- The Inside Line
Rocking the boatKate Walker May 29, 2014
As one of Formula One's party races - the others being Shanghai, Montreal, Singapore, Austin, and Abu Dhabi - Monaco is a grand prix weekend where (almost) as much time is spent chasing down the hot ticket events as is spent chasing down emerging news stories.
And year after year, the hottest of all tickets is the party on board the Indian Empress, Vijay Mallya's super yacht. Populated by paddock personnel and Cannes celebs, the Signature Monaco Party is the place to be on a Thursday night (and Friday morning…), although invites for journalists are rather hard to come by.
But with a guest list including the great and the good of the F1 world - Bernie Ecclestone, Eric Boullier, Paul Hembery, and more drivers than you could shake a stick at - plus HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his palace entourage, even a boat the size of the Indian Empress would have struggled to hold everyone who wanted to be there.
With the party spread over two floors plus an additional inner sanctum for the V-est of VIPs, the party was a lavish affair. On arrival, female guests were handed souvenir bracelets to wear for the evening, while men were given traditional Indian scarves. Both sexes were given flutes of champagne at the door, and top tier yet unobtrusive service ensured that there was no chance of emptying a glass before it was refilled.
Up on the sundeck DJs Chico and Teddy-O - both of whom flew in from India for the occasion - were in charge of the music, dropping a wide range of tunes that saw revellers dancing on the tables all night long. Even the persistent drizzle couldn't dampen the exuberant mood, from the mini moshpit that formed when 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' sounded, to the gangsta posturing that accompanied 'N****s in Paris'.
Earlier, guests had been treated to a fashion show featuring the designs of Neeta Lulla, an Indian designer who is as in demand as a costumer on film sets as she is adored by her couture clients. Watching from the side lines were Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, while ex-Force India man Paul di Resta also made an appearance. They were far from the only drivers in attendance, but names have been redacted to protect those in pursuit of an honest good time on Monaco's official party night.
The early hours of Friday morning saw your intrepid reporter staggering through the streets of Monaco, heels in hand and blisters on feet, praying to the heavens that there would be no hangover to suffer. And, thanks in no small part to the quality of champagne on offer, the quantity consumed had no residual effect.
Roll on the 2015 event!