2017 Macau Grand Prix
|Date||19 November 2017|
|Official name||64th Suncity Grupo Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup|
|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: Overcast|
Main Race: Overcast
|Time||2:12.281 (on lap 3)|
|First||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam|
|Third||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark|
|Driver||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam|
|Driver||Mick Schumacher||Prema Powerteam|
|Third||Ralf Aron||Van Amersfoort Racing|
The 2017 Macau Grand Prix (formally the 64th Suncity Grupo Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup) was a motor race for Formula Three cars that was held on the streets of Macau on 19 November 2017. Unlike other races, such as the Pau Grand Prix, the 2017 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 2017 race was the 64th running of the Macau Grand Prix, the 35th for Formula Three cars and the 2nd edition of the FIA F3 World Cup.
The Grand Prix was won by Motopark driver Dan Ticktum, having finished eighth in the previous day's qualification race which was won by Theodore Racing by Prema driver Callum Ilott. Ticktum led only the final lap of the Grand Prix after Ferdinand Habsburg and Sérgio Sette Câmara crashed at the final corner while battling for the victory. Second place went to Lando Norris, competing for Carlin, while the podium was completed by the highest-placed rookie driver, Ralf Aron for Van Amersfoort Racing.
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 Formula Three record-low twenty-two car grid for the event, only one of the major Formula Three series was represented by their respective champion. Lando Norris, the Formula Three European champion, was this sole representative as the Japanese series winner Mitsunori Takaboshi was not entered for the Grand Prix. It marked the first time since the 2014 edition that the overall champion of the All-Japan Formula Three series did not partake in Macau. Seven drivers outside of Formula Three took part in the race by receiving invitations: they were Formula Two race winner Sérgio Sette Câmara, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 competitors Dan Ticktum and Sacha Fenestraz, All-Japan Formula Three national class champion Ryuji “Dragon” Kumita, Super GT racer Kenta Yamashita and Super Formula driver Yuhi Sekiguchi.
The 2017 Macau Grand Prix was the 64th running of the event, the 35th time the race was held to Formula Three regulations and the 2nd edition of the FIA F3 World Cup. It took place on the 6.2-kilometre (3.9 mi) twenty-two turn Guia Circuit on 19 November 2017 with three preceding days of practice and qualifying. The Guia Circuit underwent modifications following the previous year's racing with several kerbs modified for safety purposes along with the installation of TecPro barriers and the strengthening of recovery protocols for stranded vehicles. After being sidelined by Pirelli in the previous year's edition of the Grand Prix, Yokohama was reinstated as the event's official tyre supplier. Yokohama organised a test session where they utilised the 2017 Formula Three aerodynamic package to prevent any driver or team from gaining an unfair advantage.
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 were held before Saturday's qualification race. The first session, held on Thursday morning, lasted 40 minutes, while the second identically timed session, took place on Friday morning. Sette Câmara set the fastest time for Motopark in the closing minutes of the opening practice session with a lap of two minutes and 14.808 seconds, one-tenth of a second faster than any one else on the circuit. His closest challenger was teammate Joel Eriksson in second and Ticktum followed in third. Pedro Piquet was fourth-fastest and Ferdinand Habsburg placed fifth. The Theodore Racing by Prema duo of Guanyu Zhou and Callum Ilott were sixth and seventh. Norris, Mick Schumacher and Yamashita rounded out the top ten fastest drivers. Jehan Daruvala's session ended prematurely when he hit the barriers at Moorish corners and Maximilian Günther lost a large amount of time in the pit lane as his car needed gearbox repairs. Eriksson narrowly avoided damaging his car when he slid sideways at Fisherman's Bend while Norris regained control of his vehicle at Lisboa corner. Kumita crashed into the tyre barriers at Police corner and this ended the session early.
