On the lead up to the Monaco weekend, the Jaguar team revealed they would be running a special livery for the Grand Prix to promote the release of the movie Ocean's Twelve. As part of the promotion, the Steinmetz Diamond Group - led by an Israeli billionaire - would be installing two $250,000 shirt button-sized diamonds into the noses of the Jaguar R5s for the race.
Running expensive diamonds in one of the most fragile, exposed parts of the car and on the most difficult circuit of the year was a risky decision. For Steinmetz, the risk didn't pay off, for on the first lap Klien hit Heidfeld at Mirabeau and as he headed towards the hairpin at Loews, the front wing fell off and the car was buried nose first into the barriers.
The car was moved out of the way by marshals and it became apparent (whether at the time, or later) that the diamond had disappeared. Strict safety regulations meant that no one would be able to head to the hairpin and search for it until two hours later, well after the race had finished.
A search was conducted on Sunday night, which came to nought and later a reward was offered for its safe return in the form of a $45,000 car, which was believed at the time to be a brand new Jaguar X-Type. No one came forward and a press statement was later released, "Both Steinmetz and Jaguar Racing were saddened by the loss of a unique piece of Grand Prix memorabilia that was destined to be auctioned for charity at a later date."
The diamond was never found. Speculation lead some to believe it was stolen, while others insist it was all staged as part of the movie deal. After all, a precious $250,000 gem going missing certainly fitted in with the concept of the gangster/heist plot of Ocean's Twelve. Given the risks of driving at high speed around such a tight circuit, some believe the Jaguars were not carrying real diamonds at all. The chances are we shall never know.
Monaco Grand Prix
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