May 22, 2005 When it comes to doing things on a grand scale, a strategic alliance between George Lucas and Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz always threatened to be a bit over the top. And so it came to pass. Lucas and Mateschitz partnered for a week of global promotional hype on the Cote d’Azur with stunning success. The tie-up between Red Bull Racing and the latest Star Wars movie finally reached its conclusion on Saturday night in Monaco when the last (and first) film in the series, “Revenge of the Sith” was screened for the benefit of guests from the world of Formula 1. The screening, which took place in the Grimaldi Forum was followed by a party, attended by several stars of the film and its director, George Lucas. There were plenty of sore heads in the Monaco paddock this morning, after a crowd of around five hundred F1 movers and shakers attended the biggest bash of the weekend in the Grimaldi Forum last night. Then the Red Bull pit crew did its stuff decked out as Star wars characters and around 500 million people around the world were reminded about the film’s premier.
It was a match made in promotional heaven for the heavyweight Motorsport enthusiasts to come together. Mateschitz sells a billion cans a year of his Red Bull energy drink in America but has spent a large proportion of his promotional budget on Formula 1 racing recently. Formula 1 is the most watched sporting event on the planet and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix the highlight of the 19 race series.
Reciprocally, Lucas’ Star Wars series is a film phenomenon the likes of which has never been seen before. The sixth film in the series exploded on to cinema screens across America last Thursday annihilating all box office records as it went. In its first four days it set a new record US$158.5 million domestic gross, surpassing the previous best four-day tally of the film "The Matrix Reloaded" of US$134.3 million.
So the Red Bull Energy Station and pits at Monte Carlo took on the look of a Star wars set, and the Red Bull cars were decked out in Star wars livery and the pit crews dressed up and … everyone had a good time.
To top it all off, there was last night’s party where Formula One’s finest mingled with the stars of the latest Star Wars epic, before watching a screening of “Revenge of the Sith.”
Once the film was over, the Red Bull crew showed that when it comes to organising parties they are to entertainment what film director George Lucas is to blockbuster sci-fi films.
Team boss Christian Horner rubbed shoulders with Chewbacca, or he would have done if the film character had got down on his knees, while technical director Gunther Steiner was on hand to check that the storm troopers weapons complied with the technical regulations.
Stars of the film who still managed to party the night away, despite having just survived a week at the Cannes Film festival included Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid, as well as George Lucas himself, while F1 drivers Tonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien upheld F1 honour.
Monaco resident and former 007, Roger Moore also put in an appearance. Music was provided by the aptly named DJ Yoda and DJ Roundeye and it was pumped out LOUD, at a volume level that would have shamed the F1 engines. There was plenty of glamour and eye candy, with top marks naturally going to the Red Bull Formula Una girls.
The party finally came to a close around the time the hardworking mechanics and engineers were arriving at the race track to prepare for today’s race.
As far as Red Bull Racing is concerned, maybe the latest sci-fi epic should have been called Revenge of the Sixth rather than the Sith. The sixth round of the championship here in Monaco brings to an end Red Bull Racing’s unbroken run of points scoring finishes so far this season.
But looking on the bright side, the team was in good shape over the weekend and with the European GP taking place just seven days from now, there won’t be too long a wait to get on with the job of trying to pick up more points.
No sooner had the champagne been sprayed on the podium than the F1 Circus began pulling down its Big Top, ready to rush off to the Nurburgring in Germany.