Monday, May 30, 2011

Monaco Grand Prix 2011

The year has flown by and another Monaco Grand Prix has sped off in the distance last night. The 69th Formula One Grand Prix began on Thursday with HSH Prince Albert II and bride-to-be Charlene taking the first opening spin around the course. The racing festivities came to an end last night with Red Bull Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany taking the top prize and, along with the second and third place winners, earning a kiss on both cheeks from the future princess along with their trophies. Mr. Vettel was then the special guest of the Princely Family at the Formula 1 gala Sunday evening. HRH Princess Caroline was on hand, as were the Casiraghi trio, Tatiana and Beatrice in tow. Charming Charlotte turned heads in her patriotic red and white dress but moreso by the large rock on the third finger of her left hand -which has caused a renewal of some rumors such as we have heard so often in the past but, of course, no announcements.

Professional racing first came to Monaco in 1929 when HSH Prince Louis II was active in bringing a number of sports to the principality to add some diversity to the gaming-focused economy. More than eighty years later it is clear how far-sighted he was and Formula 1 is know one of the annual events for which Monaco is best known. In the past, Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace would meet with the top drivers away from the track to get to know them better. With the country even more diversified now that is no longer practical but Prince Albert II recently stated that it would be hard to imagine Formula 1 without Monaco being involved with it. With the country taking on a more environmental and charitable focus, racing might one day seem out of place but the Sovereign Prince said he could imagine no changes for at least another decade or more, if then.

The narrow, winding streets of the microstate certainly make for a challenge for any driver (and no easy task for the cars to be sure) but the picturesque skyline and unmatched ocean views also make Monaco a place where drivers and audiences alike love to flock to for the event. Some might think that big events such as this would provide good practice for the upcoming wedding, but when it comes to the race, the Monegasque are old professionals and have refined to an art setting up and taking down everything need for the big race. The speed and professionalism of that feat is every bit as remarkable as the race itself. In any event, it is another year down, another success and we can look forward to next year. Congratulations to Monaco on a successful race and congratulations to Sebastian Vettel for his victory!

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