Famous faces flock to Monte Carlo 28 May 2007
The Monaco Grand Prix is always a must-see event - not just for the racing, but for the plethora of stars who flock to the Monte Carlo pit lane. We caught up with just a handful
A Monaco regular is movie mogul George Lucas, a long-term Formula One fan. I caught the racing bug when I was 14 years old - and I have been following Formula One ever since. Probably unusual for an American, but there you go. What fascinates me most is the speed and the accuracy, especially here in Monaco where sometimes centimetres make the difference between do or die. I plan to go to Indianapolis as well - if my schedule permits it, as I start shooting Indiana Jones IV next week. If the production is running as planned you will find me there.
British movie star Jude Law, a guest of Vodafone, was a first timer at the Monaco Grand Prix. I know Monaco pretty well under normal conditions - meaning without Formula One - but hey, this is the real thing. Being on the grid and seeing those 22 guys waiting to start their engines - what an experience! Should I be in England when the British Grand Prix is on, I will be there.
Taking a short break from his duties at the nearby Cannes Film Festival, French film legend Jean Reno was a guest of Ferrari. I had planned to come to the Spanish Grand Prix, but could not make it. Probably good, as Monaco is where you should start your race attendance CV. A whole city given over to Formula One - and even more special in a high-flying place like Monaco - I never thought that this occupation could be so complete! Whenever I have the time I will try to deepen my experience with another race.
Another fast-lane addict is the enfant terrible of the culinary world, British chef Gordon Ramsay. I admit that speed does the trick for me - for sure a very male attitude. I recently flew in a phantom fighter jet and, boy, that was quite something - flying over the clouds like these drivers here flying over the kerbs. Its pure adrenalin knowing that if for one second your concentration fails you are done. My next personal speed adventure should be a ride in an F1 two-seater. And I have promised myself that when I retire - which is on my agenda when Im 50 - then I will follow Formula One for an entire year, going to every race. Doesnt that sound great!
Germanys international goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was a Formula One virgin in Monaco. I empathise very much with the drivers - I admire their mental strength that is necessary to be on top of your game, the guts to keep your foot away from the brakes, even if your brain signals slow down. It is, I guess, a little bit like standing in the goal and seeing a ball coming towards you from 50 metres with at 200 km/h and you dont move - even if it means you get that straight in your face! Thats what separates the men from the boys!
Cirque du Soleils Guy la Liberte - a close friend of everybody who is anybody in Formula One racing strolled the paddock, almost unrecognizable without his usual cap on. Monaco is my first race this year. I am preparing a new show that will debut during the Montreal weekend so I am kind of busy. And I am expecting a baby during the Canada race weekend so my attendance there will be very brief. But, sure, when the pressure eases a little bit I will be at one race or another this year.
Famous faces from the business and finance world included Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, Renaults Carlos Ghosn, ING CEO Michael Tilmant and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, who was very excited that McLaren-Mercedes two drivers were on the front row of the grid. We have two fantastic guys and I am sure that the whole world is surprised that our rookie is taking on the whole establishment - to be honest, I am surprised too! But then to see them coming in 1-2 is the ultimate that you can get out of a race weekend. This is what I would call mission accomplished!