Monaco, May 24 (UNI) To promote the Kingfisher brands and the Force India team, Owner Vijay Mallya hosted an enormous party on his magnificent 95-metre superyacht, 'the Indian Empress.' Mallya first made his mark as a host at Monaco last year, when he was a sponsor of Toyota rather than a team owner. For this year he decided to hold an 'opening' party on Thursday evening and a 'closing' party tomorrow night after the race.
''Last year we had two parties,' said Mallya. ''We had one on the opening night of the Monaco weekend, and we had a very impromptu closing party. Both of them were huge successes, and everyone enjoyed themselves. So we thought let's plan it properly this year with an opening and closing party. It's far more organised, we have a proper guest list, and invitations have gone out.
''It's all about good food, good music and good entertainment.
I think a party is largely made up of the people and the atmosphere.
And I think we've been pretty successful up to now. Istanbul was a great success, and people really enjoyed it, despite the cold weather!,'' he added.
Preparations for the twin parties began as long ago as February, around the time of the team's 2008 launch in Mumbai. Over 1,000 people were invited, including all the F1 drivers and bosses of the other teams, along with VIPs who are in Cannes for the Film Festival.
Mallya has called in extra staff to supplement the 32-man crew of the Empress. Some 40 extra people are involved in catering, and 10 in security. An indication of how Dr Mallya enjoys close co-operation with other teams is given by the fact that the catering is provided by Absolute Taste, a company that is affiliated to McLaren, while Red Bull has provided supplies of its product.
Among the key team personnel taking some time out from the stresses of a race weekend were Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren, Christian Horner and Adrian Newey of Red Bull Racing, and Nick Fry of Honda.
However, it is not easy for F1 drivers to find time to relax even though they are not actually in the cockpit yesterday, but Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil and test were having fun, along with test driver Tonio Liuzzi.
Joining the list of drivers past and present were two former World Champions, Keke Rosberg and Jacques Villeneuve, while others enjoying the hospitality included Timo Glock, Pedro de la Rosa, Alex Wurz, Christian Klien, Eddie Irvine, Johnny Herbert, Marc Surer, Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell.
On the occassion, music was provided by top British DJ Norman Jay, while Renault test driver Sakon Yamamoto also took a turn on the decks whereas a little Hollywood glamour was provided by actress Kate Hudson, while Tour de France cycling legend Lance Armstrong was also present.
With more events planned in Valencia and Singapore-the two new street races added to this year's calendar- Force India will continue to be at the social heart of Grand Prix racing.
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