“THE MOST COLOURFUL, GLAMOROUS LOCATION”
Being a tax-free environment with a shortage of real estate, Monaco is constantly remaking itself in the image of its present residents. The common denominator is wealth.
“We had a very good time boating around the various beaches during the day,” wrote the society columnist, Taki, of a sunny day in 1960 spent in the company of the Hollywood actress Janet Leigh. “Dancing in Monte Carlo in the evening, Monaco being not only Russian- and vulgarian-free back then, but also looking like Ruritania-sur-mer rather than Las Vegas-on-the-sea.”
Change may not have universal appeal, but commerce and its boldest exponents are drawn here like the proverbial moths to a flame. Monaco, traditionally, is where teams lavishly entertain sponsors and do deals.
“It’s still the most colourful, glamorous and exciting location we visit,” says Sir Jackie Stewart. “Chairmen, CEOS and presidents of major auto companies and financial service providers have been coming here since 1929. It’s got the best of everything. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace brought glamour and colour to this little Principality, and Prince Albert has developed that.”
It’s certainly the only race that features a floating hospitality unit, Red Bull’s notion of their own status far exceeding the amount of space actually available in the paddock. But Monaco now has competition.
“Other destinations are equally significant from a commercial standpoint, such as the US GP and Singapore, because they are important markets,” says Mclaren CEO Zak Brown, Formula 1’s pre-eminent sponsor-roper in his previous career as head of marketing agency JMI. “But Monaco, as a brand, represents what F1 stands for more than any other grand prix because of the glamour, the prestige, the history. Our hospitality is sold out this year. And it’s tough to get into hotels and restaurants – it’s busier than ever.
“Things have changed to the extent that the days of CEOS wanting to be seen flying into Nice by private jet and then helicoptering over to Monaco to get on a 300foot yacht are over. That used to be totally cool, totally acceptable, but these days more discretion is expected.”
The glitz. The glamour. The yachts. The money. Monaco is out to turn heads and remains a race like no other