The preview: Q&A on the Monaco E-Prix
On the new Formula E street circuit, the 24-strong field of electrically-powered racing cars will compete on stunning passages of the world-famous Grand Prix circuit such as Sainte Dévote, Casino, Mirabeau as well as through the tunnel at the harbour for the first time. A milestone in the history of the world’s first electric racing series. “We want to bring Formula E to exciting cities with fantastic atmospheres, and there’s no better place than Monaco,” says Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E. “It’s a privilege for us to compete in this prestigious setting. We can’t wait to get there.”
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team races in the Principality on the Côte d’Azur for the first time and fields two Porsche 99X Electric driven by André Lotterer (GER/#36) and Pascal Wehrlein (GER/#99). After scoring two podium results in Rome and Valencia, the team now hopes to score its maiden victory in Monaco. Race seven of the season in the world’s most exclusive square mile is a highlight of the year and an exciting challenge for drivers and teams. The narrow street circuit requires efficient energy management and is unforgiving of driving errors. Run-off zones are virtually non-existent, instead, there are walls and barriers. Total concentration is needed from start to finish – only then can competitors maintain the ideal racing line as they navigate through the labyrinth of curves between the luxury houses and upmarket boutiques.
The streets of Monte Carlo will only close for Formula E early on Saturday morning. For this reason, there is no time for the shakedown – a brief obligatory test on the racetrack. Once the flower pots, parking metres and traffic signs are removed, crash barriers, concrete blocks and high fences are erected to create an immensely exciting racetrack in the picture-postcard setting of the Principality. Then, the lights for the 24-strong field of Formula E racing cars will turn green for the world’s fastest city traffic.
Amiel Lindesay (Head of Operations Formula E)
Third in Rome, second in Valencia – how do the chances for the maiden win look in Monaco?
“It would be great if Formula E followed this rationale. The team works hard and deserves its first win. We want to be there at the top with both Porsche 99X Electric cars. To achieve this we have to improve. Valencia was good for one side of the box, and unfortunately not so good for the other. With one car we achieved our best result of the season so far, the other side fell short of our expectation. We’re doing everything possible to have both cars at the front in the future.”
Was second place in Valencia a confirmation that you’re on the right track?
“Absolutely. That was definitely a positive sign. The pace has been there all year. We’re very fast over one lap, everybody has seen that from the start. In Valencia, we drove a clean, efficient race again, even though it was only with one car, and we underlined that we’ve mastered our energy management. We still have a few things to pull together to be at the front consistently. It would be great, of course, if we can do that in Monaco.”
André Lotterer (Porsche works driver, #36)
You scored the first points of the season in Valencia with a strong second place. Was that a big relief?
“It was huge. I was thrilled with my podium result and I hope we’ve now made a breakthrough with the first points. The first races of the season were very difficult, mainly because we have a fast car and we work hard to tap its full potential, not only in qualifying but also in the race. In Valencia, we again managed to do this quite well. For this reason, I’m heading to Monaco feeling very motivated.”
What do you think about the new Formula E circuit layout in your adopted home and what are your expectations?
“This race is sure to be a highlight of the year. Monaco is well-known around the world, so when Formula E comes to town, it’s not only interesting for avid motor racing fans. I hope that we can showcase Formula E at its best with its combination of sport and lifestyle against this fascinating backdrop and go home with as many points as possible.”
Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche works driver, #99)
In season five, you finished the Monaco round in fourth place. Are you looking forward to returning there?
“Yes, very much. Monaco is a highlight on the racing calendar. Driving on this world-renowned street circuit is always something special. I know the whole circuit from Formula 1 and I’m excited about the new Formula E layout. It’s wonderful that they’ve included world-famous corners such as Casino, Mirabeau and Grand Hotel as well as the tunnel for the first time. This significantly increases Formula E’s exposure in the public eye.”
What are the special challenges in Monaco and what expectations do you have for the race?
“The track has tight corners, steep climbs and very fast sections. It’s now a real Formula E circuit. One lap is almost twice as long as the track we used to drive on in Monte Carlo. This means that efficient energy management plays an even greater role. For me personally, I hope to pick up where I left off in Rome – which was on the podium.”
At 3.32 kilometres in length, the new Formula E street circuit is almost twice as long as the old one from the years 2015, 2017 and 2019. It includes a separate section for Formula E and parts of the legendary Grand Prix track such as Sainte Dévote, Casino, Mirabeau, Grand Hotel and Portier. For the first time, Formula E also tackles the famous tunnel at the harbour. The racetrack offers many chances to overtake and presents a real challenge in terms of energy management. With steep climbs, 19 corners, some of which are very tight, and several fast passages, this course perfectly suits the special character of Formula E.