Paddock postcard from Monaco 23 May 2004
The movie and motorsport A list come out to play…
Monte Carlo has been packed full of celebrities over the Grand Prix weekend, as befitting Monacos reputation as the jewel in Formula One racings crown.
Motorcycle racing stars Max Biaggi and Troy Corser rubbed shoulders with singers Lionel Richie and Dannii Minogue, Southampton footballer James Beattie and TV presenter Carol Vorderman. Racing drivers Johnny Herbert, Allan McNish, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Kris Nissen joined regular visitors such as Hans Stuck, Jacques Laffite and Marc Surer, while Jacques Villeneuve and his manager Craig Pollock were in town as rumours continue to circulate that the French-Canadian may test soon for Williams.
Magnate Philip Green was there, as was Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, who was seen with Ferrari and Jordan. Sir Jackie Stewart showed Rod Stewarts girlfriend Penny Lancaster round.
The biggest crowds were drawn by the cast members of the new Oceans 12 Hollywood movie George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon (though the absence of Pitts wife Jennifer Aniston proved a disappointment to many). The Jaguar R5 raced bearing allegiance to the movie, and diamond company Steinmetz as part of an exclusive sponsorship deal.
It all added to the sparkle on a great weekend for Formula One racing which saw upcomers Neel Jani star in the Formula Super Renault support race and the increasingly impressive Vitantonio Liuzzi win his third straight F3000 victory of the season as his Michael Schumacher-like run continued. The Italian is now being mentioned in conjunction with another possible Williams test, but there has also been interest expressed by Ferrari and Jaguar.
His Arden International Lola was followed home once again by Enrico Toccacelos BCN Competition car, and impressive Renault Driver Development racer Jose Maria Lopez, driving for CMS Performance.