Seven years on and it’s still going strong. Once again on Thursday evening Force India boss Vijay Mallya’s yacht, the Indian Empress, was the place to be for the opening night of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
Mallya’s party has undoubtedly become a tradition, but that doesn’t mean it has been resting on its laurels – far from it, in fact. Somehow every year’s event manages to be unique; each one bigger, louder, more stylish and – most importantly – more fun than the last.
As always, the list of those attending read like a ‘Who’s who’ of Monaco and Formula One society. To start with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his entourage paid their usual visit, as did Formula One group CEO Bernie Ecclestone.
Then there were the likes of McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier, Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost and Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery. Among the drivers present were Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, the latter joined by countryman Esteban Guttierez, former Force India pilot Paul di Resta, plus the inimitable Eddie Jordan, once the owner of the team.
For the style conscious the party featured an eye-watering fashion show from India’s star designer Neeta Lulla. For others the gathering was the ideal opportunity for an informal chat about the business of Formula One racing. No details surfaced, but no doubt some burning issues were debated.
And for those who came simply to party, the champagne flowed like water, the dance floor on the sun deck was packed – despite light drizzle – and for those who made it through to the early hours, in time-honoured tradition a curry was served to make the journey home just a little easier.
Mallya was again the perfect host: “By now it’s tradition and I am proud having started the ‘opening ceremony’ of the Monaco weekend some years ago. Monaco is about glamour – and I am paying tribute to that. The rest is about having fun before the competition heats up on Saturday and Sunday!” (F1 Media)
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