Professional athletes are true wanderers. To participate in various events, matches, tournaments, leagues, they travel continuously for most of the year.
There are some, however, that are more “wandering” than others. While soccer players, or basketball players, for example, are based in the city of the team they play for and only travel for the trip or in case they change teams, tennis players or drivers in Formula 1 or MotoGP are always on the road.
Let’s just take the Formula 1 as an example; the world’s most famous motorsport championship is a real traveling circus. It starts in March and ends in November, 9 months of races that run week after week touching 5 continents. One race weekend in Australia, and after 14 days we race in Europe, and then go to America and back to Europe and then Canada…in short, a real tour de force.
Formula 1 drivers therefore lead a fairly complicated life in terms of logistics, flying from one country to another nonstop.
That’s right, the stop. Where do they stop when they are not racing? Where is the base, the home of the drivers between races and in the break between one season and the next?
It is a question many people often ask us, one of those curiosities that is part of the glamour and allure surrounding Formula 1 and its protagonists especially after the release of the TV series Drive To Survive, which also highlighted the more personal and private side of the drivers and created a strong interest in aspects that perhaps until some time ago passed by in the background.
The answer to the question is quite simple: most of the drivers, in fact, as well as many other very famous professional sportsmen, reside in Monaco, Monte Carlo, on the beautiful French Riviera.
But how come so many sportsmen and celebrities reside in Monaco?
The French Riviera is certainly a beautiful seaside place, with a very favorable and mild climate (it is never too hot in summer and winter is not cold at all), a very high quality of life, stores and boutiques of the most famous luxury brands, famous restaurants and clubs, and also logistically it is well located with respect to Europe and with a convenient and very functional airport, that of Nice.
But it is certainly not the climate, the sea and the luxury boutiques that make Monte Carlo such a popular destination especially for a specific target group of people who can reside in any climate paradise or city in the world and fly shopping wherever they like.
The main reason that makes Monaco such a popular residence for sportsmen and celebrities is mainly a particularly favourable tax regime. Monaco is in fact famous for not to expect personal income taxes, with the only exception of French citizens: residents are not subject to any tax on income, surplus value or capital.
Till a few years ago, even the so-called and celebrated banking secrecy was part of the Monegasque “allure” for large landowners, who could accumulate large amounts of capital in the principality’s banks without being asked too many questions. Since the beginning of 2017, however, Monaco has also adhered to the principles of the European Court against money laundering and tax evasion, ensuring absolute transparency in intra- and extra-institutional communications.
In addition to the celebrated fiscal reasons, there is also another reason for preferring exclusive Monaco to more “traditional” cities, and it has much to do with the privacy and tranquility of the aforementioned sportsmen. Always the residence of millionaires, international stars and cover faces, the Principality is so full of celebrities that we don’t even pay attention anymore. Sportsmen, actors and musicians can thus go for coffee, take a walk or work out without being constantly surrounded by paparazzi, fans and onlookers looking for a shot or an autograph.
Welcome to Monaco
The Principality of Monaco is an independent city-state in which the Grimaldi family has ruled since the 18th century; it is a hereditary constitutional monarchy, currently headed by Prince Albert II who holds the executive power, but who is flanked by a Minister of State, Pierre Dartout, who presides over the Council of Government, made up of five ministries (Interior, Finance and Economy, Social Affairs and Health, Infrastructure, Environment and Urban Planning, and International Relations.)
It is in fact a small city of about 37,000 inhabitants, covering an area of only 2.02km2. Most of the residents are not Monegasque, it seems there are even over 139 different nationalities residing there. Most of the residents are French and Italian, partly because of the proximity to both borders, but there are also many British.
The Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place among the curves and buildings of the Principality’s city streets, is certainly the city’s most famous and representative event, along with the Monte Carlo Rally, the Athletics Herculis and the Tennis Masters.
The race track is renowned for its tight turns and difficult driving conditions, and is always a formidable test for even the most experienced drivers. The presence of the harbor along the circuit, allows the beautiful and super-luxurious yachts to become real floating hospitality from which guests can watch the race. In the evening, they are then transformed into super-exclusive locations for the coolest parties of the season. The list of celebrities coming to Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix is truly unique, and has made this race the most glamorous and exclusive Grand Prix of the entire season.
Which F1 drivers live in Monaco?
Many Formula 1 drivers live in Monte Carlo, along with many very famous sportsmen, great champions of the past and various celebrities.
Among the most famous are Max Verstappen, Charles LeClerc (who is indeed Monegasque, born in the Principality and has always lived there since childhood), Lando Norris, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Alexander Albon and some former drivers such as Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button or David Coulthard.
Other pilots, on the other hand, remained “loyal” to their homeland and decided to stay there beyond taxation; Carlos Sainz lives in Spain, Russell is a resident of the UK, still others are in Switzerland, such as Alonso, Ocon, Vettel, Schumacher and then for example we have Pierre Gasly who decided to enjoy his days off in beautiful Milan, Italy.
What about Lewis Hamilton?
Lewis was born and raised in the U.K., where he has all his family, so he often returns to London where he has a wonderful house that belonged to Burberry’s chief designer Christopher Bailey. He owns properties in various exclusive cities around the world such as Miami and New York City, where in 2019 he purchased a stunning penthouse that is part of a complex owned by NFL champion Tom Brady and his model wife Gisele Bundchen. However, it seems that his main residence is actually Monaco. He was also recently conferred Brazilian citizenship of honor, so you never know we might see him move to Latin America sooner or later as well.
In general, however, we can say that Formula 1 drivers also reside in Europe to be closer to the teams’ Headquarters. The headquarters of McLaren, RedBull, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Alpine and Williams are in fact in the UK, while Ferrari is in Maranello, Italy, as is Alpha Tauri.
Many famous tennis players such as Djokovic, Sinner, Zverev, Berrettini, Dimitrov, Goffin, Cilic and Wawrinka also reside in Monaco. It is certainly an ideal place for them to train outdoors even in winter precisely because of a consistently mild and favourable climate. If they can then save some tax, it really becomes the perfect place.