Eight races, eight winners and the title race is still completely open: Formula E delivers drama galore in its fifth season. This Saturday (May 11), the next race will be held on the famous city circuit in Monaco, where Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi intend to top the mark of 40 podium finishes for their Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team.
“I am constantly amazed how competitive this season is, how tough it is to finish on the podium and how many teams and drivers are still in with a real chance to win,” says Team Principal Allan McNish, who just like Lucas di Grassi lives in the principality and gets to watch the temporary track being set up every day. “It’s nice to see how excitement is rising throughout the city. Even local schools are involved and putting the next generation in touch with Formula E.” For McNish, qualifying for this race is particularly important. “Especially here in Monaco, overtaking is difficult, so we want to have good starting positions for our race. Daniel, Lucas and the whole team are looking forward to Saturday.”
The race in Monaco alternates with the historic Grand Prix and is part of the calendar every two years. As in the first and third seasons, Formula E uses a short version of the Formula One circuit that omits both the loop around the casino and the tunnel. Instead, the circuit, behind the first corner, Sainte Dévote, runs down to the marina and turns back to the well-known layout past the luxury yachts with a hairpin turn. With a length of 1.765 kilometers, the track is the shortest one on the Formula E calendar.
In both of the previous races, Lucas di Grassi stood on the podium as the runner-up – or more precisely, the rostrum in the Royal box. Perhaps it has something to do with his home advantage: the distance between the Brazilian’s home and his race car in the pit lane is a mere 350 meters. Di Grassi lives in the principality together with his wife, Bianca, and their son, Leonardo. “That’s not the only reason why Monaco has a special flair for me,” says Lucas di Grassi. “The new pit facilities directly at the marina, the track running past many of the places that are part of my everyday life, plus plenty of friends make this race unique.” The Brazilian has clear aims for it: “The championship is completely open. With my fourth place in Paris, I put myself in a good position to attack. We have the team and the car for winning in Moncao.”
His teammate, Daniel Abt, celebrated on the podium in France’s capital for the second time this season, so remaining within striking distance of the top spot in the standings. “I’d like to take this momentum from Paris to Monaco and have a clean race day there. My clear aim is to win the race,” says Daniel Abt, who before his Formula E career raced in Monaco in the GP2 and the GP3 series and also finished on podium. “Monaco is one of the highlights on the calendar for me. I like the track and the special flair.”
Besides the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler factory team, the Envision Virgin Racing customer team with Sam Bird and Robin Frijns races with the e-tron FE05 that has been jointly developed by Audi and technology partner Schaeffler. The British team is currently in second position of the teams’ classification. Following his first victory in Paris, Frijns is leading the drivers’ championship.
The ninth round of the Formula E season starts in Monaco on Saturday at 4.30 PM local time and, as usual, lasts for 45 minutes plus one lap