Macau makes changes to Floersch crash corner
Macau Grand Prix organisers have moved the inside barrier at the Lisboa corner inwards for this year's running of the event in response to Sophia Floersch's 2018 crash.
Floersch skated along the barrier after hitting the back of Jehan Daruvala's car on the long run to Lisboa, and was then launched over the apex kerb, into Sho Tsuboi's TOM'S Dallara-Toyota and through the catch fencing into a photographer's box.
The car was allowed to launch because there was a gap between the inside wall and the kerb on the approach to the corner, but this has been significantly reduced for the 2019 race weekend - as shown in the inset photo. This should instead direct cars away from the apex kerb and towards the runoff area beyond the corner.
The fencing behind the corner remains in place, supported by a secondary row of fences around the grounds of the Lisboa hotel, but the photographer's box that stopped Floersch's car has been removed.
That is among seven modifications made to the circuit for this year's race, and was also necessary to ensure the circuit received Grade 2 circuit homologation for the first running of the event for FIA Formula 3 cars. Tecpro barriers have been added at the San Francisco corner that follows Lisboa, instead of a protected tyre stack that was in place last year.
Foam protection mattresses are also in place at various points around the circuit, including on the exit of the first-gear Melco hairpin.
Photo by: Jack Cozens
Single DRS zone added
Among other changes, a single DRS zone has been added following the Mandarin corner.
The Macau Grand Prix has new machinery this year, adopting the cars used in the new FIA Formula 3 Championship. It is the first time an F3 car has been fitted with DRS, and Macau was expected to make use it.
Shortly after the start/finish straight the cars reach the quick right Mandarin kink, which leads onto a straight to Lisboa.
The DRS activation point will be on the straight following the start/finish line. Cars will have to be within one second of the competitor in front to have access to the overtaking aid, as per in the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
“That’s going to be interesting,” said FIA F3 Championship runner-up and Ferrari Formula 1 junior Marcus Armstrong. “We were already arriving to Lisboa corner very quick. With DRS I’m not sure how quick it’s going to be.
“I was definitely one of the guys for having DRS because it gives an extra opportunity to overtake. In the simulations they say the top speed will be 285 [kph], but again they haven’t taken into consideration you can often have a 15-car slipstream.
“I think the top speed is going to be really quick.”
All sessions of the Macau GP will be livestreamed for free on Motorsport.tv here.
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