Formula One will have a new support race at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, but recent crashes have called into question driving standards in the junior category.
Formula Renault 3.5 has been part of the Sunday race-morning build-up at Monaco since Renault took over the championship ten years ago. But with the French manufacturer pulling its backing for that championship next year, its junior Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup category has been announced in its place on the Monaco Grand Prix support bill.
The Eurocup is open to drivers as young as 16, some of whom are competing in their first season out of karts. With the Monaco event taking place so early in the season, some could have very little prior experience of racing the 2.0-litre Formula Renault cars before taking part on the event at one of F1’s most demanding tracks.
While series for more experienced drivers in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 have run for years at Monaco, incorporating younger championships has been problematic. GP3 made a one-off appearance at the track in 2012, but hasn’t returned following Conor Daly’s aerial crash when he was launched off the back of Dmitry Suranovich’s car.
The Formula Renault Eurocup has seen four cars launched in the air over the past two weeks. Jehan Daruvala landed upside-down on a barrier at Silverstone and moments later Ferdinand Habsburg was flipped high when he hit team mate Ben Barnicoat as the field slowed when the Safety Car came out. The same weekend Harrison Scott flipped his car – again in contact with Barnicoat – and at the Nurburgirng yesterday Anton De Pasquale flipped his car over following a post-race collision. All of these incidents would have been far more dangerous and more likely to happen in the first place on a circuit as confined as Monaco.
There were 35 cars entered for last weekend’s Eurocup round at the Nurburgring. Monaco will not be able to accommodate as many as that, but following these recent crashes perhaps the question should be asked if it is appropriate for the Eurocup’s inexperienced drivers to race there at all.
Jehan Daruvala and Ferdinand Habsburg crashes
Anton de Pasquale crash
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