Wealth Blog

Macau Grand Prix - spot the next generation of Formula One drivers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 3:26pm

The Macau Grand Prix is famous for being the place and race to spot the next generation of Formula One drivers.

Everyone from Ayrton Senna to Lewis Hamilton has faced in the Formula Three event on their way to the top. Veteran of 25 Macau Grand Prix Tim Huxley cast his eye over this year's field to pick the next crop of potential F1 stars to follow.

The top four

First he chose yesterday's Grand Prix winner Alex Lynn, 20, from Essex in England, who drove in Macau for Theodore Racing, reviving Teddy Yip's team who famously won the Macau GP 30 years ago with Ayrton Senna at the wheel.

Portugal's Tony O Felix Dacosta, 22, came second yesterday, driving for Britain's Red Bull. As a Red Bull driver academy graduate, he was unlucky to miss an F1 drive this year. Huxley also rates him highly.

It was not Swede Felix Rosenquist's day yesterday. The 20-year-old started at no two on the grid, but got mangled in a crunch on the first lap, while driving for GR Asia Mucke.

Huxley's fourth man to watch is Tom Blomqvist, 19. A Brit with a Swedish dad, he started at 26th on the grid, but worked his way through the field to finish in eighth position. "That kind of performance gets you noticed," said Huxley.

"I think all four of these drivers could make it in F1 - provided they get the money," added Huxley, GR Asia was again supporting several drivers this year.

Thrills and spills

This year's Macau meeting was the usual mix of thrills, spills and noise. Nobody died, thankfully, unlike last year,  when a motorcycle driver and a car driver did not make it home, but there was at least one serious injury nevertheless.

Mounting costs

What did go up was the cost of the repair bill to unbend the mangled wreckage of cars which crashed, either into each other, or the wall. Being a street track, walls are walls and no more forgiving than they would be if a bus ran into them.

The fact that these guys race at speeds of 230 kilometres per hour around Macau's bumpy winding streets, is a miracle that they emerge unscathed.

As the competition gets increasingly more professional, the combined value of cars in the Macau GT Cup  featured the most expensive field ever to race around the former Portuguese enclave's streets.

The 33 starters represented, conservatively, $US10 million (HK$77.5 million), said Richard Meins, who managed to come up from 20th on the starting grid to finish an impressive sixth.

At least six cars were smashed up. Later in the day, the second race in the two-part World Touring Car championship was stopped twice, due to what looked like a rush hour pile-up, with drivers unable to stop in time to avoid slamming into the blockage in front. Even the best efforts of marshals waving red flags could not warn them in time, due to the twisty course's blind corners. Ten cars bit the dust but luckily there were no injuries.

Safety first

"Safety is done to the letter in Macau, but you're still speeding around the streets of Macau in very fast cars," said Huxley. So is the crowd just waiting to see spectacular crashes, or are they serious racing fans?

"If you listen to the big cheers, they are for really daring overtaking," said Huxley. "It's an incredibly well-informed crowd who go to watch people try to tame one of the world's toughest tracks."