Qualifying 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 lasted for half an hour. 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 Norris at the top of the time sheets with a lap of two minutes and 11.570 seconds after he improved on his own personal best. He was fastest in the circuit's mountain section but admitted to the press the majority of his advantage was created by installing new rear tyres at his pit stop after struggling to find a decent car balance. Norris was nine-tenths of a second faster than the second-placed Pedro Piquet after he fitted new tyres to his vehicle. Günther was second but fell to third in spite of improving his fastest lap time on worn tyres. Ticktum ended up provisionally fourth and was narrowly in front of teammate Eriksson in fifth. Sekguicki finished sixth, with Fenestraz the best-placed rookie in seventh and he was followed closely in the time sheets by Sette Câmara. Zhou and Yamashita rounded out the top ten. Following them were Ralf Aron, Schumacher with Tadasuke Makino and Habsburg provisionally lining up on the seventh row of the grid. Daruvala was next up ahead of Marino Sato, Devlin DeFrancesco, Ritomo Miyata and Álex Palou. The rest of the order was completed by the Japanese duo of Kumita and Sekiguchi who both failed to register a lap time. The session was tumultuous and was stopped four times: firstly for Kumita who crashed at San Francisco Bend in the session's opening minutes. Shortly after first qualifying restarted, a second red flag was necessitated for Palou who went into the wall at Paiol turn and stopped on the circuit. Sette Câmara went into the barriers heavily at Fisherman's Bend with his car's rear and his crash prompted a one-hour delay before running could resume. First qualifying was prematurely ended with less than two minutes remaining because of Daruvala impacting the wall at San Francisco Bend.
After cracking a bone his left hand, Kumita was withdrawn for the rest of the Grand Prix meeting. In the second forty-minute practice session, Ticktum led the way early on with a benchmark lap time and held it for the majority of the session until Eriksson had two new tyres fitted to his car's left-hand side to claim the top spot in the closing minutes with a lap of two minutes and 12.032 seconds. Ticktum followed 0.110 seconds adrift in second and Habsburg improved late in practice to finished as the third-fastest driver. Ilott was satisfied with alterations to his car and was fourth-fastest with a late lap that put him ahead of teammate Günther in fifth. After his car was repaired by his mechanics overnight, Sette Câmara placed sixth and Norris ended the session seventh. Sekiguchi was eighth-quickest, Zhou ninth and Darvala completed the top ten ahead of qualifying. Piquet swiped the barriers lining the track and removed his car's front left corner but got back to the pit lane. This caused the session's first stoppage as debris was left on the track. A second red flag was prompted when Schumacher lost control of his vehicle and locked his tyres at Police corner and hit the wall. The final stoppage came when Aron went into the wall at Moorish Hill turn.
In the second qualifying session, the first red flag came out when Daruvala crashed at the Solitude Esses complex. Shortly after, Sette Câmara crashed for a second time at Fisherman's Bend and this prompted the second stoppage of the session. Ticktum was the early pace setter before Norris returned to the top of the time sheets on a new set of tyres by being the first driver to go into the two minutes and 10 seconds range more than halfway through. Eriksson fitted four new tyres to his car and found a gap between traffic to better Norris's time with a lap of two minutes and 10.720 seconds. With five minutes left, Zhou hit the wall and came to a stop with heavy damage to his vehicle, causing the session's third stoppage. Norris and Eriksson elected not to venture onto the track at the restart after Seguicki ended the session early by crashing. Thus, Eriksson became the sixth Swedish driver to secure pole position at the Macau Grand Prix.[n 1] Norris was 0.027 seconds behind in third and Ilott was hindered by slower traffic and oversteer and settled for third having been eighth beforehand. Günther dropped one position from his provisional grid slot to start from fourth. Habsburg damaged his suspension after hitting the wall but limped back to the pit lane. Habsurg fell to fifth due to Ilott improving his position and him choosing not to venture onto the track at the restart. Ticktum was bulked by the slow-moving Habsburg but his earlier effort placed him sixth with Schumacher the best placed rookie in seventh. The top ten was completed by Sekiguchi, Sette Câmara and Zhou. Behind them the rest of the field lined up as Fenestraz, Makino, Piquet, DeFrancesco, Sato, Yamashita, Aron, Tsuboi, Daravala, Miyata and Palou.
