Having had its track debut in 1950, the Circuit de Monaco has been writing history ever since. The street circuit in the heart of the Monte Carlo is not just a special for its location and impressive yachts in the harbor which embellish the townscape.
Next to being the place to be for the so called “stars and starlets” in its peak days, life itself is happening in the numerous bars and restaurants of the picturesque Principality. The French Riviera with its many contiguous smaller villages that are easy to reach by train and bus are completing the picture.
“Monte Carlo is the epitome of glamour, heritage and racing, and the Monaco ePrix is set to be a race to impress”, said DS Virgin Team Principal Alex Tai and he was right. The fifth round of the all-electric FIA Formula E championship had its own creation of a 1.76km long circuit, that has presented challenges with tight corners, bumps and drain covers. Even though the teams and drivers are kind of used to it as this championship only races on street circuits, Monaco still stands out.
For example Faraday Future Dragon Racing driver Jérôme D’Ambrosio, who is living in Monaco. He stated that it was a new feeling to sleep in his own bed instead of checking in at a hotel. Being in a hotel is part of his preparation of a race weekend and he first thought of getting a room. In the end the Belgian stayed home and used his e-bike to get to the track.
Team Venturi celebrated their home race by presenting Farasis Energy (American-Chinese specialist in Lithium Ion batteries) as a new sponsor, alongside the new logos on its car. After the Monegasque businessman Gildo Pallanca Pastor acquired the assets in 2001, he made a strategic decision that the company would focus on low-volume, high-tech electric cars, eventually bringing the Venturi brand into the Formula E championship.
What we see as the Paddock for Formula 1 is the eVillage in Formula E with the difference that it is open to spectators. In Monaco, they got the chance to get close to Panasonic Jaguar Racing, and could for example try a reaction wall or Virtual Reality. Electric cars have been presented and you were able to watch the driver qualifying lottery and also attend a signature session.
The other side of the fun, is those of the citizens and most of them are rather annoyed. During events the roads from and to Monaco are closed, meaning they have to take a lot of detours. Set up can take to two months and then there is the dismantling of about one month, too. “I have all my doctors in Monaco, so for me, it is a nightmare to get to my appointment then”, explained a woman living in neighbouring village.
Although Monte Carlo has its charm, the line between glamour and interference is very thin.