08 May 19
With round three of the voestalpine European races fast approaching, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship heads for more madness on the glitzy streets of Monte Carlo. Ahead of all the action, here’s 10 things you probably didn’t know about the race in Monaco.
Monaco is the world's second smallest country, after Vatican City, with only two square kilometres in total land area, and with a population of around 38,000 it is the most densely-populated sovereign state in the world.
Tourism drives Monaco's economy, with gamblers flocking to the Place du Casino in Monte-Carlo, but it is now known also as a major banking centre. Home to the world’s largest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita, the principality is well known for its favourable tax climate, closely guarding the privacy of its high-profile clients and residents.
Using a shortened, modified version of the legendary Monte Carlo circuit famously used in Formula One, the 2015 Monaco E-Prix in the seventh round of the inaugural season was the first Formula E race to be held in Europe. Since the start of Formula E, the race in the principality has run biennially, following an agreement to host the all-electric series on alternate years with the Historic Monaco Grand Prix.
At just 1.765 km, the Monaco track remains the shortest used so far in Formula E with a circuit laid out on the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine around the harbour of the principality.
Monaco has hosted numerous motor races, including the historic Monaco Rally and, most notably, the Monaco Grand Prix (and its respective feeder series), which was first run in 1929. Considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious and glamorous events in the sporting calendar, Monaco makes up the Triple Crown of Motorsport events, alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The impressive list of former winners on the Monaco streets include Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, who won six times here, including a record five in a row. For Nissan e.dams Sebastien Buemi, the Swiss driver is the only man to have made it to the top step of the podium in Monaco.
Monegasque team Venturi will be hoping for a successful home race, after scoring just three points in total in three E-Prix since their long-awaited maiden Formula E victory in Hong Kong in early March. Venturi will be seeking to secure at least a podium, with fifth so far their best finish in Monaco courtesy of former team driver Maro Engel two years ago. Nick Heidfeld and Stephane Sarrazin also claimed top ten finishes for the Monaco-based team here in the inaugural season, but for an overall tally of merely seven points. With new recruit Massa behind the wheel, could the team claim its second victory in Monaco?
Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi finished both previous Monaco races behind Buemi after maintaining his second place start behind the Swiss driver. At the last Monaco E Prix, on May 13 2017, di Grassi had more energy available towards the end of the race and used it to push fellow former champ Buemi hard to the finish. Despite his best efforts, the Swiss just managed to keep the Audi man at bay, crossing the finish line a mere 0.32 seconds ahead. Could this be third time lucky for Lucas?
With Monaco featuring on the calendar on a bi-annual basis, rotating with the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique - the new Gen2 model will be making its debut on the harbourfront this weekend. Returning to the shortened E-Prix configuration should provide a representative comparison and show a clear step-up in performance and efficiency since Formula E’s last visit in season three.
In two previous visits to the famous streets of Monaco, there’s only ever been one victor. Sebastien Buemi has earned the right to be dubbed the ‘Electric Mr. Monaco’, as the only driver to have stood on the top step of the podium in the principality. Alongside his two wins, the Swiss driver also holds the lap record around the harbourfront circuit with a time of 00:52.729s set in Practice 2 in 2017. But without a win so far this season - crashing out of the lead in Santiago and suffering a puncture and pitting from first place in Paris - is there one last roll of the dice for Buemi in Monaco?