Sunday in Monaco: Diamonds and Black Gold

Sunday in Monaco: Diamonds and Black Gold

More history lessons after Webber's win, Diamonds are forever, Still no Black Gold supplier for 2011, and a very short interview. More history lessons after Webber's win Mark Webber wrote Australian history by winning the 57th edition of ...


More history lessons after Webber's win, Diamonds are forever, Still no Black Gold supplier for 2011, and a very short interview.

More history lessons after Webber's win

Mark Webber wrote Australian history by winning the 57th edition of the Monaco Grand Prix today. The only other Australian who has won the race in Monaco is racing legend Sir Jack Brabham, who did it in 1959. The now-84-year-old Australian won the World Championship in 1959 in a Cooper T51, in 1960 in a Cooper T53 and 1966 with his own team, in the Brabham BT20.

First place Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing.
Photo by xpb.cc.

The comparison is not really fair because the race in 2010 was only 260.520 km long, but in 1959 it took Braham 2 hours, 55 minutes and 51.3 seconds to complete the race, and today it took Webber 1 hour, 50 minutes and 13.355 seconds to complete his race at Monaco. The last time an Australian won the championship was in 1980, when Alan Jones won the drivers' championship driving for Williams. Together with his team mate Argentine Carlos Reutemann, Jones also won the constructors' championship for Williams that year.

The most successful team on the streets of Monaco has been McLaren, winning the race on 15 occasions; second is Ferrari with 9 wins; third is the original Lotus team with 7 wins and BRM (British Racing Motors) won the race 5 times. Cooper, Williams and Tyrell have won the race three times, and finally Maserati, Brabham, Benetton and Renault won the race twice.

With his back to back wins in Spain and Monaco, Webber is now leading the drivers' championship table with 78 points, and shares his lead with team mate Sebastian Vettel. With the Red Bull team now also op top of the constructor's championship, it seems no one can stop them now. And although there is still a long way to go, both Webber and Vettel are now the favorites for the title. One thing is sure, while other teams will be dismantling their hospitality units to ship them to the next destination, the Red Bull four-storey Energy Station will be floating in the harbor of Monaco for another day, the Red Bull squad is famous for its parties, and today they definitely have something to celebrate.

Diamonds are forever?

Steinmetz Diamonds, one of the official partners of the McLaren team, supplied drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton with diamond crested helmets for the race in Monaco. In previous years McLaren drivers have had their initials inlaid into their helmets with diamonds, but this year Steinmetz decided to celebrate the previous victories of both drivers at Monaco. Apart from the diamond crested helmets, they also had a steering wheel with diamond inlays, Button with the number '09' for his win last year at Monaco, and Hamilton the number '08' for his win in 2008.

Hamilton was hoping the diamonds would bring him luck during the 2010 race. "They look absolutely incredible and add a real bit of bling to the cars," Hamilton said. "I won in 2008 wearing a Steinmetz diamond-studded helmet, so I'm hoping it will bring me luck again this year."

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes, Jenson Button, McLaren Mercedes, Monaco editiion helmets and steering wheels with Steinmetz Diamonds.
Photo by xpb.cc.

But as several onboard images showed, both drivers didn't wear the diamond crested helmets, and they also didn't use diamond steering wheel during the race.

Why? That's easy to explain, in 2004 Jaguar promoted the movie "Oceans 12", a movie about a diamond heist starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, and as a publicity stunt the cars of Christian Klien and Mark Webber were carrying $200,000 diamonds embedded on the nose cone of their Jaguar.

Unfortunately Klien hit the barriers and crashed out of the race during the first lap, and when his car was retrieved and brought back to the pits, the $200,000 flawless diamond was missing, and was never found again. Perhaps a marshal got lucky and found it, and indeed, diamonds are forever, but they sometimes unwillingly change ownership. Of course Steinmetz knew about this story, and perhaps they were also thinking about the last race in Spain, where Webber, delighted about his win, tossed his helmet into the main grandstand.

Still no Back Gold supplier for 2011

It was expected the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) would reach an agreement with one of the future tyre suppliers this weekend, to replace the Japanese Bridgestone company who will leave Formula One at the end of this season. But after three meeting this weekend, there have been no announcements about a possible decision. Pirelli, Avon-Cooper and Michelin are in the final race to become the new supplier, and it was reported the Korean tyre companies Hancook and Kuhmo were also interested in Formula One, but neither FOTA nor FIA have confirmed whether they actually have officially made a bid.

Teams want a decision as soon as possible, they are already working on the design of their 2011 car. It seems the Italian Pirelli company is the favorite, because it has, financially speaking, come up with the best proposal. But Pirelli is not interested in rivalry, they made it clear they want to be Formula One's sole tyre supplier. Michelin initially offered a tyre deal that would cost teams about $5 million per year, but there are now rumors the French company has lowered their bid and now offer a deal for $1.5 per team per year.

Formula One's black gold.
Photo by xpb.cc.

It is also possible the FOTA could persuade Bridgestone to stay in formula One, a solution favored by many teams, because the Bridgestone company has a very good reputation in the paddock, and has of course tons of experience when it comes to producing modern Formula One tyres. The talks will probably continue as soon as possible, because Formula One's black gold, the all-important tyers, are the only thing that keeps a Formula One car safely glued to the track.

A very short interview

And let's end with the shortest interview of this season. A Dutch RTL reporter spotted Flavio Briatore in the pit lane on Friday, and decided to try his luck to see if he could get a few statements from the Italian ex-Renault team boss on camera. RTL reporter: "Flavio, do you miss F1?" Briatore: "Yes, I've been in F1 for 17 years and I have many friends here, so I miss it. Ciao."

Next Grand Prix will be the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul, and although it's not exactly the jewel in the crown of the Formula One season, again 25 points will be waiting for the one who crosses the finish line first.


See also: Saturday in Monaco: From the paddock to the parties

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About this article
Series General , Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mark Webber , Lewis Hamilton , Carlos Reutemann , Alan Jones , Flavio Briatore , Jack Brabham , Christian Klien , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Red Bull Racing , Williams