Monaco E-Prix Preview
Last year's race in the Principality was the highlight of the season, can the infamous streets give us a worthy sequel?
Even fairytales have sequels. It's something I realised in 2002 when Disney released the ill-fated Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, and I've never really been a fan of follow-ups since.
And whilst the upcoming Monaco E-Prix will be Formula E's 5th official outing in the Principality, it begs the question as to how it will ever top the 2021 race; the unending three-way battle for the lead between Mitch Evans, Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa went down as a classic, and demonstrated to F1 that racing through the streets of Monaco can indeed thrill. In anticipation for the upcoming race this weekend, I can't help but think that another thriller would surely cement Formula E's reputation in Monaco as being (dare I say it) more exciting than its Formula One equivalent.
Coming in to the weekend, 5 races in, we're no clearer as to who could take the Championship. Last time out in Rome saw a dream double-race win for Mitch Evans, who, after a poor start to the season, will be coming into the Monaco E-Prix looking for that famous word around here - redemption. Evan's lost the lead on the final lap last year, ending up 3rd. Another person to note would of course be the current Championship leader and former Champion Jean-Éric Vergne. The Frenchman is the only driver to have scored in every race so far, and won the Monaco E-Prix in 2019 - a likely favourite for the race on Saturday. Robin Frijns sits just 2 points behind JEV in the standings with a Monaco 2nd place trophy already in his home cabinet - he'll want to do one better this weekend but needs to overcome the 3 year wait since his last top step finish.
One thing to note about last year's race was the level of Covid restrictions in place, particularly in Monaco. The Formula E Covid bubble has well and truly burst, allowing teams and drivers to wander, discover and interact with the people of Monaco, something dearly missed from last year's event. It'll certainly be interesting to see if an increased attendance plays a part in driver performances - Monaco is after all, a place people come to enjoy, celebrate, party. A lively atmosphere on the cards, and the hype that comes after a classic - recipe for an excellent Formula E weekend? I certainly think so.