The Monaco Grand Prix circuit will be slightly modified for Formula E’s first race on its full layout, rather than the exact Formula 1 configuration being used.
The Race predicted last month that though the 2021 Formula E race had been trailed as the event when the series would finally get to race on the F1 layout in Monte Carlo, it was going to end up on an altered version of the track because there remains a desire to prevent direct lap time comparisons between F1 and FE.
The FIA says the changes are to make the track “specific to Formula E”.
For its previous three Monaco races, Formula E has been limited to a 1.1-mile configuration that uses a link road to go straight from first corner Sainte Devote to the harbourside chicane.
This time the cars will continue up the hill to the Massenet, Casino Square and Mirabeau section but the FIA, Formula E Operations and the Automobile Club de Monaco have been working on a specially adapted track for Formula E that cannot give an accurate comparison between the all-electric world championship and other series.
The specifics on where the changes will be made are as yet unknown but the nature of the built-up area in Monaco means that possibilities for changes that would actually slow or speed up the overall lap time are minimal.
Monaco-based Venturi driver Norman Nato suggested making Sainte Devote a faster corner for Formula E than F1 could be one solution, or reprofiling the chicane.
“Maybe turn one is something they could do a bit faster but otherwise at the exit of the tunnel there is a slow chicane normally that could be a bit faster for us,” Nato told The Race.
“But apart from that, if we are using the long one then I don’t see so many solutions.”
Should the track be extended then the inclusion of a longer section around the Portier area of the circuit might be considered.
There is the possibility of an additional left-hand turn going into Portier and then a longer right-hand loop onto the Avenue Princess Grace, which then connects to the Boulevard Louis II and the iconic run in to the tunnel below the Fairmont Hotel.
Another possibility could be a more intricate complex between La Rascasse and the traditional final Virage Antony Nogues right on to the curving pit straight.
A hairpin corner could be placed at the intersection of the Avenue du Port and Boulevard Albert I area to create a much slower section at the end of the lap.
Speaking to The Race about the decision to go for a modified full circuit, the FIA’s Formula E and Innovative Motor Sport Projects department’s director Frederic Bertrand said that there had been “huge work done on trying to find the best compromise for Formula E” and that a plan had now been agreed.
“On one side want to keep the specific side of Formula E and not racing on, let’s say, normal tracks,” he said.
“On the other side Monaco is a track which is first of all so iconic that it’s difficult to come and say ‘let’s modify it’ and on the other side to modify Monaco you need to move buildings, which is also not that easy.”
Bertrand added that the increased Formula E grid size was the main reason for moving the series off the short circuit it has used up to now.
“We found some good solutions to make the track specific to Formula E but better than the one we have previously seen, which was for sure too short,” he said.
“Now with the current field, the number of cars, size of cars and the level of the championship and the performances of the cars, it was not suitable anymore.
“We found, I think, a good compromise between the ACM, Formula E and also with the FIA safety department to homologate something which would be an interesting layout.”
Monaco is due to be the fifth round of the 2021 Formula E season on May 8, a fortnight before the F1 GP.