Celebrities flock to Monte Carlo 29 May 2006
As usual, the Monaco Grand Prix lived up to its reputation as the most glamorous race on the calendar, attracting famous names from the worlds of film, sport, business and entertainment. We caught up with just a few of them in the Monte Carlo pit lane
Last season in Monaco Red Bull Racing provided the earthly base for the Star Wars characters. This year it was Superman who graced the team with his presence. In co-operation with Warner Brothers, Red Bull brought the stars of the forthcoming summer blockbuster Superman Returns for a visit to the Monte Carlo fast lane. Brandon Routh, who plays Clark Kent/Superman was a first timer to Formula One racing, but was still surprisingly knowledgeable about his host team: What Red Bull is doing in Formula One is fantastic. It is Hollywood on wheels. Unfortunately their race cars dont have sufficient horsepower this year so I hope for them for next year. This was said before the race in which David Coulthard finished third - the first ever podium for Red Bull Racing. Looks like the Scots superpowers made up for the missing horses.
Supermans antagonist Lex Luther, played by Hollywood heavyweight and Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, caused a media frenzy when he was guided through the paddock. The notoriously shy actor was seemingly carried away by what a car race can be. This backdrop is incredible, like out of a movie, he said. I am very happy that I have the chance to be here and see with my own eyes how those rocket-like cars race through those narrow streets. I am enjoying every minute.
Kate Bosworth, who plays the Lois Lane character in the movie, was obviously amazed by the sophistication of the paddock guests. I never expected to see a fashion parade at a car race, she said. In the US, auto racing is a much simpler event. You could take the people here and transfer them to a fashion show and it would fit. It was very interesting to see this.
It was Prince Alberts first Monaco Grand Prix as Sovereign of the Principality and he was very pleased with this years race weekend. It was sold out months ago and with all the Hollywood stars making a stopover from the nearby Cannes Film Festival providing an extra draw, it surely topped the commercial results of previous years. We estimate that the turnover for a Grand Prix weekend is beyond Euro 900 million, he said. So Formula One contributes hugely to the commercial prosperity of my country and is a perfect ambassador to present it to a global audience. Formula One has a long history in Monaco, and we are very proud of that.
Renault President Carlos Ghosn is a rare visitor to the paddock, but Monaco is a special place. He came to see how his companys team are doing and Fernando Alonsos victory made his day: It was an exceptional race, and to win here was a very emotional moment. And it manifests Renaults commitment to Formula One. And when asked about the Schumacher qualifying affair in which Alonso was a beneficiary: I will not comment on this as any decision lies in the hands of the authorities who deal with those things.
Fashion tsar Roberto Cavalli, a guest of Flavio Briatore, is no stranger to Formula One racing, so it must have been the Monaco atmosphere that got him so excited. Monaco is always something special, he said. You can be familiar with Formula One and still get an extra kick when you see those guys in their cars beating them through the streets of this incredible location. I love to come here as it is always a perfect weekend for me.
A scene right out of a real life drama was provided by Joaquin Cortes, the Spanish Flamenco star, when he saw Michael Schumacher start form the end of the grid. Poverino (poor little thing), he screamed with a dramatic gesture and a broad smile on his face - as he is a close friend of Renaults Flavio Briatore. In Monaco those race cars appear to me like dancing divas on a narrow stage, he added. You have to treat them right to get the ultimate result. No wonder that a Spaniard is doing that best - at the moment.
Seven times Tour de France winner met seven times Formula One champion in Monaco, where Lance Armstrong, the Michael Schumacher of cycling, was a guest of Ferrari sponsors AMD. Bizarrely, the American was able to stroll through the paddock almost unrecognized. Its great to see all this, he said. It puts a lot of other sports into the right perspective as this really is a global, traveling sports arena. I know what it takes to build up the physical and psychical conditions to be a serial winner, so I enjoyed meeting Michael Schumacher. Maybe youll see me next time in Indianapolis.