formula One, and it has been termed the territory's most prestigious international sporting event.
Practice and qualifying
Two practice sessions lasting 45 minutes were held before the race on Sunday: one on Thursday morning and one on Friday morning. Antonio Giovinazzi set the fastest time for Carlin in the opening practice session with a lap of 2 minutes and 13.829 seconds, nearly eight-tenths of a second faster than anyone else on the track. His closest challenger was Felix Rosenqvist who fought Giovinazzi for the top spot. Markus Pommer was third-fastest, ahead of the Japanese trio of Kenta Yamashita, Sekiguchi and Kanamaru. Cassidy, Lance Stroll, Mitsunori Takaboshi and Alexander Albon rounded out the session's top ten drivers. The session was red flagged twice: firstly for Jake Dennis who crashed into a right-hand wall at the Solitude Esses after sustaining a puncture 20 minutes in, and secondly for Callum Ilott who made impact a barrier at the left-hand turn before Faraway corner with nine minutes left. Two other drivers, Sims and Zhi Cong Li, crashed at Lisboa turn but no stoppages were necessitated as both cars were retrieved from the track without difficulty.
The qualifying period was split into two sessions; the first was held on Thursday afternoon and ran for 40 minutes with the second held on Friday afternoon and lasting for 30 minutes. The fastest time set by each driver from either session counted towards his final starting position for the qualification race. The first qualifying session had Rosenqvist come out on top with a time of 2 minutes and 11.842 seconds on the final lap of the session with new tyres. He was eight-tenths of a second quicker than Ilott in second with teammate Giovinazzi another thousandth of a second in arrears in third place. Ilott and Giovinazzi held the lead at various points in the session before Rosenqvist's last lap effort. Sam MacLeod improved on his last lap to finish fourth after four new tyres were installed at his pit stop. On his last timed lap, Juncadella recovered from an earlier free practice gearbox problem to place provisionally fifth. Having been in contention, Pommer finished sixth, with Sekiguci and Mikkel Jensen in close proximity on the time sheets. Gustavo Menezes and Sims rounded out the top ten. Following them were Charles Leclerc, Kanamaru with Stroll and Arjun Maini provisionally lining up on the seventh row of the grid. Alessio Lorandi was next up ahead of Dennis–whose air restrictor fell off his car and then suffered gearbox issues–Dorian Boccolacci, Yamashita, Santino Ferrucci and Cassidy. The rest of the order was completed by Albon, Sérgio Sette Câmara, Martin Cao, Ryan Tveter, Takaboshi, Matt Solomon, Zhi Cong Li and Wing Chung Chang. The session passed relatively smoothly, with only Sette Câmara crashing into a barrier, and then stopping at San Francisco Hill to prevent further damage by driving back to the pit lane.
In the second 45-minute practice session, Pommer fought with Rosenqvist and Leclerc for the top spot until the former set a benchmark past the midpoint of the session and the time he set of 2 minutes and 11.102 (which was the fastest of the race meeting at that point) remained fastest until the conclusion of the second practice session. Rosenqvist followed three-tenths of a second adrift in second while Leclerc continued his progression up the time sheets to place third. Giovinazzi was the last driver to be within one second of the pace set by Pommer's in fourth. Stroll, Juncadella, Dennis, Jensen and the British pairing of MacLeod and Ilott composed positions six to ten. Three crashes occurred during the session as Stroll went straight into a barrier at the Melco hairpin and Boccalacci triggered the session's sole stoppage with an driver error that heavily damaged his car against a wall at the exit of San Francisco Bend. Cao lost control of his vehicle at Paiol corner and damaged his right-hand side suspension in an impact with a barrier but managed to limp back to the pit lane for repairs.
