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Formula E makes its return this weekend to one of motorsports’ most iconic venues: Monaco.
Located on the French Riviera, the microstate of Monaco rests at the heart of motorsports history. Famous for its casino, yachts, and very kind tax laws, Monaco has hosted the Grand Prix since 1929. Formula E joined the country’s roster of events in 2015 and has raced there five times since.
Overtaking is often considered an impossibility, particularly as regards Formula 1. This isn’t so much the case for Formula E. The 2021 Monaco E-Prix was won by a daring last-lap overtake from António Félix da Costa, now driving for Porsche. Last year, Stoffel Vandoorne went on to win it after starting fourth.
It remains to be seen how the Gen3 cars will fare around the gilded streets of Monaco. There’s been plenty of on-track action in recent races – there were 190 overtakes in the first Berlin race alone – but the Circuit de Monaco is famously narrow. Formula E does hold, however, that Monaco is the track the Gen3 car was “built for”.
The streets of Monaco await…👀
We can’t wait to see the GEN3 unleashed around the track it was built for! A model to deliver exciting racing. A car made for Monaco 🇲🇨#MonacoEPrix pic.twitter.com/8uzprxlVvz
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) May 3, 2023
It’s also the case that a driver is yet to win from pole position this season — a fact that turns the Monaco cliché on its head. We’ll likely be in for an unpredictable race if this season’s previous races are anything to go by. Still, it can’t hurt to take a look at the frontrunners for a win in Monaco…
A turning point in the championship battle?
The Monaco E-Prix could spell a crucial moment in Pascal Wehrlein’s championship campaign as the battle starts to heat up. The previous few races have seen Wehrlein’s championship lead diminish; the once so dominant Porsche driver now heads the standings by only four points.
In second place sits Envision driver Nick Cassidy, who has proven himself as someone Wehrlein ought to watch out for. Whilst Wehrlein has picked up only 20 points in the past four races, Cassidy has bagged 68. The Envision driver has steadily closed the gap to Wehrlein with a string of podiums and a race win. Cassidy reckons Envision are prepared to take Porsche on. If Cassidy maintains his current form, he could very well be leading the Drivers’ Championship by the time the chequered flag waves.
Jaguar on the move
Fresh from a win in Berlin, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans is another driver to look out for in Monaco this weekend. In fact, it’s worth keeping your eye on Jaguar as a whole.
Jaguar’s season has been coloured by ups and downs. Sam Bird secured a podium for the team in only the second race, and narrowly missed out on a podium in Round Three. This was then followed by a trilogy of nil-point finishes, the team’s double DNF in Hyderabad a notable low point.
But Jaguar now seems to be back in fighting form. The British team took home its first ever 1-2 in Berlin, right off the back of a 1-3 finish in São Paulo a few weeks prior.
“The [team’s] performance has been solid all season,” Mitch Evans told FormulaNerds following the doubleheader in Berlin. “But now we’re starting to convert it to good results consistently, which is obviously the aim of the game.”
“When you’re in a good position performance-wise, and getting good results, everyone’s in a good mood, everyone’s happy, everyone’s flying on cloud nine,” Evans added. “That can also just obviously breed motivation and a lot of drive within the team.”
Will the adrenaline from Jaguar’s 1-2 propel them forward in the championship fight? Morale is high and the Jaguar powertrain is quick; the ingredients for a win in Monaco are all there.
The other challengers
Don’t forget about Jean-Éric Vergne and DS Penske. The French driver still sits third in the standings, though just a single point ahead of Jake Dennis, who took home second in Berlin. Vergne’s championship position is precarious, but he’s won in Monaco before — there’s a chance he could do it again. In fact, so could his teammate, reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian driver was victorious in the Principality last year. Could we be in for a repeat performance?
Then there’s also Nick Cassidy’s teammate, Sébastien Buemi. The only driver to win the Monaco E-Prix twice, Buemi climbed to the top step of the podium in both 2015 and 2017. There’s potential for an interesting battle between the two Envision drivers.
Here’s when you can catch all the action around the streets of Monaco:
- Free Practice 1 — Saturday 6 May at 6:25 am
- Free Practice 2 — Saturday 6 May at 8:05 am
- Qualifying — Saturday 6 May at 9:40 am
- Race — Saturday 6 May at 2:03 pm
Feature Image Credit: The Sun