“Formula One has always been the dream…”
Formula 1 started in the Principality in 1950 in the very first year of its existence. Today, the Monaco Grand Prix F1 race takes place on the narrow city streets, making it the most spectacular and challenging stage of the championship. Spectators watch the show from the stands, yachts and hang from the balconies of private apartments. The victory in Monaco is considered one of the most prestigious of the season for the rider. Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene personally congratulate the triumphant on the podium.
Formula 1 in Monaco is not only a competition of the fastest cars but also the most glamorous event of the year. It attracts VIPs, stars and fashion designers every year. The team’s boxes during the race are visited by film actors - Jude Law, Johnny Lee Miller, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Cameron Diaz, and Michael Douglas. In general, it is easy to cross celebrities by chance in the little Principality during this period.
Of course, 2021 is a particular season for Formula 1. The pandemic has made restrictions to the organisation of races and events, but, nevertheless, the struggle for the podium goes on. Monaco continues to delight racing fans from all over the world with ambitious plans - the appearance of its first Formula 1 team!
The founder of the Monaco F1 Racing team, Salvatore Gandolfo, is an Italian businessman based in Monaco who has been living the passion of motorsports for more than 30 years and managing high-tech and service companies, including Monaco Increase Management company, that assists the young drivers of Formula E, IndyCar and FIA Formula 3 racing series.
Mr. Gandolfo, the birth of the first F1 Racing Team in Monaco is great news but also a big responsibility for the Principality. You will be the image of Monte-Carlo in the racing world. How do you feel about this duty?
First of all, I want to point out that F1 project will be running separately from Monaco Increase and from Monaco Government. On the other hand, the Automobile Club de Monaco, as a competent authority in the Principality, has always been aware of our project and is constantly in touch with us. Monaco has been the cradle to many initiatives, and every serious project must be carried out in a professional way.
How did the idea of the Monaco F1 Racing Team come up?
We saw an opportunity in the new regulations initially scheduled for 2021 and then postponed to 2022 because of the pandemic. Thus, we set up a feasibility study and began recruiting people to work on this project. Right now, we are completing the necessary steps with the Sporting Authority to become a constructor. It’s a tough challenge, and we are aware of that, but we’re absolutely determined to go through all the stages.
These new regulations will put the conditions for closer racing, better competition and a fairer environment for all teams to compete. Does this mean that you will have the opportunity to create a faster car?
We are well aware that in Formula One, nothing comes for granted, you’ll need hard work and patience to get there, but we hope we can be in the game one day and enliven the races!
Will Monaco F1 Racing Team debut in 2022 or 2023?
We are not the only actors in this plan, and the global pandemic has made things more difficult but, for us, our target has always been to have an entry for 2023. This means we have to act now to achieve it.
Mr Gandolfo, you are the founder of the Vexatec company, the producer of sportswear. Have you already designed the team racing clothes? What will be the colours of your team?
I am glad that you mentioned our Vexatec project because it has proved very successful so far. It consists of a range of sportswear and medical gear, equipped with special sensors for professional remote monitoring of body functions. Thus, it has proved to be a valid instrument for sports – including motorsports – and medicine. That’s why it was selected by the European Space Agency, among about a thousand projects, for a mission to Antarctica. Recently, we carried out a successful experiment with the Italian Sports Authority. A few young promising drivers were made to wear our sports gear to get ECG and other functions monitored in real-time. We believe there’s a huge potential in it! As for the colours and design of Monaco F1 Racing Team clothes, they will depend on sponsorship and for the moment, we can’t say what the final colour scheme will be.
Do you see women taking part in F1 racing as drivers one day?
I see a growing number of girls participating in the junior formulas. I believe it’s just a matter of time before we see men and women competing together at the highest level.
Formula 1 race is not only a competition of the fastest cars and the best team strategy but also the most glamorous event. Do you believe that glamour is taking attention away from the sport itself, or instead, it makes it more interesting?
Glamour has always played a role in motorsports. Every event must have its ‘contour’. What is essential is that the two things, glamour and sport, are harmonically blended together in a balanced way.