The qualifying race to set the grid order for the main race started at 10:20 Macau Standard Time (UTC+08:00) on 18 November. On the grid, in dry but cloudy weather conditions, Eriksson maintained his startline advantage heading into the first turn. Norris was slow off the line and this allowed Ilott to move into second place. Günther followed suit and overtook the slow moving Norris for third position. At the end of the first lap Eriksson led Ilott by 1.127 seconds. Sette Câmara got ahead of Habsburg to take over fourth heading towards Lisboa corner on lap two. He then slipstreamed onto the back of Günther and overtook him for third place on the next lap. Habsburg lost a further position to Ticktum on the same lap and fell behind Schumacher who overtook him under braking for Lisboa on the fourth lap. Schumacher locked his tyres driving towards Lisboa corner as he attempted to overtake Habsburg for sixth and ran into the turn's escape to enable his continuation in the event. The gap between the leading two competitors remained stable over the next three laps until Ilott drew closer to Eriksson and got onto the latter's slipstream by the end of the fifth lap. Ilott immediately attempted to execute an overtaking manoeuvre on Eriksson around the outside of Lisboa corner but was unable to pass him.
Ilott remained close behind Eriksson on the following lap and elected to keep back until he exited the Mandarin Bend kink before attempting a pass on Eriksson whose tyres were worn. This enabled Eriksson to cover the inside line and keep first place when the duo were alongside each other under braking for Lisboa corner. Ilott had a large amount of momentum on Eriksson, that at the start of lap seven, he dived down the inside of Eriksson at the Mandarin Bend kink and passed him for the lead. After he was overtaken by Ilott, Eriksson immediately came under pressure from his teammate Sette Câmara. Norris fell to ninth after his slow getaway and overtook Ticktum to move back into the top five on lap seven but then slowed without warning and fell down the order. Ilott opened up an advantage of nearly eight seconds and crossed the start/finish line after ten laps to win the qualification race and pole position for the Grand Prix itself. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Eriksson who fended off consecutive overtaking attempts from Sette Câmara. Behind the trio, Günther followed with Habsburg in fifth. Piquet, Norris and Ticktum were in close formation for positions six to eight and Sekiguchi and Zhou were similarly close to round out the top ten. Yamashita, Fenestraz, Aron, the Japanese duo of Sato and Tsuboi along with Daruvala, Makino, Palou, Miyata, Schumacher and DeFrancesco (delayed by an unnoticed incident) completed the twenty-one classified finishers.
The race started at 15:30 local time on 19 November. The weather conditions were cloudy but dry although some rain had fallen earlier in the day. Eriksson got a fast getaway off the grid and clung onto the slipstream of pole position starter Ilott heading towards Lisboa corner and moved into first place. Competitive racing was temporarily suspended with a full course yellow on the second lap when Sato crashed at the kink going into the entry for Fisherman's Bend. As the field were travelling down the straight heading towards Lisboa corner, the green flags were waved to signal to drivers that racing resumed. This appeared to catch out race leaders Ilott and Eriksson, with Ilott steering into the corner earlier than anticipated and made contact with the front-left suspension on Eriksson's car. Eriksson reached the turn in first position but the damage to his car meant he retired from the Grand Prix after he stopped before the tyre barrier at San Francisco Hill a few hundred metres later. The incident allowed Sette Câmara into the lead with Günther moving into second and the Carlin pairing of Habsburg and Norris inherited third and fourth places. Eriksson's stranded car meant a second full course yellow was necessitated but this was later converted to a safety car since he was deemed to be in a dangerous position.
