Thursday, June 19, 2014
My apologies for a long absence but things have been rather chaotic of late. First it was Virgin Atlantic to London, a quick change on the Easyjet, Europe's SouthWest equivalent and into the mad world of Monaco. During the race weekend it is mayhem but as I have been going there for 48 years it is hard to give up, contagious I suppose. The organization is better than ever, the press facilities have vastly improved, it was pretty grim 20 or 30 years ago.
On the Wednesday I had a wonderful conversation with 1966 World Champion Damon Hill. I told the story of how I saved his Father's trophy from some horrible person who tried to snatch it away from hit wife, Bette. Graham had left for the Hotel de Paris. Damon like the story so much he asked me to phone his Mum to remind her. Having lost Graham all those years ago and not being in Monaco she wasn't in the best of spirits until we cheered her up with the call.
Thursday was of course practice and the Hamilton-Rosberg saga continued unabated. Friday night is party night in Monaco with the MyYacht group's bash leading the way. You can do many things in Monaco just don't expect to sleep more than 3 hours a night, the music does not stop until 5 in the morning. If you are rich but unlucky you will have cars going round outside your expensive hotel's window for 12 hours solid. Luckily I stay at the other end of town.
Saturday is of course qualifying. I won't bore you with the details as you all know them. But I enclose a photo of the only thing money cannot buy in Monaco-an invitation tho the Prince's reception in the Palace. The food of course is excellent as are the drinks but the best bit was watching the European Cup final with Prince Albert and his friends. Except for my soothsaying abilities predicting that his wife Charlene was pregnant! Wonderful news for all concerned.
Sunday's race once more is history, but it was nice to see new Australian hero Dan Ricciado chase Hamilton, a foretaste of what was to come a fortnight later in Canada.
But on Monday morning we were off bright and early in Maserati's much admired Quattroporte. The company is doing well and it is easy to understand why. Solid as opposed to in your face luxury which the cognoscenti appreciate.
More Maserati fun was to follow. We invited PR Director and old friend Luca del Monte to lunch together with former PR Director of Ferrari, the much loved Antonia Ghini. Well, it turned out to be something very special and unforgettable indeed. Fernando Alonso was a couple of tables away but because Luca and Antonio are so popular we had a steady stream of the Ferrari hierarchy joining us to say hello. There was Johnathan Giacobazzi whose name will be familiar to fans of the great Gilles Villeneuve. His company were one of his major sponsors, then Matteo Torre also joined us, he is the head of sales and after sales. Slight confusion - his name is identical to that of our good friend the other Matteo in the press department. They keep getting each other's phone calls.
But on to the reason for the trip-to-drive the Speciale. I won't reveal too much about it, you will have to read Forza (about to go to press) but the encounter with the police was very exciting indeed!. The short answer to your question is: an amazing automobile which I, personally would only use on the track. Yes, you can commute in it but the question is why?