The second qualifying session was delayed due to multiple crashes during qualifying for the FIA GT World Cup support race. When the session did begin and before any competitor could record a timed lap, the first of two red flags was waved for Ilott who hit a barrier exiting the San Francisco Bend. Later Melco hairpin was blocked when Menezes attempted to return to pit lane after a driver error at Moorish turn. He could not get enough steering lock and understeered into a wall. Lorandi could not react quickly enough and ploughed into Menezes's rear. Lorandi's rear in turn was hit by a Signature car. Rosenqvist continued his strong form from Thursday's qualifying and set the pace again before Leclerc usurped his time halfway through. Rosenqvist had new tyres installed and returned to the top. He later improved with a lap of 2 minutes and 10.474 seconds in response to Juncadella getting close to his pace. The session was abandoned with four minutes remaining when Giovinazzi crashed at the left-hand corner before Maternity Bend. Thus, Rosenqvist took pole position by 0.213 seconds from Juncadella. Leclerc moved up eight from his provisional grid position to start third and was the best placed rookie driver. Giovinazzi dropped from third to fourth. Pommer was in the top three for most of the session before finishing fifth. However he incurred a two-place grid penalty for impeding another car during qualifying. MacLeod and Sette Câmara consequently inherited fifth and sixth as a result of Pommer's penalty. Pommer was ahead of a close trio of cars driven by Macau rookies. Maini, Lorandi and Stroll were the three drivers who rounded out the top ten. The sixth row was adorned by the Mücke Motorsport cars of Ferrucci and Jensen. The rest of the grid lined up as the British duo of Sims and Dennis, Albon, Sekiguchi, Tveter, Ilott, the Japanese pair of Kanamaru and Takaboshi, Chang, Cao, Yamashita, Cassidy, Menezes, Boccolacci, Solomon and Zhi.
The qualifying race to set the grid order for the main race started at 13:45 Macau Standard Time (UTC+08:00) on 21 November. Weather conditions at the start were dry and cloudy with an air temperature of 26 °C (79 °F) and a track temperature at 27 °C (81 °F). On the grid, Rosenqvist made a clean getaway to lead the field heading into Lisboa corner with Juncadella slotting behind in second position. Giovinazzi made a similarly good start and passed Leclerc for third and attempted an overtaking manoeuvre on Juncadella. By the time the two reached the turn's braking area, Giovinazzi muscled himself to the inside of Juncadella and his front-right tyre made contact with Juncadellla's left-rear wheel. Juncadella was sent spinning across the track and into the inside barrier. Tveter battled Dennis for position but had no room to negotiate and slammed into the stationary Juncadella. Tveter was hit in turn by Ilott which bruised and cut Ilott's hand. Behind the duo, Jensen struck the rear of Albon's car and the resulting pile up partially blocked the circuit and necessitated the safety car's deployment.
Under the safety car, Jensen, Kanamaru, Sekiguichi and Chang chose to make pit stops for car repairs. The safety car was withdrawn after one lap and racing resumed on lap three. Giovinazzi slipstreaming onto the back of Rosenqvist soon after and overtook him around the outside before the braking point for Lisboa corner to move into the lead. Giovinazzi slid going into Lisboa corner but regained control of his car. Zhi become another retiree as he crashed at Police turn after the restart. Sims passed Sette Câmara and then MacLeod driving towards Lisboa turn to claim fourth on the fourth lap. He began to focus on lowering the time deficit to the leading trio of cars with consecutive fastest laps. At the front, Giovinazzi extended his lead to one and a half seconds and drew clear from Rosenqvist. Ferrucci passed Maini and Lorandi to settle for seventh by its conclusion. Giovinazzi struggled for grip, and Rosenqvist reduced his lead to eight-tenths of a second by the start of the final lap. Rosenqvist then slipstreamed up behind Giovinazzi driving towards Lisboa corner.
Rosenqvist moved out of the slipstream but made an error at the Melco hairpin after over-adjusting his brake bias to compensate for brake locking. Leclerc closer to within half a second of Rosenqvist although he could not draw close enough to challenge him. Giovinazzi opened up a 1.9 second lead and maintained it to finish first on the road. Soon after Giovinazzi incurred a drive-through penalty for his role in the Juncadella clash on the first lap. This subsequently increased to a 20-second time penalty and Giovnazzi was demoted to tenth. After the race, his team discussed the penalty with the stewards who decided that no change was required. Thus, Rosenqvist took the qualifying race victory and pole position for the Grand Prix itself. He was joined on the grid's front row by Leclerc, while Sims completed the podium. Behind him, MacLeod finished fourth, ahead of a close up consisting of Pommer, Sette Câmara, Ferrucci, Lorandi and Maini. Outside the top ten, Dennis took eleventh ahead of Boccolacci. Stroll, Cao, Yamashita, Sekiguchi, Cassidy, Chang, Menezes, Kanamaru, Solomon and Jensen rounded out the top twenty-two classified finishers.