Ilott made a pit stop for repairs to his car under the safety car while Schumacher had gearbox issues that needed tending to. The race restarted on the seventh lap with Sette Câmara ahead of Günther, Habsburg, Norris and Ticktum. Günther was struggling to get back up to speed and this allowed Sette Câmara to establish a healthy lead and the former came under attack from Habsburg. DeFrancesco was another retiree when he went into the barriers at Lisboa corner after he completed ten laps. On the eleventh lap, Habsburg used the slipstream of Günther and the braking area at the Lisboa turn to overtake him for second position. He set about reducing Sette Câmara's two second advantage over the rest of the field. Meanwhile, Ticktum was putting Norris under pressure. Ticktum took advantage of a four-wide battle which also involved Norris, Günther and Aron driving towards Lisboa corner for third place on the Grand Prix's 14th (and penultimate) lap and executed a successful overtaking manoeuvre by using the slipstream to move into third place. As the leading two started the race's final lap, Habsburg drew close to Sette Câmara going into Mandarin corner. Habsburg's superior straight-line speed allowed him to attempt a pass on astound Sette Câmara around the outside heading into Lisboa corner. Despite drawing alongside Sette Câmara, he did not move into the lead at the turn's braking zone as the latter held onto the position by using the inside line.
As the two cars slid in the mountain complex, Habsburg then attempted to use any openings but he did not take the lead. Habsburg however got a fast exit leaving the track's penultimate turn and used the momentum on the straight linking the Melco and Fisherman's Bend corners to challenge Sette Câmara. Habsburg passed Sette Câmara around the outside for the lead. But, in an attempt to outbrake one another, both drivers braked too late for the corner, got onto the dusty part the track and understeered into the barriers on the outside of Fisherman's Bend. Habsburg ricocheted off the wall and managed to limp to the line, whilst Sette Câmara was left stranded in the tyre wall. Thus, in his third Formula Three race, Ticktum inherited the lead and swerved to avoid hitting debris to win the Grand Prix. Norris finished half a second adrift in second and Aron completed the podium in third having moved up ten from his starting position. Off the podium, Habsburg limped his car which had its left-front suspension deranged to fourth ahead of Günther in fifth. Piquet took sixth place ahead of Fenestraz and Zhou. The top ten was rounded out by Makino and Daravala. Outside the top ten, Palou finished eleventh having moved up seven from his starting position, in front of Miyata and the stricken Sette Câmara. Tsuboi, Ilott and Schumacher were the last of the classified finishers.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and spoke to the media in a later press conference. Ticktum spoke of an "pretty unlucky weekend" for himself before the Sunday race and admitted that his victory was serendipitous, owing to the Sette Câmara and Habsburg crash on the final lap, "I was due a bit of luck with what happened at the final corner. But there are no words to describe what it was like coming across the line." However, he thanked Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko and suggested other teams would not have risked signing him and sought to improve himself, "I think if you are a second-year driver in the Red Bull programme, then Helmut has established that you are bloody fast – unless something else has gone wrong with the team and he cannot quite gauge what the driver is doing." Though Norris congratulated Ticktum for his victory he spoke of his disappointment over not winning, but expressed a desire for a Macau return for 2018 and sought an improvement in his tyre's life span, "I came to Macau to win, and in some ways I didn’t prepare for it as much as I should have done and maybe I could have done – because I was focusing on other things" Third-placed Aron said of his achievement, "It could be said that it was a happy one too, but that's Macau. Macau's always the race that everyone wants to win, and it often ends with silly maneuvers. I finally got the third place, probably a tenth, but it was time for luck to finally end up on my side."
Habsburg spoke of his pride about his weekend and stated that he was "100 percent" unwilling to finish second as he attempted to put off Sette Câmara on the final lap, "I was crying when I crashed, because I knew I’d lost it. and I was wiping my tears away. But I don’t think you can say you’ve lost it when you’ve thrown everything into winning it at the final corner. The move was either win or crash – and for me it was crash." Sette Câmara thanked everyone in his team for supporting him and revealed he lost aerodynamic grip shortly before his crash, "It hurts a lot, it is not easy. But it's a World Cup, it's not a championship. Either you win or you lose, I do not have to get upset about it." Eriksson apportioned blame for his crash on Ilott (who received a ten-second penalty from the stewards which could not be applied since he retired) whom he felt was overaggressive, "Callum crashed into me. He thought he was already past me and he was not; it was his mistake and we both had to pay the price for it." Ilott stated his belief that he was unworthy of being penalised because his car's onboard footage was not made available to the stewards and it reportedly showed Eriksson steering left. He argued that he left Eriksson enough room and stated his belief that he was past the latter before the collision.
