Sophomore Formula One drivers Lando Norris and George Russell won’t be heading to Monaco this year because for the first time since 1954 there is no Monaco Grand Prix.
Many of the F-1 drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, live in Monaco. They will tell you it is because it is centrally located for travel around Europe, and that the weather is nice year round. There is also, of course, considerable tax benefits for the wealthy who live in the principality.
Dutch racer Verstappen moved to Monaco soon after he became an F-1 driver in 2015. British drivers Russell and Norris — racing for McLaren and Williams respectively — both had outstanding rookie seasons last year, and both have very bright futures in F-1.
But neither is in any hurry to move from England to Monaco.
Russell, 22, is a talented driver. He won the GP3 championship in 2017 and the Formula 2 championship in 2019. But last year’s Williams chassis was so uncompetitive that he failed to score a single point and his best finish was 11th.
Russell lives in Oxford.
“I like to be near the Williams factory,” he said. “I like living in the U.K. My family and friends are there. So it won’t be anytime soon that I move to Monaco.”
Norris, 20, finished 11th in the 2019 drivers’ championship with 11 points finishes in 21 races. His best results were a pair of sixth- place finishes. He lives in Guilford, which is about a 25-minute drive from the McLaren factory in Woking.
“I don’t want to move to Monaco,” Norris said. “I enjoy being where I am now. A majority of my friends are in England. It is close to my parents; it is close to McLaren. I like where I live. I enjoy it. If I move to Monaco, yes it would save money (on taxes), but at the same time there are fewer people that I know there, so I would not enjoy it.
“Maybe one day when there is a bigger benefit of saving money I would move. But at the moment, I much prefer being where I am. Being able to go and see my friends, and go and do things that you are not able to do in Monaco because of the various restrictions there. I am happy where I am, but maybe in about five years moving to Monaco is something I will need to think of.”
Russell, of course, would have preferred to have had a car capable of earning points like Norris, but Russell sees a lot of positives in his rookie season.
“From these difficult experiences, not only from a mental side, but also from a team side, I have learned exactly what the team needs from me to improve,” Russell said. “I learned how to try and motivate and keep the morale of the team high in these difficult moments. When the performance of the car does come, these experiences will actually help me because I have had the experience of driving the best car on the grid because I have test driven five Mercedes F-1 cars.
“So, I know what it is like to drive an incredibly good car,” Russell added. “Quite often you finish a test run and you think: Yes, the car is good, and we just need a bit here or there to make it better. The feedback is almost vague. But having this opportunity … especially at the start of the year the Williams was really difficult to drive, and I knew exactly what feedback the team needed from me for them to improve the car. When we do get a car that is nailed and planted, I will be able to go into the smaller details so that the team can find more performance.”
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