Monte Carlo, Tuesday: Traffic wardens in the busy principality of Monaco have been ordered to stay away from the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend, with a view to avoiding the disruption caused at the Grands Prix of the last few years.
Formula One Management has apparently twisted the arm of the Monegasque government, and insisted that none of the city-state’s uniformed officials are to be permitted anywhere near the F1 circuit for the duration of the weekend.
The problems started in 2006, where an overenthusiastic officer tried to clamp Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari after he parked it on double yellow lines at Rascasse. Other colleagues of his had to be restrained from rebuking drivers on the starting grid on Sunday, though one did manage to break through security later in the race and ticketed Kimi Raikkonen’s McLaren for being “illegally on fire in a restricted area.”
Similar issues have flared up in the last two years, with Lewis Hamilton complaining after his inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in 2007 that he should have won the race, because Fernando Alonso got out of his car after the chequered flag in an area clearly marked “No loading or unloading.” Monaco’s traffic wardens briefly investigated the situation, before the FIA warned them not to be so silly.
“This has been a growing problem in recent years at Monaco,” F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone commented upon arriving in the Principality. “We even had to ask them to take down the speed cameras, though if it rains again I doubt that would be a problem anyway. But with budget capping coming in, it’s very important that the teams don’t end up receiving huge speeding fines from the Monaco police.”
The department responsible for traffic policing in Monte Carlo reluctantly accepted the order, but not before officially warning Kazuki Nakajima about littering the streets with bits of his car.