|Pos||No.||Driver||Team||Q1 Time||Rank||Q2 Time||Rank||Gap||Grid|
|3||7||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam||2:13.739||6||2:10.810||3||+0.090||3|
|4||9||Maximilian Günther||Prema Powerteam||2:12.619||3||2:11.156||4||+0.436||4|
|7||10||Mick Schumacher||Prema Powerteam||2:14.608||12||2:11.483||7||+0.763||7|
|8||22||Yuhi Sekiguchi||B-Max Racing Team||No time||—||2:11.559||8||+0.839||8|
|9||19||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark||2:13.884||8||2:11.569||9||+0.849||9|
|10||8||Guanyu Zhou||Prema Powerteam||2:14.055||9||2:11.781||10||+1.061||10|
|13||26||Pedro Piquet||Van Amersfoort Racing||2:12.482||2||2:12.050||13||+1.330||13|
|16||21||Kenta Yamashita||B-Max Racing Team||2:14.281||10||2:12.563||16||+1.843||16|
|17||25||Ralf Aron||Van Amersfoort Racing||2:14.347||11||2:12.644||17||+1.924||17|
|18||11||Sho Tsuboi||Team TOM'S||2:15.085||16||2:13.604||18||+2.884||18|
|20||12||Ritomo Miyata||Team TOM'S||2:17.482||19||2:13.721||20||+3.001||20|
|21||20||Álex Palou||ThreeBond Racing||2:17.992||20||2:13.863||21||+3.143||21|
|Did Not Qualify|
|-||23||"Dragon"||B-Max Racing Team||No time||—||No time||—||—||—|
Bold time indicates the faster of the two times that determined the grid order.
|1||7||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam||10||22:18.077||3|
|3||19||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark||10||+8.643||9|
|4||9||Maximilian Günther||Prema Powerteam||10||+9.798||4|
|6||26||Pedro Piquet||Van Amersfoort Racing||10||+10.821||13|
|9||22||Yuhi Sekiguchi||B-Max Racing Team||10||+13.418||8|
|10||8||Guanyu Zhou||Prema Powerteam||10||+14.715||10|
|11||21||Kenta Yamashita||B-Max Racing Team||10||+15.505||16|
|13||25||Ralf Aron||Van Amersfoort Racing||10||+19.371||17|
|15||11||Sho Tsuboi||Team TOM'S||10||+26.614||18|
|18||20||Álex Palou||ThreeBond Racing||10||+32.606||21|
|19||12||Ritomo Miyata||Team TOM'S||10||+37.061||20|
|20||10||Mick Schumacher||Prema Powerteam||10||+37.634||7|
|Fastest lap: Dan Ticktum, 2:12.281, 166.55 km/h (103.55 mph) on lap 3|
|3||25||Ralf Aron||Van Amersfoort Racing||15||+1.763||13|
|5||9||Maximilian Günther||Prema Powerteam||15||+4.463||4|
|6||26||Pedro Piquet||Van Amersfoort Racing||15||+5.141||6|
|8||8||Guanyu Zhou||Prema Powerteam||15||+6.483||10|
|11||20||Álex Palou||Threebond Racing||15||+27.160||18|
|12||12||Ritomo Miyata||Team TOM'S||15||+43.746||19|
|13||19||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Motopark||14||Accident||3|
|14||11||Sho Tsuboi||Team TOM'S||14||+1 Lap||15|
|15||7||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam||13||+2 Laps||1|
|16||10||Mick Schumacher||Prema Powerteam||13||+2 Laps||20|
|Ret||22||Yuhi Sekiguchi||B-Max Racing Team||6||Retired||9|
|Ret||21||Kenta Yamashita||B-Max Racing Team||6||Retired||11|
|Fastest lap: Mick Schumacher, 2:12.651, 166.09 km/h (103.20 mph) on lap 10|
Notes and references
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