Paddock Postcard from Monte Carlo 27 May 2007
During the course of the Monaco weekend there has been plenty happening both in the paddock and in town. A special exhibition celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ayrton Sennas six Monaco victories, while DHL announced its support for a new trophy to be awarded for the fastest lap in each Grand Prix.
The Monaco fun actually began early in race week. On Tuesday British F3 winner Maro Engel and Sam Bird joined Michael Schumachers Nazionale Piloti team in a charity football game. Their team mates included fellow racers Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, Robert Kubica and Tonio Liuzzi in the match against Prince Alberts Star Team for Children, which included Superbikes star Max Biaggi, Antonio Pizzonia, Troy Corser, Frankie Fredericks, Peter Rungaldier, Ricardo Patrese and the Ettori brothers. Pierluigi Collina, widely regarded as one of the worlds best football officials, was referee.
Other famous faces in the paddock have included world champions Alain Prost, Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher (again attending a 2007 race), together with Jean Alesi, 1996 victor Olivier Panis, Eddie Irvine (whose boat was moored in the harbour), Juha Kankkunen (whom Ove Andersson rates as the best rally driver of them all), fast Fifties F1 lady Maria Teresa de Filippis, MotoGP's Shinya Nakano and former driver and BMW motorsport manager Jochen Neerpasch.
In the celebrity stakes, the likes of Jude Law, Bono, Casey Stoner, Ron Howard and George Lucas are expected today.
Poignantly, as part of the worldwide campaign to find missing four year-old Madeleine McCann, the Spykers wore logos publicising the Find Maddie campaign.