Paddock Postcard from Monte Carlo 25 May 2008
Monaco is always a hotbed of parties and social gatherings, and 2008 was no exception. Coutts Bank hosted a cocktail party at the Hotel de Paris on Wednesday evening when a triptych of Jack Vettriano paintings of Sir Jackie Stewart and his wife Helen at the 1971 race was unveiled in front of Prince Albert.
On Friday Amber Fashion combined the lifestyle world of fashion with Formula One as drivers, their wives and girlfriends and several supermodels came together to the benefit of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Petra Ecclestone launched her luxury menswear collection FORM, which was modelled by Formula One drivers.
The show also featured Elizabeth Hurleys Haute Couture swimwear, the Jimmy Choo collection and Chopard jewellery. A charity auction closed the evening and prizes included a Chevrolet Corvette from Sharon Stones personal collection, and one of Elton John's pianos.
The audience included Elizabeth Hurley, Tamara Mellon, cycling ace Lane Armstrong and his girlfriend Kate Hudson and Johns partner David Furnish.
Earlier in the week Armstrong, together with friend Mark Webber, had helped organise medical assistance when their mutual friend Morris Denton (formerly of AMD) was involved in a collision with a car while they were out cycling on Thursday.
Famous racing faces seen at times in the paddock included former champions Mika Hakkinen, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, Jacky Ickx, Jean Alesi, Jacques Laffite, Johnny Herbert, Patrick Tambay, Francois Mazet and Tim Parnell. Rally stars also proliferated in the form of Sebastien Loeb, Petter Solberg and Markku Alen.
Eddie Jordan made his usual colourful appearance, while other star names were Sir Philip Green, Manchester United player Michael Carrick, Raul from Real Madrid, film producer George Lucas and former British Labour minister and NATO general secretary Lord George Robertson, who was a guest of the FIA Foundation.