The Principality first hosted a motor race back in 1929, and has been an iconic staple on motorsport calendars since. With the all-electric series taking to the picturesque streets filled with so much history for its first race in 2015, we knew this race was going to be special.
It got off to a dramatic start, with the Mahindra Racing of Bruno Senna being launched into the air and over the back of Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT). As well as the Brazilian’s big crash, Jean-Eric Vergne also hit his teammate, Scott Speed, on the first corner breaking his suspension immediately. A Safety Car was deployed and later, among all the chaos, the Renault e.dams of Sebastien Buemi kept his cool to become the championship’s first repeat winner.
Buemi vs di Grassi
Formula E revisited Monaco in Season 3, where Buemi - now a champion - could defend his Monaco crown. He achieved back to back wins and some real Monaco magic, but this time around had to fend off the Audi Sport ABT of Lucas di Grassi to take home the top silverware.
Buemi withstood enormous pressure from di Grassi from pole. The Swiss made a perfect start and soon established a comfortable lead over his title rival, who in turn was easing away from Nelson Piquet Jr. in third.
The NextEV NIO driver had no such luxury, with Jean-Eric Vergne was swarming all over him. The Frenchman was clearly anxious to make a move and stop the front two from getting away, and in his desperation he tried an ambitious move around the outside of the Turn 3 hairpin. The cars were completely side by side and as they banged wheels Vergne was sent crashing into the barriers. Remarkably Piquet only lost third place to the Mahindra of Nick Heidfeld, but Vergne’s car was heavily damaged, requiring the Safety Car to make an appearance.
After the success of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team's tactical gamble in pitting di Grassi early a race prior in Mexico City, all the teams opted to head to the pits for the mandatory car change during the caution period.
This was the prelude to a sensational finish that had the more than 18,000 fans who packed the grandstands on the edge of their seats. After using FANBOOST to briefly open up the lead to 1.6s, Buemi could only watch his mirrors as di Grassi homed in over the closing stages.
As they crossed the line to start the 51st and final lap, Buemi’s lead was down to just 0.4s, but despite having the leader in his sights, di Grassi couldn’t quite get close enough to attempt a passing move, and Buemi duly notched up his 10th win in the all-electric racing series, defending his Monaco crown in the process - going back-to-back. He's still the only driver to have won in the Principality in Formula E more than once.
JEV hits the front
Returning in Season 5, with the championship alternating every two years with the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, we got our first real comparison of GEN1 versus GEN2. Still on the shorter layout, these more powerful beasts showed they could clearly take on the traditional circuit, with drivers super keen to tackle the full 3.337km layout.
Jean-Eric Vergne became the next winner in Monaco, keeping plenty of close competition at bay to lead every lap on his way to victory. With drivers like Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein and Oliver Rowland all trying their luck, JEV put on a defensive masterclass to secure his first win in any discipline around the Principality.
Formula E's best race ever?
However, it was 2021 that really made Formula E and Monaco a match made in motorsport heaven. Now racing around the full circuit, the grid delivered almost 150 position changes - including 28 overtakes between the top six runners alone.
With so many new challenges facing the electric machines, including the steep elevation changes of Sainte-Dévote up to the Casino Square, as well as the Grand Hotel Hairpin and awesome tunnel, Formula E continued to silence doubters and put on an unforgettable show.
In qualifying the field was split by a mere 1.3 seconds, with moves for the lead happening at places around the circuit you would never expect. Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans went for unbelievable moves for first place up Beau Rivage and up the hill before Massenet. However, it was the DS TECHEETAH of Antonio Felix da Costa who converted the Julius Baer Pole Position into a win - celebrated by a top-class dive into the famous trackside swimming pool.
Stoff takes control
With victory so close in Season 7, Mitch Evans tried his best to be the one on the top step the following year with the event now being annual. He started well, getting his Jaguar on pole position. He battled with the other front-row starter, TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein, but the German’s race would come to a premature end when leading the race as his car completely shut off around the hairpin.
Yet, it was the Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne that denied him the win by taking the lead after Wehrlein’s DNF and extending his lead so that he wouldn’t lose any positions when he took his final ATTACK MODE.