Jaguar Racing and the Lost Diamond: A Formula One Mystery
Written by Alejandra Guajardo Lozano, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
It's the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix. Jaguar Racing, struggling to live up to their potential, are looking to get crucial points, and make a statement by promoting the star-studded film Ocean’s Twelve. A movie starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. What better way to promote a magnificent Hollywood film than to have two $300,000 diamonds embedded into the nose cones of their cars?
The Monaco Grand Prix in itself is a luxurious event, and a clear example of excess and wealth. And thus, Jaguar Racing did not want to miss out on a golden opportunity to grab attention. Embedding $300,000 diamonds into a car might sound a horrible idea, and in this case, it turned out to be one.
Jaguar Racing drivers Mark Webber and Christian Klien started the race showing off the diamonds. While Webber’s diamond made it home safely, Klien’s diamond lasted only one lap. The Austrian driver crashed into the barrier going into Loews’ hairpin, as he plowed into the barrier nose-first. In this case, the team would worry about the driver or about the race, but this wasn’t the case. Jaguar spokesperson Nav Sidhu remarked:
"At that point, I probably should've been worried about the car or the driver. But, I must admit, my immediate thought was for the diamond."
And thus, the button-sized diamond ended up lost. Even today, this remains one of the big mysteries of Formula 1.
This mystery has been kept unsolved for 17 years. Was it found? Was it stolen? Was it fake? The only question answered is the last one. The diamond had been supplied by diamond trader Steinmetz. When asked if it was fake, Jaguar Racing’s team principal replied:
"These were real diamonds," says Sidhu "You're just not going to find a reputable diamond company in the world that's gonna give you fake diamonds."
The whereabouts of the diamond have been a mystery ever since. Conspiracy theories still hover around social media, when the topic is brought up. A track marshal must have found it, or it may still be embedded in the tyre-wall, or it is still lying around the track. This is still unknown, but what’s known is how this could’ve been avoided, had the team caught the signals of future tragedy when Klien crashed in one of the practice sessions before the race. What do you think happened to this expensive diamond? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.