This F1 Team Lost a $250,000 Diamond At The Monaco GP – And It Is Still Missing

In 2004, during Ocean Twelve’s filming, Jaguar driver Christian Klien crashed out on the very first lap, getting caught up in traffic, losing his front wing, and spearing into the wall on a hairpin turn. This led to the button-sized diamond previously affixed to the car’s nose being vanished.

In the history of outrageous PR stunts, the decision to mount expensive stones on the front of cars on a track known for tight racing was a very interesting choice. It was said that the diamond was around $200,000 to over $350,000

According to Nav Sidhu, Jaguar Racing’s director of communications, though, the danger was the point. “If there was no jeopardy, there wouldn’t be a story in it in the first place. There’s nothing remotely interesting about putting a diamond on a car, other than situations where there might be a risk to that diamond.”, he told The Drive.

While it would probably have made sense to use stunt diamonds, Sidhu says that it was out of the question. “These were real diamonds,” says Sidhu, noting that “You’re just not going to find a reputable diamond company in the world that’s going to give you fake diamonds.” He adds that all parties were clearly aware of the risks going in and that the reputational damage to Steinmetz if the diamonds were revealed to be fake would be far more costly than the value of a single lost diamond anyway.

After the crash, the team was allowed to visit the site after two hours and by then, the diamond was nowhere to be seen.

It is also believed by some that the diamond might have been swept away with some debris or somebody just took it as a race venue souvenir.

“It has gone,” Sidhu told The Independent, adding “We have 100,000 people milling around trying to find a bit of crashed car across the course”—referring to spectators hunting for trophies after the race—”and I think there is going to be a lot of activity around the Loews hairpin. I don’t expect we are going to get it back.” 

“There wasn’t an insurance company on the planet that would insure half a million pounds worth of diamond stones when they go Grand Prix racing. But we knew that, and that was the calculated risk that was factored into the agreement,” Sidhu says today.

There’s also the theory that suggests Jaguar had Klien crash on purpose on Lap 1, creating the opportunity for the diamond to disappear into the right hands. This theory has its loopholes too as the crash was too intense to be done on purpose.

“The benefit [of the promotion] far outweighed the cost. Even before we got to Sunday afternoon, we’d already generated tens of millions of dollars of coverage around the world,” says Sidhu. His phone rang off the hook for days after the crash, with news outlets running with the story and sharing the names of Jaguar, Steinmetz, and Ocean’s Twelve around the world. “Sunday afternoon was just a dollop of icing on what was already a very fat cake leaking with cream by that point,” he chuckles. 

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