Paddock postcard from Monte Carlo 22 May 2005
A plethora of stars to be seen in the Monaco pit lane
Monaco is always the action capital of Formula One racing, as befits the jewel in its crown. 2005 is certainly no exception.
Where to start? Well, with the Cannes Film Festival happening down the road there has been no shortage of movie celebrities, from Star Wars director George Lucas and Darth Vader and all his chums making their presences felt at the Red Bull energy station, to Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid.
Actor Tom Cruise, a big fan of racing and star of the Days of Thunder movie, is still a possible visitor and Giancarlo Fisichella and Jacques Villeneuve visited the Festival in the days before the race.
The business world is always well represented here, with an awful lot of billionaires including American Rob Walton and Britains Sir Philip Green, Sir Stirling Mosss brother-in-law.
Last year there was a lot of fuss about Steinmetz diamonds on the Jaguars; this year the company have been working with McLaren. From the world of glamour came top model Eva Padberg who was a guest at Williams.
Famous sporting faces include the usual smattering of regular ex-Formula One drivers - Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Gentleman Jacques Laffite, Hans Stuck, Christian Danner, Marc Surer and Gerhard Berger - but also less regular visitors such as Clay Regazzoni, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Johnny Herbert, Andrea de Cesaris, Riccardo Patrese, Philipe Alliot and Dieter Quester.
Perhaps the highest publicity focus was on Eddie Irvine, who has been the subject of rumours all weekend that he might be about to buy the Jordan team. And just as Formula One racing got used to his absence, Eddie Jordan himself popped up doing some television commentary work.
Today look out for Posh and Becks, aka David and Victoria Beckham, on the grid - they have been invited by Bernie Ecclestone after he met them at the recent Laureus Sports Awards in Lisbon. Those who are already here from other sports include motorcycle racing aces Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar again visiting his close friend Narain Karthikeyan at Jordan, and US Olympian Kory Tarpenning.
Perhaps the craziest man in the whole paddock was Jean-Pierre Rosso, who on Saturday attempted a new world record for bungee jumping when he launched himself from a Heli Air Monaco helicopter and plunged 800m towards the Mediterranean. The 68-year-old grandfather, who was a stuntman in more than 200 films, was aiming to beat his own record, set in 1994. He faced 3g when the 200m bungee reached its maximum extension and went through three rebounds before an inflatable boat came to his rescue. Only in Monte Carlo!
As for action on the track, Irishman Adam Carroll scored a brilliant GP2 win yesterday for Super Nova after Ardens Heiki Kovalainen suffered front wheel removal problems during his pit stop while leading comfortably; and Lewis Hamilton took a brace of European F3 wins for ASM.