Formula E Monaco e-Prix


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Saturday 11th May see's Formula back in Monte Carlo for a third time. The race takes place every two years as on the even numbered years the Monaco Historic Grand Prix takes place. You couldn't really put two more distinct events on every other year.

Sebastian Buemi won in 2015 and 2017, I suspect he won't be winning this year but given the season we have had so far who the heck knows. 8 races, 8 different winners, it's like F1 1982 style!

Paris was the first ever properly wet e-Prix, in fact we not only had rain but there was hailstones and beautiful blue sky's as well. What can we expect in Monaco? I have no idea but I will be witnessing my first ever live e-Prix at the "most glamorous circuit on the calendar" (that's what it says on the website). I blagged tickets in the St. Devote grandstand so will try and get some good pictures to share with you all.
hope this race can give good racing. i remember the 2017 race?? with 1st corner pile as the go down the F1 run off. but i worry this wouldve just been what Paris couldve been without the rain too narrow to pass espically with 1st sector & tunnel section bypassed

could be interesting who knows who could win as you say 8 races 8 winners & its not like previous winners are there about. evans 9th 1st 16th. although 1 thing ive said all season is you dont want to be the championship leader because every round something bad has happened to them

How are you finding the glamour FB?? Or are you finding that Monaco is just another concrete festooned dump with a few nice bits, like any other town (with some rediculously expensive prices because it is Monaco don't you know).

I went there in 2007 when I wss in the Navy and moored in the harbour right next to the swimming pool which was pretty good to be honest.
Rowland has his punishment for running into everyone in Paris. gets pole starts 4th. evans in jaguar looks like he in great position for monaco podium & top 5 in championship which would cement jaguar in formula e next season. but i think currently the title is looking between vergne da costa & friyns
I shall do a write up of my Monaco experience when I have a proper keyboard at my disposal. All things considered a very good trip and not a bad race, albeit not as full of incident as some FE races have been.
Thought I'd do a bit of a travelog of our trip to the e-Prix

Myself and Fat Bloke junior set off at some un-godly hour from Stansted airport last Wednesday on an EasyJet flight to Nice. Mrs Fat Bloke had been supposed to come with us but decided to stay home and look after the dogs to save some money on kennels as we are moving house later in the year. On arrival at Nice airport we took the new Line 2 tram to the hotel we had booked in to for the night.

The first day was spent in Nice. It was grey and overcast and not the "Cote d'Azure" we were expecting. A walk along the Promenade des Anglais was chilly and the sea was as grey as the stones on the beach. There was also some significant work going on which narrowed the pavement by the beach so you spent a lot of time looking over your shoulder for cyclists and joggers who appeared to think it was our responsibility to get out of their way even though they were on the pedestrian walk way.

Nice, supposedly, has the most museums of any French city after Paris but the main thing it appeared to offer was not particularly attractive restaurants, shops full of the usual cheap tat you find in tourist traps and dog shit. The main square in the old town is quite attractive but beyond that there is that much to do or see.

Day 2 was a train trip to Monaco. The sun was shining and the sky was a blue as the Mediterranean sea. Trip Adviser says there are trains every 16 minutes from Nice to Monaco but there are three stations. We took the new tram to Nice - St. Augustin which is to the west of the city. Trains to Monaco from this station are every hour, so we waited. We would have gone to the central station (Nice Ville) but tram line 2 hasn't been completed and it is a 2km walk from the closest tram stop to the main station which is not good for my trotters when pulling a suitcase.

The train duly arrived and we made it to Gare de Monaco. To exit the station you take an escalator, a lift and some stairs as it is buried at the bottom of a cliff. What we didn't know, however, is there is an exit on the lowest floor which takes you straight out to St. Devote. More of this later.

I've always wondered what is the difference between Monaco and Monte Carlo. Well, if you have wondered the same thing, Monte Carlo is a district of Monaco and there are 8 districts in all. The AirBnB we had booked was, in fact, in France but to work out whether you are in France or Monaco is almost impossible.