The race started at 15:30 local time on 22 November. The conditions on the grid at the beginning were dry and sunny with an air temperature of 28 °C (82 °F) and a track temperature at 32 °C (90 °F). Juncadella failed to start the event after his crash during the qualification race damaged the tub of his car. When the Grand Prix began from its standing start, Rosenqvist led the field going into Lisboa corner and Leclerc challenged him. Leclerc steered onto the outside line and overtook Rosenqvist under braking at Lisboa corner for the lead. A slow exit from Leclerc leaving the final turn as he was completing the first lap allowed Rosenqvist to run in his slipstream and turned onto the inside line to reclaim first place. Leclerc then moved into Rosenqvist's slipstream and executed a carbon-copy move from the first lap to overtake him around the outside for the lead. Soon after a large crash involving Menezes and Tveter and Takaboshi at Fisherman's Bend stopped the race since debris was littered across the track. All three were unhurt.
All cars were ordered to park in the pit lane while marshals cleared the track of debris. 20 minutes later, the race was restarted behind the safety car. Racing resumed on lap four, with Leclerc leading the field back up to speed. He could not hold off Rosenqvist who retook the lead through the Mandarin Bend while MacLeod took advantage to move to third by passing Leclerc under braking for Lisboa turn. On the following lap, Sims attempted to line up an overtaking manoeuvre on Leclerc but could not successfully take third place from him. As Rosenqvist opened up a two-second lead, MacLeod was overtaken around the outside by Leclerc for second at Lisboa corner on lap seven. MacLeod fell out of the top three as he slid his car at Moorish corner and made contact with a wall. MacLeod was forced to limp back to the pit lane to replace a punctured right-rear tyre. At that point in the race, Rosenqvist led Leclerc, Sims, Giovinazzi, Pommer, Ferrucci, Stroll and Lorandi. Soon after, Ilott became the Grand Prix's final retiree after crashing at Police corner and stopped at the turn's escape road.
The record for the fastest ever lap around the Guia Circuit was surpassed several times with Sette Câmara lowering it to a time of 2 minutes and 10.186 seconds on the final lap. Leclerc reduced Rosenqvist's advantage over the remainder of the field from about two to 1.1 seconds but he could not get close enough to mount a serious challenge for the win. Thus, Rosenqvist held the lead to secure his second Macau Grand Prix victory. It made him the first driver to win two consecutive Macau Grand Prix since Edoardo Mortara triumphed in the 2009 and 2010 editions. Lelcerc finished second once again, 1.168 seconds in arrears, while Sims completed the podium in a repeat of Saturday's top three placings. Off the podium, Giovinazzi gained six places from his starting position to finish fourth but could not move ahead of Sims. Pommer secured fifth with Ferrucci a further five seconds adrift in sixth and Lorandi took seventh. The top ten was rounded out by Prema teammates Stroll and Dennis along with Maini. Outside the top ten, Boccolacci finished eleventh and Cassidy closely followed him. Albon, Chang, Yamashita, Sekiguchi, Cao, Solomon, Jensen, MacLeod, Zhi and Sette Câmara were the last of the classified finishers.
|Pos||No.||Driver||Team||Q1 Time||Rank||Q2 Time||Rank||Gap||Grid|
|1||1||Felix Rosenqvist||Prema Powerteam||2:11.841||1||2:10.474||1||—||1|
|2||21||Daniel Juncadella||Fortec Motorsport||2:13.412||5||2:10.687||2||+0.213||2|
|3||15||Charles Leclerc||Van Amersfoort Racing||2:14.099||11||2:10.796||3||+0.322||3|
|6||29||Sam MacLeod||Team West-Tec F3||2:13.109||4||2:11.523||6||+1.049||5|
|7||20||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark||2:15.206||22||2:11.721||7||+1.247||6|
|8||27||Arjun Maini||ThreeBond with T-Sport||2:14.281||14||2:11.722||8||+1.248||8|
|9||16||Alessio Lorandi||Van Amersfoort Racing||2:14.314||15||2:11.732||9||+1.249||9|
|10||3||Lance Stroll||Prema Powerteam||2:14.244||13||2:11.794||10||+1.320||10|
|11||24||Santino Ferrucci||Mücke Motorsport||2:14.548||19||2:11.965||11||+1.491||11|
|12||25||Mikkel Jensen||Mücke Motorsport||2:13.757||8||2:12.026||12||+1.552||12|
|13||30||Alexander Sims||Double R Racing||2:13.950||10||2:12.036||13||+1.562||13|
|14||2||Jake Dennis||Prema Powerteam||2:14.332||16||2:12.053||14||+1.579||14|
|16||12||Yuhi Sekiguchi||B-Max Engineering||2:13.744||7||2:12.197||16||+1.723||16|
|17||28||Ryan Tveter||Team West-Tec F3||2:15.700||24||2:12.474||27||+2.000||17|
|20||11||Mitsunori Takaboshi||B-Max Engineering||2:16.249||25||2:12.836||19||+2.362||20|
|21||22||Wing Chung Chang||Fortec Motorsport||2:21.501||28||2:12.879||20||+2.405||21|
|22||23||Martin Cao||Fortec Motorsport||2:15.316||23||2:12.969||21||+2.495||22|
|27||31||Matt Solomon||Double R Racing||2:16.766||26||2:13.736||28||+3.262||27|
|28||25||Zhi Cong Li||Jo Zeller Racing||2:18.800||27||2:14.525||26||+4.051||28|
110% qualifying time: 2:23.5214
Bold time indicates the faster of the two times that determined the grid order.
