CITY GUIDE: Monte Carlo

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CITY GUIDE: Monte Carlo

Rolling off the back of a sensational double header in Berlin, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returns to the iconic streets of Monaco for Round 9 of the Championship. Here's a look behind the curtain at Monte Carlo.

Monaco harbour 2023

City state

Monaco is the world's second smallest country - after the Vatican City - with only two square kilometres in total land area. Despite this, Monaco has a population of around 38,000 and is the most densely-populated sovereign state in the world, as well as being home to many racing drivers. 

Rich Pickings 

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.

Casino photoshoot GEN3

Overtaking? No problem

In Season 7, the race gave us 28 overtakes between the top six runners alone, with the lead changing six times. With a final few minutes, then reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa cut Jaguar TCS Racing's Mitch Evans off with a daring last ditch move to take the win. The 2021 track incorporated a modified chicane on the harbourfront, which disappeared in favour of the typical Nouvelle Chicane layout for Season 8. Expect more of the unexpected as GEN3 makes its first competitive visit to the Principality after its Yacht Club unveiling in 2022.

Racing royalty 

Monaco has hosted numerous motor races, including the historic Rally Monte Carlo and, most notably, the Formula 1 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.

Home race heroes 

Monegasque team Maserati MSG Racing will be hoping to double down on a first podium of the season in Berlin. The team, based in Monte Carlo, are heading into the weekend with some recent silverware to display, after Maximilian Guenther secured third place for the team in the SABIC Berlin E-Prix doubleheader last month. The young German driver gave his home crowd another reason to celebrate, as he became the first driver since the inimitable motor racing legend, five-time F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957 to make the podium in single-seaters for Maserati. 

In the past, the Principality has been kind to its home team with Nick Heidfeld and Stephane Sarrazin also claiming top ten finishes for the Monaco-based team here in the inaugural season.


New generation 

As if Monaco needed any more excitement, Formula E's new GEN3 all-electric race car will race for the first time around the streets of the Principality, after it was unveiled at the Yacht Club de Monaco last April.

The GEN3 car was presented to manufacturers, teams, drivers, partners and other VIP guests at the evening event.

GEN3's first season is now 50% complete. The first eight races have seen six different winners for five different teams with only TAG Heuer Porsche steering both drivers to the top step. A total of 10 drivers have finished on the podium and every full-time driver has scored a point, while only one driver - Norman Nato (Nissan) - has failed to make the Duels in qualifying.

Some 18 drivers have led a lap so far in 2022/23 - that's a Formula E record - with every team managing to lead a race for at least a lap. The Jaguar-powered teams have led the most laps - Jaguar TCS Racing 65 to Envision Racing's 64 - but neither lead the Teams’ World Championship. 

Amid all of that, Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein leads the championship heading to Monte Carlo but now just by four points; the closest it has been since he took the lead after winning race two in Diriyah. One pattern has emerged, though, with the six drivers to win this season forming the top six in the Drivers' standings.

Berlin itself saw records smashed for lead changes and race leaders. Prior to the double-header in the German capital, the record number of lead changes – when recorded at the start-finish line – was eight, at Rome 2021, with the most different leaders in a single race being six, not seen since the days of Gen1 car changes in Miami in Season 1 and Putrajaya Season 2. By contrast, Round 7 from Berlin saw eight different leaders exchange top spot some 20 times in 43 laps, and Round 8 saw seven exchange P1 16 times. Not a single retirement in Berlin either, for the fourth time - Tempelhof is the only circuit to see every driver finish a race.

Dont miss a moment

TICKETS: Grandstand seats in Monaco for €30, with children U16 free to enter

If this season is anything to go by, with almost 400 overtakes over the Berlin double-header last time out, and a record eight different race leaders in Round 7, then we're in for a classic. Action gets underway with Free Practice 1 on Saturday from 07:30 local time, with Free Practice 2 from 09:10. Qualifying follows at 10:40 and Round 9 itself starts at 15:00 CEST.

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