Monaco is built on a cliff so if you don't like walking up and down hills and steps then I would probably suggest not going. That said, there are outdoor escalators and lifts to take you from one level to the next. Presumably the filthy rich don't like walking. There was one lift, I kid you not, which starts in Monaco and ends in France - a lift between countries! The closest I have come to this before was flying in to Geneva airport, taking the wrong exit and ending up in France, then getting a taxi to my hotel in Switzerland and having to show my passport again at the Swiss border. There are no border controls between Monaco and France though.

Monaco is a building site. The entire city resounds to the noise of jack hammers and diggers whilst cranes swing across at all levels. The roads, on the day we arrived, reminded me of The Truman Show as I'm sure the same cars were just driving round, nose to tail, in circles around the city. Junior Fatbloke and I found a Starbucks, had a coffee and then went to our apartment.

The apartment was described as "large 3 bedroom apartment in Monaco". As I mentioned, it's in France. But, it is only a very short walk in to Monaco, in fact down the steps (yes, more steps) just opposite. I won't go in to too much detail on the apartment as it was "cost effective" and there were only two of us so it was no big deal. However, if this is how people in this part of the world usually live I'm surprised there are significant problems with rickets as it was a building in between buildings and had virtually no natural light.

We set off to explore.

To get to the harbour was a 15 minute, downhill walk. Hooray! However, this would mean the return journey would be all up hill. Boo! The grandstands had been erected and as you wandered through the streets you could clearly see road and race track as the tarmac is significantly different. At this time everything was still quite open so we could wander down the hill from Casino Square to St. Devote, past the Princess Grace theatre (movie theatre of course) and then see where the track deviates between the FE race and the F1 race.

The hill from St, Devote up Beau Rivage to Massenet is quite steep, and you don't get much of an idea of this when you watch the race on TV. However, the FE cars would take a hard right at St. Devote and go down JFK Avenue to rejoin the track where the F1 cars would be stopping for the Nouvelle chicane after exiting the tunnel and then on to Tabac (because there is a tobacconists on the corner). Believe it or not the circuit is actually quite wide. I think more of a problem with F1 nowadays is the width of the cars.

Here I am demonstrating how wide the circuit is by sticking my arse out.

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We walked through the tunnel which, much to my surprise, is still open in parts and you can see the sea.


On Thursday, the pitlane was sort of open you could walk down a footpath behind an armco and see what was going on.

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Sam Bird was doing a "piece to camera" above his pit garage.


We then went to the e-Village which had a few things to do including me embarassing myself on an FE simulator, sitting in a few new electric cars and collecting as many free things as we could. We then wandered back to the apartment, via a Pizzaria, before crashing out for the night.

Friday, I didn't surface until midday. As we wandered back down, the roads were still as daft as the day before but there were more people about. By the entrance to Monaco Yacht Club Jean Todt was just arriving by limo. I say limo, it was a Citroen so not that great really but probably what he deserves.


Now the pitlane was closed so we went to the e-Village again and watched the actual FE drivers "qualify" for the sim race. After this they all wandered back though the crowd, signing autographs and glad handing anyone who wanted to say hello. As we went past the pit entrance Felipe Massa was just collecting his kids from his wife.


This was about 6pm, at which point everything in Monaco seems to close. Later on all the bars and casinos are open but in terms of tourist attractions there is very little. We did visit the Japanese garden and go to some of the more obvious places you might like to visit but if you are planning a week or two in the South of France only pencil Monaco in for a day, two at a maximum.

Race day. I recall going to various circuits over the years and as you get closer to the track and the practice sessions are taking place you can hear the roar of the engines and it makes the hairs on your neck stand up. It should come as no surprise that an all electric series make virtually no noise so you never know if the track is busy.

