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Tourism boss no fan of moving “historic” Macau Grand Prix to Cotai

The Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, has poured cold water on a recent suggestion by Macau’s former sports chief that the Macau Grand Prix should relocate to Cotai.

Manuel Silverio outlined his proposal in an interview with TDM News in May, arguing that a move away from the congested streets of the Guia Circuit to the more spacious surrounds of modern day Cotai would reduce the burden on local residents.

While the idea has sparked plenty of discussion on what such a move might look like, Senna Fernandes has now described it as unlikely given the historic nature of the current track.

“I think the Macau Grand Prix is interesting because of its historic track,” she explained. “It’s not just having the car race, it’s having the car race with over 66 years of history in the middle of a historic city.

“You can compare certain aspects to Monaco. People like to go to the Monaco Grand Prix not because it’s the most exciting race of the year but because it’s a very historic race, the track has a very, very special meaning to the city.

“Likewise in Macau it would be a completely different event if we moved it to Cotai, so I for one would not sign up to bring the Grand Prix to Cotai.”

Senna Fernandes did, however, confirm that Macau’s famed Guia Curcuit would see action again in 2020 with the Grand Prix organizing committee – of which the MGTO is a member – deciding last week to proceed with this year’s race.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty but the Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled,” she said.

“The biggest question right now is the mix of drivers – who can come or who can’t come to compete in Macau when it gets to November.”

The MGTO will also look to reopen the newly renovated and expanded Grand Prix Museum during this year’s event.

Originally opened in 1993, the museum was temporarily closed in July 2017 to undergo a substantial MOP$830 million (US$104 million) facelift, with Senna Fernades revealing the museum’s new features will include a collaboration with English wax museum Madame Tussauds.

“You will be able to look at not only the cars but also eight wax figures,” she explained. “This is our first time working with Madame Tussauds, and the wax figures will feature some historic and some current drivers from different forms of car racing around the world.

“We would like to invite many people to visit them when we open the doors.”

Sponsored by Suncity Group, the 2020 Macau Grand Prix will run from 19 to 22 November.

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