Winning the Macau GP is no form guide for F1 future

Macau is known for its casinos but if you are a gambler then you wouldn’t put money on a Macau F3 Grand Pix winner making it to Formula One.

Not since 2001 has a Macau GP winner made it onto the grid of a F1 Grand Prix. Takumo Sato is the last race winner (2001) to break into the ranks of F1. Before him were the likes of Vern Schuppan (1974, 1976), Riccardo Patrese (1977, 1978), Robert Moreno (1982), Aryton Senna (1983), Martin Donnelly (1987), David Branham (1989), Michael Schumacher (1990), David Coulthard (1991), Ralf Schumacher (1995) and Ralph Firman (1996). All won at Macau and went on to have a career in F1.

Takumo Sato not only competed in Formula One but now competes in the NTT IndyCar Series. He won the 2017 Indianapolis 500

A better form guide for future F1 prospects is to look at those that have finished on the podium.

Straight after Sato’s Macau GP win in 2001, Heikki Kovalainen finished second in 2001 and went on to make his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in 2007.

Robert Kubica finished second at Macau in 2004, then became the first Polish F1 driver making his debut at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, replacing an ill Jacques Villeneuve at BMW Sauber. Note, the winner of the 2004 Macau Grand Prix was none other than new Bathurst 1000 winner Alex Premat!

Kubica finished second again in the 2005 Macau GP. Third was Sebastian Vettel with future F1 drivers Kazuki Nakajima fifth and Romain Grosjean ninth.

2009 saw Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley on the podium in third place at Macau. It would be another eight years before he made his F1 debut at the US Grand Prix with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2017.

A year later in 2010, current Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas finished third at Macau.

We have to jump to 2017 and it was current McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris who finished second at Macau to Daniel Ticktum.

Ticktum has now won twice at Macau (2017 and 2018) and was a hot prospect for a F1 seat at Toro Rosso in 2020. However his form has faded badly and he is definately in a ‘re-set’ mode having been dropped from the Red Bull Junior program. He is at Macau again this year and should never be discounted.

While the Macau winners form-book may not be favourable for future F1 prospects, what we do know is that current F1 drivers have raced there. We can look to this season’s Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix grid for the future F1 drivers. What’s more is that there are two very good Kiwi drivers who will make their mark at the 2019 Macau F3 Grand Prix this weekend.

See also: Teddy Yip, the man who made Macau’s Grand Prix – by Mark Baker

2019 Entry list

Marcus Armstrong
Frederik Vesti
Robert Shwartzman
Jüri Vips
Max Fewtrell
Yuki Tsunoda
Christian Lundgaard
Ferdinand Habsburg
Sebastián Fernández
Olli Caldwell
David Beckmann
Alessio Lorandi
Jake Hughe
Keyvan Andres
Sophia Flörsch
Lukas Dunner
Liam Lawson
Richard Verschoor
Arjun Maini
Hon Chio Leong
Andreas Estner
Callum Ilott
David Schumacher
Enzo Fittipaldi
Logan Sargeant
Felipe Drugovich
Dan Ticktum
Alessio Deledda
Enaam Ahmed
Leonardo Pulcini

Benjamin Carrell

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!

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