Getting to our stand was a challenge as you MUST follow the right route. The routes on race day are very specific for each tribune so you need to know where you are going. We were in the stand at St. Devote which, if you go to the very top, gives you a view of the first corner and then the run back down from the hairpin to Tabac. Lower down you just see the first corner and there is no big screen on view unless you are in the top two or three rows. We bagged a seat at the top, avoiding the smoking Germans.

Without a screen to view you wonder what is going on in qualifying but then FB junior realised you could stream it all via Facebook so we had live updates on his phone as well as seeing what was happening at the track. After qualifying it thinned out and we tried to find something to eat. However, without going back through security the only thing on offer was Hagan Daz so we suffered through on a diet of ice cream and coffee for the rest of the day.

Between qualifying and the race the organisers put on qualifying for the Jaguar e-Pace trophy. I don't think I have ever seen a car less well designed for a race series, they plodded round the track and I commented to junior that it was unlikely that they would crash in to the Tecpro barriers on the opposite corner to St Devote as they didn't go fast enough. Still, it was a form of entertainment.

Things inevitably got busier as the race time got closer. Having bagged place at the top we were glared at by various Russians who thought they should be in the best spot but we stood firm. As soon as the race started everyone stood up so if you wanted to see anything you had to do the same. Here is the view we had of the first corner, with JEV going past.


And this was the view coming in to Tabac


The race seemed to go on for longer than the 45mins +1 but also whizzed by very quickly. It was quite dull by FE standards but having got used to F1 over the last few years a very exciting race. JEV was a popular winner and Ollie Rowland getting second was a bonus. One disappointment was that the crowd weren't allowed to go and see the podium celebration as they are in other FE races as it was in the Royal Box on the main straight and the e-Pace race still had to take place.

Junior and I didn't bother to watch the wadlling Jaguar ducks race and went off to find food which resulted in one of the best burgers I have had for some time, albeit at a cost of €50 for two. After this we retired to our apartment.

For the Sunday we had some strange travel arrangements. There is not, in the whole of Monaco, a left luggage office. Not even at the station. To make things worse you aren't allowed in the few indoor attractions which Monaco has with a wheeled trolley. What to do? We got the train from Monaco to Nice, left the bag we had at left luggage at Nice Station and got the train back. It is about a 20 minute journey either way so about a 1 hour round trip.

To kill the day we went to the Prince's car collection which goes from horse drawn carriages, through a glass roofed Lexus used for the royal wedding, and a display of F1 cars. It's interesting but only kills about an hour. This left me a FB junior kicking our heals until late on as the flight home wasn't until 21:45.

Eventaully we go the train back to Nice, ate pizza and went to the airport with a couple of hours to spare. You may recall I mentioned about the station and St Devote, well many will travel up to the top of the hill to get to the station but if you walk past the church, which gives corner its name, you can go straight to the platforms.

A note of caution, beware the ticket machines as they offer an English translation but this is only about 10% of the on-screen dialogue. I bought want I thought were the right tickets but we were caught by a ticket inspector on the way back to Nice and fined €49 for using discount tickets we were not supposed to have.

So what to make of the "magic of Monaco"? If you get the chance go and see a motor race there. You are incredibly close to the cars, which does make we wonder why you have to be so far away at a proper circuit. If they can ensure spectator safety when you are 10 metres from the track at a temporary circuit surely they could the same or better at a permanent one?

If you plan to go to Monaco for any other reason go for a day or two and be prepared to walk up and down hill. You can do Monaco on a budget, there are burger chain restaurants and there is a Starbucks overlooking the Station Hairpin. You can spend hundreds or thousands if you have it but it isn't obligatory.


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The hill from St, Devote up Beau Rivage to Massenet is quite steep, and you don't get much of an idea of this when you watch the race on TV.

I remember thinking exactly the same thing when I was there. I don't think the TV coverage does the track a great deal of justice.

Great write up mate.
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