Explained: Why do most F1 drivers choose to live in Monaco?
Monaco is not just the jewel in the crown of Formula 1 grands prix, it is also where many of its drivers have chosen, and continue to choose, to call ‘home’.
The Principality counts itself among one of the smallest nations in the world, with an area barely bigger than that of London’s Hyde Park, but the lifestyle it helps cultivate is one of the big attractions for some of the world’s richest people to move there.
Besides the stunning coastline on the French Riviera, there is a lot to enjoy about Monaco, and Formula 1 drivers across the eras have chosen to live there, and many still do.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at just what it is about Monaco that makes it such an attractive place to live for Formula 1 drivers and some of the world’s wealthiest people.
The tax benefits of Monaco
Okay, we’ll get the most talked-about reason out of the way first.
It has to be said that there is a high bar for foreigners to be able to move to the Principality in the first place, with proof that all prospective residents must be ‘financially liquid’ at all times, by having a minimum of €500,000 available at any moment.
These requirements are not in place for the native Monégasque population, such as Charles Leclerc, but only around 25% of the approximately 38,000 people living in Monaco are actually from there.
And for those who are able to afford a place in the Principality, the government does not charge any federal income tax at all. Instead, tax income is raised through 20% VAT on goods and services.
Being a Formula 1 driver puts people in a spotlight like few others in the world, and naturally, when they are not at tracks around the world, they will want to relax as much as possible without fear of being hounded by the media or hordes of fans.
“Where you live is about being happy, and there’s everything here,” former Red Bull, McLaren and Williams driver David Coulthard, who has lived in Monaco since 1995, explained on 2020 BBC documentary Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich.
“There’s ballet, there’s cinemas, theatre, within a couple of hours you’ve got some really good ski resorts.
“There’s a great deal of wealth here, and lifestyle wise and security wise, there’s a lot of benefits of being here beyond the often talked about one of course, which is the financial benefit.”
High-profile people in Monaco need not worry about paparazzi following them around their day-to-day business while they are at home either, with professional photography only allowed there with express written permission from the government, making it as secluded as possible for its residents.
Like any house-hunters out there, location is key when it comes to finding a place to live, and for Formula 1 drivers, Monaco has the luxury of being close to the nearest major airport, Nice – around 15 miles away from Monte Carlo.
So, once drivers get back from race weekends, they won’t need to travel far once they return to their nearest airport which, when they are in the air for as long as they are and as often as they are, those hours saved over the course of the year makes a big difference.
On the same topic, you only need to take a look at the scenery surrounding around the Monaco Grand Prix to take in just how stunning the coastline is, too, so there are far worse places to go…
With it only being a short hop across into France as well as the Italian border not being far away, Monaco residents have accessibility to much of the centre of Europe without much hassle at all.
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Which Formula 1 drivers live in Monaco?
A multitude of current drivers live there, including Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Nyck de Vries and Alex Albon, with a host of former drivers also living in Monaco including the likes of Mika Hakkinen, Riccardo Patrese, Nico Rosberg, Stoffel Vandoorne, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi, Paul di Resta and more.
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