The ones thinking Monaco is in sports point of view only known for hosting Formula 1, are wrong. The Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) organises other top-notch motoring events like the Historic Grand Prix (being held this weekend) and rallies for vehicles with alternative propulsion. No wonder that the ACM was interested in the FIA Formula E Championship, the first fully-electric global racing series.
In addition, Monaco is the home of Venturi Automobiles, pioneer in developing electric cars, currently holds the land speed record for electric vehicles and co-owns a team with Leonardo DiCaprio in Formula E.
In exactly one year from today, Formula E will hit the streets of Monte Carlo and that was the reason for Venturi to have a chat with Michel Ferry, who is in charge of the racing programme of the Automobile Club de Monaco.
“Impulsed by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, the development of new energies is a true desire in the Principality of Monaco”, Ferry said referring to the 15th Rallye de Monte Carlo des Energies Nouvelles and the 5th edition of the Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Zero Emission no Noise). “It seemed obvious and logical to be a host city of this new electric single seater championship launched by the FIA. We expressed our great interest from the start.”
Ferry states that the ACM has always been a pioneer. “In 1911 we launched the Rallye de Monte-Carlo to prove that steam or gas powered vehicles were able to cross Europe during winter. Everybody was surprised when we launched in the Formula 1 Grand Prix within a city centre in 1929 and when we organised the first clean-energy rally 15 years ago. Therefore we couldn’t miss this new event: the electric propulsion is part of the future’s propulsions. It still needs to be tested… and tested in competition.”
The partnership is beneficial as Monaco adds credibility to the series while the ACM can showcase their interests. “Going through the famous Sainte-Dévote and Rascasse is icing on the cake for Formula E. This is at least what is said by the partners and sponsors working on other great world championships such as WRC or Formula 1. In a way this may be a recognition for Formula E, but it is also for us the claim of our interest in any kind of automotive competitions. We are both involved in our history and strongly focused on our future through these new engines.”
Electric racing can be experienced differently compared with other competitions, but Ferry believes Formula E has great potential. “I actually think that people will be surprised by the performances of the cars, especially from the second season when each team will be able to innovate and will work on their own powertrains. Car manufacturers such as Venturi already proved the great performances you could get from electric vehicles”, Ferry concludes.
Photos by Venturi Automobiles, Formula E and Automobile Club de Monaco