- ^1 – Markus Pommer was penalised two places on the grid for impeding another car during second qualifying.
|1||1||Felix Rosenqvist||Prema Powerteam||10||24:52.619||1|
|2||15||Charles Leclerc||Van Amersfoort Racing||10||+0.503||3|
|3||30||Alexander Sims||Double R Racing||10||+2.701||13|
|4||29||Sam MacLeod||Team West-Tec F3||10||+8.399||6|
|6||20||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark||10||+13.993||7|
|7||24||Santino Ferrucci||Mücke Motorsport||10||+15.538||11|
|8||16||Alessio Lorandi||Van Amersfoort Racing||10||+16.627||9|
|9||27||Arjun Maini||ThreeBond with T-Sport||10||+17.360||8|
|11||2||Jake Dennis||Prema Powerteam||10||+18.131||14|
|13||3||Lance Stroll||Prema Powerteam||10||+21.872||13|
|14||23||Martin Cao||Fortec Motorsport||10||+25.606||14|
|16||12||Yuhi Sekiguchi||B-Max Engineering||10||+29.468||16|
|18||22||Wing Chung Chang||Fortec Motorsport||10||+36.386||25|
|21||31||Matt Solomon||Double R Racing||10||+1:41.666||27|
|22||25||Mikkel Jensen||Mücke Motorsport||10||+2:00.925||12|
|Ret||11||Mitsunori Takaboshi||B-Max Engineering||6||Retired||20|
|Ret||32||Zhi Cong Li||Jo Zeller Racing||3||Retired||28|
|Ret||21||Daniel Juncadella||Fortec Motorsport||0||Retired||2|
|Ret||28||Ryan Tveter||Team West-Tec F3||0||Retired||17|
|Fastest lap: Felix Rosenqvist, 2:10.330, 169.05 km/h (105.04 mph) on lap 9|
- ^2 – Antonio Giovinazzi had twenty seconds added to his race time for colliding with Daniel Juncadella on the first lap.
|1||1||Felix Rosenqvist||Prema Powerteam||15||36:25.280||1|
|2||15||Charles Leclerc||Van Amersfoort Racing||15||+1.168||2|
|3||30||Alexander Sims||Double R Racing||15||+5.075||3|
|6||24||Santino Ferrucci||Mücke Motorsport||15||+16.863||7|
|7||16||Alessio Lorandi||Van Amersfoort Racing||15||+18.775||8|
|8||3||Lance Stroll||Prema Powerteam||15||+22.546||13|
|9||2||Jake Dennis||Prema Powerteam||15||+24.355||11|
|10||27||Arjun Maini||ThreeBond with T-Sport||15||+24.863||9|
|14||22||Wing Chung Chang||Fortec Motorsport||15||+32.791||18|
|16||12||Yuhi Sekiguchi||B-Max Engineering||15||+34.154||16|
|17||23||Martin Cao||Fortec Motorsport||15||+47.075||14|
|18||31||Matt Solomon||Double R Racing||15||+47.369||21|
|19||25||Mikkel Jensen||Mücke Motorsport||15||+49.240||22|
|20||29||Sam MacLeod||Team West-Tec F3||15||+57.064||4|
|21||32||Zhi Cong Li||Jo Zeller Racing||15||+1:16.973||28|
|22||20||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark||15||+2:00.679||6|
|Ret||11||Mitsunori Takaboshi||B-Max Engineering||0||Retired||23|
|Ret||28||Ryan Tveter||Team West-Tec F3||0||Retired||27|
|DNS||21||Daniel Juncadella||Fortec Motorsport||—||Did Not Start||3|
|Fastest lap: Sérgio Sette Câmara, 2:10.186, 169.23 km/h (105.15 mph) on lap 15|
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