No story is more akin to the Monaco GP as the infamous diamond “heist”. But what was a diamond doing on track in the first place?
May 23, 2021
There have been many unforgettable, wild, and over-the-top moments in the 71 years of F1, but nothing compares to the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix. While the race itself might not have been the most thrilling, the casual “diamond heist” sure stole the show.
Monaco is known in the F1 world for being the most “glamorous” race of the year. Celebrities and spectators alike flock to the country for a race like no other. The backdrop of the Mediterranean filled with yachts makes for some of the most beautiful racing coverage of the season. It makes sense that teams and sponsors alike would want to capitalize on one of the most anticipated races of the season.
As part of a sponsorship deal with Ocean’s Twelve, the Jaguar F1 Team, who would become Red Bull, made the crazy decision to put a $150,000 diamond on the nose of each of their cars. How this was approved by the sponsor, the diamond supplier, or the team is entirely beyond me. So now that the team has $300,000 racing around the streets of Monaco, nothing can go wrong, right? Well, not exactly. While Mark Webber completed the whole weekend without a scratch to the diamond, we can’t say the same for Christian Klien. He survived Thursday practice and qualifying on Saturday, but he crashed out in the first lap of the race.
Imagine being that team principal trying to figure out what problem you should think about first: the driver, the car, or the $150,000 diamond that was loaned to you. Luckily Christian Klien walked away from the crash, and the car wasn’t beyond repair, so that begs the question of what happened to the diamond. The carbon fiber casing around it protected the diamond from harm in the crash….so what happened?
Now we come to the mystery part because no one knows! The team couldn’t get to the track until two hours after the race due to safety regulations, and once they got there, the prized diamond was gone. Many people have speculated as to what happened to the diamond… or who might have taken it. Some say that a very lucky Monegasque citizen was able to retrieve it before the team; others say a fortunate marshal was able to pocket it before anyone noticed, but my big and boring theory is that it was accidentally binned along with other debris or tyre barriers.
This mystery still haunts me and many F1 fans to this day, to the point that F1 used the story on their new F1 On the Edge podcast. Until this mystery is solved, I will spend every Monaco GP thinking about that diamond and the fact that Ocean’s Twelve wasn’t even a diamond heist; it was actually about stealing a Faberge egg.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina developed her love of motorsport through years watching Top Gear with her dad every night. She specializes in Formula One and it’s feeder series F2, F3, and F4. Her favorite teams are Williams & McLaren and supports Prema & ART Grand Prix in feeder series. Outside of motorsport Kristina spends her time supporting the Washington Football Team and studying film. You can find her on Twitter as @agrestaP1.
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