A1 Team Korea won't be the only newcomer on the A1 Grand Prix grid this season, following confirmation that Monaco will also join the fray for the first time.
The Principality is already famous for its racing heritage, playing host to both Formula One and the World Rally Championship, but will now bring the red-and-white colours of its flag to the World Cup of Motorsport with the personal blessing of His Serene Highness, and motorsport enthusiast, Prince Albert II.
The new team has been created by joint seat holders Clivio Piccione and Hubertus Bahlsen, with the former becoming the first-ever A1GP participant to consider taking on the joint roles of team owner and driver. Bahlsen, who current motorsport involvement centres on his collection of historic F1 cars will take a back seat, with the team being run on a day-to-day basis by team principal, Graham Taylor, who brings 21 years of experience from stints in F1 and touring cars.
Former F3 and GP2 race winner Piccione, whose career stalled before he could make the jump to Formula One, has enjoyed the patronage of Prince Albert throughout his career, but also brings support from the Monaco government and president of the Conseil National
to the A1GP venture.
“I am very proud to have been able to put this project together, and I believe the new enterprise will bring a lot of excitement and glory to our country," the 24-year old commented, "It is a unique situation to be able to take on these two roles. I believe it is a great asset for me not just to be the driver, but to also have a real involvement within the team structure. I am really looking forward to racing for my country in the new A1GP car.”
A1GP chairman Tony Teixeira admitted that he was thrilled to accept an entry from possibly the biggest name in world motorsport.
“There is no doubt that Monaco represents the smallest population of any of our national teams but, in terms of a worldwide reach, there are fewer places that are better known," he explained, "Our aim in A1GP was to be a truly global series and each year we welcome new teams that help us in this. We are very proud that a principality with such strong ties with the sport has chosen to become part of A1GP.”