Callum Ilott Unsure, But Intrigued Over Potential Use of DRS For Macau Grand Prix

by Aaron Gillard
Macau DRS - 2019

FIA Formula 2 British driver Callum Ilott says he is unsure over the potential introduction of DRS for the Macau Grand Prix this year, but is intrigued on how the FIA would implement the system if they choose to do so.

The Macau Grand Prix for this year will run with the new FIA Formula 3 Championship cars, the Dallara F3 2019. The new cars currently run with DRS in its debut season, merging the old FIA European Formula 3 Championship and GP3 Series together.

Following the accident of Sophia Floersch in last year’s race, the FIA and the circuit organisers of the Guia Circuit are making safety adjustments to the circuit, including the Lisboa corner where Floersch’s accident occurred.

The FIA is also considering adding DRS zones within the Macau street circuit to increase overtaking around the challenging and tight circuit. The current F3 cars are fitted with DRS already, but previous generation F3 cars have never been fitted with the device.

Ilott, who has raced at Macau four times in his career, spoke to The Checkered Flag about the potential introduction of DRS, saying that the race is already crazy without the device and doesn’t know what the outcome would be if they agree to implement it into the races.

“It’s already quite a crazy race, I mean with the old cars they were very well suited to that track. I don’t know,” said Ilott.

“At the end of the day, the FIA are trying to make the races safe as possible for us. If they deem it is okay to do it, they should have good reason to. Obviously they researched quite a bit, but yeah it was a crazy race and a bit sketchy anyway without DRS.

“But I think they would add it in a sensible place you hope and not the whole sequence because it would be impossible to go through those bits.”

The British driver from Cambridge has contested at Macau in the last four years with Carlin, Van Amersfoort Racing and PREMA Powerteam. His best result in the prestigious race was fifth place in 2016, but in the qualification race last year ended third overall behind eventual winner Daniel Ticktum and Joel Eriksson.

The FIA haven’t revealed what their intentions and how DRS will work at Macau, if they choose to put the device into use. The circuit presents multiple long back straights, but the run from the start finish line towards Lisboa is often a scene of choas the kinks often catch drivers out during the race.

Ilott in intrigued on how the FIA would introduce the system if they plan to go ahead with it, saying that the drivers already have to lift through the Hotel Mandarin Oriental kink that occurs in the main straight.

“I want to see how they do it because with the previous slip streaming, you already had to lift.

“I already had to lift quite a lot when I was close enough to a guy to make sure I got them at the right point. So the slipstream was strong enough previously.

“I would lift down the whole main part of the straight, go round the left, still lift for the first part and make sure you slingshot pass them, but might have to make a return for this year and see.”

The twenty-year old currently races in Formula 2 with Sauber Junior Team by Charouz, placing himself 13th overall in the drivers championship in his rookie season. Ilott enjoyed his home race at Silverstone where he picked double points finishes, reverse grid pole and a near podium appearance after finishing fourth behind ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries in the Sprint race.

Ilott has competed in Macau in the past four years, but he’s admitted that he would be up for a return to the infamous Grand Prix for a fifth year if it is possible.

“You never know. I’ve been up for it the last four years so, maybe a fifth.” said Ilott when asked if he’s up for a fifth entry at Macau.

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