Hong Kong - The Macau Grand Prix's street circuit is not to
blame for a teen driver's horrific crash on Sunday, her team boss has said
after the accident raised concerns about safety standards.
Seventeen-year-old Sophia Floersch's Formula Three car
catapulted spectacularly over safety barriers during Sunday's race, fracturing
the Van Amersfoort Racing driver's spine and injuring four others.
But despite the horrifying crash, her team principle refused
to blame the historic Macau circuit, which has been raced by some of the giants
of the sport including Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
"I don't think the accident was Macau-related,"
Frits van Amersfoort told Autosport.com, saying it could have happened on other
"We also race in Pau (in France) and F1 also races on
all kinds of street circuits. Macau is a special track, everyone knows
that," van Amersfoort said.
"The contradiction is that everyone knows the dangers,
but most drivers also say that Macau is the most beautiful track in the world.
That indicates how strange it sometimes is."
The 6.2-kilometre temporary circuit features long straights
with speeds of about 275km/h, coupled with tight, blind corners.
Three racers have died in Macau in recent years:
motorcyclists Daniel Hegarty and Luis Carreira - in 2017 and 2012 respectively
- and Hong Kong driver Phillip Yau, also in 2012.
But Charlie Whiting, race director for the International
Motoring Federation (FIA) which is investigating the crash, also defended
"Macau is not a dangerous circuit," Whiting said.
"In common with all street circuits the incident rate is higher than a
normal circuit but there is no evidence to say that the circuit is
Whiting added that investigators know the "initial
cause" for Floersch's loss of control, but that it was too soon to say
what caused the accident.
As with most urban circuits, the roads are narrow on the
Guia track and there are few safety exits, leaving little room for error.
"However, where cars do hit the walls it is generally
at a very low angle which imparts lower forces into the car and driver,"
"The guardrails, crash barriers and debris fences have
been systematically upgraded over the past few years with significant
improvements in a number of areas," he added.
On Sunday, Floersch's car lost wheels after a collision down
a high-speed straight and then bounced off a kerb, clipping Japanese racer Sho
Tsuboi's vehicle and flying backwards into a hut housing media and officials.
The German underwent marathon surgery on Monday but despite
her ordeal, she has said she is determined to race again.
A team statement said her nerve functions are reacting well,
and that it took doctors more than nine hours to repair Floersch's fractured
vertebra and remove a bone splinter, which was sitting dangerously close to her