May 9, 2019 - 4min read
On Saturday May 11th the ABB FIA Formula E Championship recommences in the glitzy streets of Monaco for the ninth of 13 races in what is proving to be arguably the most exciting season in the competition’s existence.
After a chaotic, rain-affected race in the French capital last time out - and with the Championship wide open - the stage is set for an eventful race in the most glamorous city on the circuit.
Track name = La Rascasse
Track length = 1.7km
Number of turns = 12
The drivers will use a modified version of the iconic Formula One Grand Prix circuit, taking in such legendary racing corners as Tabac and Swimming pool, in addition to La Rascasse (named after the famous-celebrity hang out situated on the circuit’s final bend).
In recent years, Monaco has made a considerable effort to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, helping to counter perceptions of luxury and excess sometimes associated with the principality.
One of the main thrusts of current planning is to clean up the three main sectors responsible for 90 per cent of Monaco’s total greenhouse gas emissions, namely road transport, waste treatment and energy consumption in buildings sectors.
Last year the principality launched an environmental campaign titled “Green is the New Glam” setting out the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels) and reaching total carbon neutrality by 2050.
Since, the government-founded Monaco Energies Renouvables (MER) has purchased eight photovoltaic parks in the south of France. These solar energy stations currently have the capacity to generate nine per cent of Monaco’s annual electricity.
"M.E.R. aims to make Monaco one of the first states to have 100 per cent green electricity production capacity, equivalent to consumption in its territory," stated Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, Minister of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Planning, speaking last year.
The royal family is also taking a proactive stance on the green energy issue. Last week Prince Albert II announced that the principality’s Royal Palace is now being heated by bio-fuel, encouraging other Monagasques to follow suit.
1. Expect the unexpected: Form can fly out of the window in one of the most unpredictable races on the circuit. Will Virgin’s Frijns be able to keep his cool, claim another first-place finish and give himself some breathing-room in the Championship race? Techeetah’s Lotterer – in fine form off the back of two consecutive second-placed finishes will be looking to usurp his rival.
2. Buemi, the old master of Monaco: Former Formula One driver Sebastien Buemi is down the leaderboard in this season’s championship in 13th place on 30 points. However, victory could propel him up the leaderboard. The Nissan driver has previous here, claiming the chequered flag in the last two Monaco E-Prix.
3. Not quite the F1 circuit: Organisers had hoped to use the full Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 layout this year. However, modifications to the track to make this possible were deemed an unnecessary expense, while the FIA (the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) is also said to hold concerns about performance differences between Formula E and Formula 1 cars on the same track. In particular, concerns have previously been voiced about Formula E cars struggling on the rise from Ste Devote to Massenet. A number of drivers, including Nissan’s Buemi, and Audi Sport’s Lucas Di Grassi have previously called for the Monaco E-Prix to use the F1 layout.
By his own admission, BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alexander Sims has endured a challenging Championship to date. At the last round in Paris he was forced out of the race following an unfortunate three-driver crash, compounding a recent run of bad luck. Let’s hope Monaco provides the opportunity and change in fortune he needs.
“I am really curious about what it will be like to drive on the streets of Monaco for the first time. It’s such a historic circuit and I’ve seen lots of races held there on TV, which has helped me feel more familiar with the location than some of the other races. Although it’s tight and challenging, it is much smoother than Paris with more grip. I hope that I can get myself and my car set up quickly for the circuit, and I really hope to do well in qualifying. That is the key to finally driving a smooth race again.”
The 45 min + 1 lap race starts at 3pm (UK time) on Saturday 11th May and is available to watch on the BBC Sport website, Red Button & BT Sport