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Why do so many F1 stars live in Monaco?

Monaco is home to almost half the current F1 grid – but the tax breaks are not the only reason why they love to live there

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

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Monaco is considered home for almost half of the 20 drivers on the current F1 grid as well as Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff but there are more reasons than just the huge tax-free benefits that draw them there.

One of the world's smallest nations, Monaco has a total area of just over two square kilometres – barely bigger than London's Hyde Park. However, it is jam-packed with buildings and home to a population of almost 40,000, a quarter of which were born there – Charles Leclerc being one of them – and a third being millionaires.

Despite its size, it actually has quite a few different districts, each of which has its unique style. Monte Carlo is the best known, but others include La Moneghetti, Condamine, Fontvieille, Larvotto and Monaco-Ville, and an average property in some of these areas can cost twice the price of those in London's exclusive Mayfair.

Currently out of 20 F1 drivers, there are nine Monaco residents – Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon and George Russell, who joined them last year. The exact locations of their homes are top secret, but occasionally fans do get a glimpse into their day-to-day lives – such as Lando Norris in his iconic Fiat 500 Jolly or more recently Charles Leclerc walking the streets with his new puppy Leo.

There are also many ex-drivers in residence including Nico Rosberg, who spent most of his childhood there; David Coulthard, who has been a resident since 1995 and used to own the Columbus Hotel until 2020; Jenson Button; Mika Hakkinen; Riccardo Patrese; Stoffel Vandoorne; Daniil Kvyat; Antonio Giovinazzi; and Paul di Resta.

So, what is the appeal of living in Monaco?

Fitness

Many drivers have their own home exercise rooms, but there are enough private gyms around the city to ensure they are not working out alongside another F1 driver. Leclerc, for example, makes daily visits to his local health club.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

However, it is the great climate coupled with the superb countryside nearby that takes training up another level, with many drivers regularly cycling or running on the winding paths or roads through the hills or along the coast.

There are plenty of spas for relaxation too, and several drivers follow the practice of cryotherapy, where extreme cold is used to freeze and remove abnormal tissue. Leclerc, for example, pays regular visits to the Thermes Marins Monaco for that.

Lifestyle

The residential properties may be expensive, but an F1 driver's salary affords places that are opulent and luxurious, most coming with stunning sea views over the harbour, making it the perfect place to hang out between races.

There was a time when rivalry on track meant friendship off it was impossible to build, but many of the current drivers do actually get on – so living so close to each other can make for a more sociable life when they are not on the road.

Dining out in the town – if you have a full wallet – is supreme, with a huge selection of Michelin-starred restaurants including Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse a l'Hotel de Paris, La Table d'Antonio Salvatore au Rampoldi and Pavyllon Monte-Carlo.

Many drivers also spend time on the Mediterranean Sea, with plenty of small bays to go jet skiing and not one but two full harbours of yachts – Leclerc has his own and spends many days travelling around the 3.8km of coastline and beyond.

In the mountains behind the city, meanwhile, those roads that are great for cycling are also the perfect place to drive – and Verstappen, for one, is believed to have a collection of exclusive supercars, including a £2m Aston Martin Valkyrie.

Privacy and security

Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team signs an autograph

Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team signs an autograph

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

It may sound strange, but Monaco actually offers F1 drivers a bit of normality! The unique privacy laws and severe restrictions on professional photography – for which express written permission must be received from the government – allow them to move around without being hassled.

Security is high too – in fact, Monaco is often cited as one of the world's safest countries. The ratio of police to population is said to be seven times higher than in the UK and there are CCTV cameras everywhere, covering people's every move.

Logistics

The location of the Principality is ideal for the frequent traveller lifestyle of an F1 driver, being around 15 miles from Nice airport – which has an extensive private plane network. There is a heliport that can take them there in seven minutes.

And when F1 comes to town every year, of course, the drivers who live there can enjoy the unique experience of being able to go back to their own apartments for the night and enjoy some home comforts during the race weekend.

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team driver Hulkenberg, spoke about the benefits of this, saying: "It's a nice change up to the normal routine. It feels a bit strange to go home every night and between sessions, but it puts me at ease."

Climate

The weather is great all year round – mild and sunny in winter and hot but pleasant in the summer, with plenty of places to cool down in air-conditioned apartments, private pools or the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

The area has its own microclimate with an average of more than 300 days of sunshine each year and in the winter, it rarely goes lower than 10 degrees Celsius, while summer temperatures hover around a pleasant 30 degrees.

Tax haven

We have, of course, saved the real benefit until last. All the other elements make for a great lifestyle but most of these can be enjoyed in many other places too. The one truly rare thing about living in Monaco is the financial perks it offers.

The Red Bull Energy Station in the harbour

The Red Bull Energy Station in the harbour

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Anyone moving in must have financial liquidity of half a million pounds just to apply for a property, and to receive the tax benefits you have to actually reside there for six months and one day of every year.

With from those caveats, and the added condition that French nationals do not receive the tax advantages, the government does not charge any income tax at all, nor does it charge any wealth tax, local tax, property tax or capital gains tax

When Norris moved there, he said he did so for "the reasons you probably expect" and explained: "It's something that obviously a lot of drivers go to do, and especially with how racing is – you've seen it with a lot of the drivers, how quickly things can also go downhill."

Is a race in Monaco the stuff of your dreams? If so, go to moneygram.com for the chance to make them come true in the MoneyGram Monaco Dream Weekend.

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