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F3 teams yet to start thinking about line-ups for Macau GP

by Ida Wood

The FIA Formula 3 teams contesting this November’s Macau Grand Prix have not started co-ordinating their driver line-ups for the race.

After the nine-round season concludes in September, teams have post-season testing (to be confirmed as taking place in Europe) then the FIA F3 World Cup in Macau.

Formula Scout asked F3 drivers this month if they had Macau contracts yet, particularly in light of an FIA F3 round being cancelled that they had budgeted for when signing with teams. None had Macau plans sorted, and it was a similar response from team bosses.

“Nothing is signed,” said Campos Racing boss Adrian Campos Jr. “We still didn’t receive any official notice from FIA, but everything is looking like it will happen. Probably from my side, the drivers will stay the same from the season. And when everything is going to be sent [to Macau], I think that’s when we finish the post-season testing.”

Campos’s F3 drivers are Hugh Barter, Christian Mansell and the title-contending Pepe Marti.

“It’s a little bit tricky because you’ve got this thing you need to work out. Are you going there with all your drivers from this year? Are you going to throw in one of your rookies for next year? Also, somebody might throw someone in cold turkey for Macau who’s done it before,” Hitech GP’s team principal Oliver Oakes posed.

“From our side, the obvious thing is we’ll go with the drivers who are with us this year because it’s kind of the finale of their season in F3. But at the moment it’s a little bit early, because we haven’t had too much feedback from the FIA yet.”

Hitech’s F3 line-up consists of Formula 1 juniors Gabriele Mini (Alpine), Sebastian Montoya (Red Bull) and Luke Browning (Williams).

“The logistics bit is pretty normal, to be fair,” Oakes added. “We have post-season testing, then it’s a little bit of a short turnaround to throw the cars in a box and get them to Macau. But actually to be truthful, it’s no different than the old days in F3 where we were testing all winter and then we’d rush to get them to Macau. And obviously we’re all quite geared up now having done Bahrain and Australia in F3, to be flying away to events very similar to Formula 2.”

Trident’s team manager Giacomo Ricci agreed shipping logistics “will be tight” but teams “are used to” it.

Regarding his line-up, “everything is at the moment open” but “I would love to go with one experienced driver on the free, in order to have some some reference”.

“Priority will go most likely to the drivers who have signed with us for the coming season,” he said. “But I would love to go there with someone with experience, because the track is tough and it’s a street circuit, so quite complicated.”

Van Amersfoort Racing boss Frits van Amersfoort is yet to think about his line-up, and admitted “I’m always a little bit worried in Macau” after Sophia Floersch’s back-breaking 2018 crash while driving for VAR.