Cover Image for “Diamonds aren’t forever!”: Back when an F1 team fitted a $300,000 diamond on the nose of their car to promote George Clooney’s film

“Diamonds aren’t forever!”: Back when an F1 team fitted a $300,000 diamond on the nose of their car to promote George Clooney’s film

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Sat Jan 08 2022

Jaguar’s F1 team fitted an un-insured $300,000 piece of diamond on the nose of Christian Klien’s car at the 2004 Monaco GP. 

Ocean’s Twelve is an iconic heist movie that had superstars like George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon starring in it. Before their release in 2004, they decided to partner with the Jaguar F1 team, to promote their film.

As a part of their publicity stunt, the promoters along with Jaguar decided that it would be a good idea to implant an uninsured piece of priceless (real) diamond on the nose of one of their cars.

Christian Klien was driving for the Jaguar-Cosworth team during that time and the Austrian’s front nose was chosen as the place where they would fit the diamond.

The promotion seemed to be working well until Klien crashed in the opening lap of the Grand Prix. To the dismay of everyone involved, the diamond that was fitted onto the car was nowhere to be seen!

Klein would retire from the race but was thankful, unhurt. However, in spite of the team’s best efforts, the piece of a diamond could not be recovered and remains lost to this day.

Also read: Max Verstappen to take part in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual race

“The most expensive F1 drive I’ll ever take across Monte Carlo”

Klien was just 20 years old was taking part in his first-ever F1 race in Monaco. The young Austrian lost control of his wheel and hit the barriers, which forced him to retire.

The ‘flawless’ piece of diamond was the size of a shirt button. Two hours after the crash, the chassis was brought back to the Jaguar garage. To everyone’s ‘surprise’, the priceless piece of the jewel was missing from the front wing of Klien’s car.

After the race, the now 38-year old Klien jokingly said, “That will be the most expensive drive I’ll ever take around Monte Carlo.”

The jewel’s fate has been a mystery for 18 years now. No one knows where it went, and some question the authenticity of this story altogether. Many have claimed that the entire thing was staged by the Ocean’s Twelve promoters in collaboration with the F1 team, to create buzz around their upcoming movie.

“Someone here has walked away with more than a motor racing souvenir.” Nav Sidhu, a Jaguar spokesperson said after the race.

Also read: McLaren boss claims Daniel Ricciardo in team boosted Lando Norris’ confidence

About the author