EFF ONE

Michael Schumacher prancing around in a cowboy hat, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa on the dance floor, proving that not all Brazilians have a natural sense of rhythm, Tonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien getting fake tattoos applied, this could only be the fabled Cirque du Soleil post-Canadian Grand Prix party. Liuzzi's arm decoration had a heart on it and some indecipherable words which, knowing him, probably read, "I love me".

It was a fitting end to one of the most fun weekends of the season, unless you happened to be called Juan Pablo Montoya. For once, the Colombian could really throw his toys out of the pram, as Montreal marked the first public appearance of baby Sebastian Montoya. I was going to say "public unveiling" but that would not be strictly true, given that the proud parents, Connie and Juan Pablo, or "Wayne" as he is known to the McLaren boys, wheeled the infant around with a sheet over its head, in the style of Wacko Jacko's kids.

Montreal is a dangerous city and every night, F1 innocents disappear in the maelstrom of dubious bars and clubs, where "waitresses" and "dancers" play the hapless saps like fish on a line.

On Thursday night the bunch of F1 hacks I was with was whipped into an early state of excitement through the combined effects of the charmingly attentive Toyota PR staff and steaks the size of small charred children, at a dinner in the famous "Queue de Cheval" restaurant. When I learned to speak French this meant "Horse's Tail" but it seems that in Parisian argot the word "queue" now means an appendage which is rather lower down the horse. This, of course, became a subject of conversation with the Toyota ladies when we were not gorging ourselves on red meat or being drowned out by jazz band that looked like a Mob hit squad, all white jackets and fedoras. Jarno Trulli, the guest of honour, treated us to some excellent Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, which he himself have produced, although I still have trouble imagining Mr Scrumptious, as some of us media call him, treading grapes on his weekends off racing.

The fatted calf having been eaten, some of the lads then headed for the lap-dancing establishment in order to empty their wallets. I suppose I could have told them that you could get much the same sort of treatment for free as one of the many street events taking place over the GP weekend was a free fashion show put on by an underwear manufacturer called La Senza. You certainly need a Senza Uma to wear their stuff.

On Friday night I was determined to act my shoe size rather than my age and give Mon-Ray-Al my best shot. This pathetic urge to rekindle my youth was prompted by Red Bull Racing's Christian Klien, who is only recently out of school. I was telling him that the hotel in which he was staying, The Queen Elizabeth, was famous for having once played host to John Lennon and Yoko Ono and one of their celebrated "bed-ins."

Mr Clean looked mystified and admitted that he really had no idea what I was talking about.

"I'm sorry," he apologised. "I must be from the wrong generation."

"No," I replied. "It's 2005 and I'm from the wrong generation."

So that night I tried to turn back the clock. I kicked off with a quick trip to the "Grande Nuit de F1" at the Montreal Casino. Not knowing much about Canadian High Society, the only celebrity that I recognised was English former "glamour model" Samantha Fox. Ms Fox gave up earning a living by displaying her fun bags some time ago and since then has disappointed the boys back home by embracing lesbianism.

Ms Fox would probably have enjoyed herself at my next appointment which was with Alex Shnaider, the owner of Jordan, at a bash in the swish and trendy boutique hotel called W, which promises that if you make a wish, they will make it come true." Here, she would have found a bevy of attentive young ladies ready to drape themselves around anyone wanting to have their photo taken. Drinks came in the shape of a well-dried Martini, flavoured with a flower. Personally, as the doctor keeps telling me to eat more fruit, I prefer my Martini to come with a slice of lemon. I'm really not sure what was the purpose of this soiree a la russe, but it seemed to confirm that Shnaider is determined to spend more on his parties than he does on his race team.

Having stepped out to meet the Russians, I then hightailed it to the House of Jazz for something more substantial than a canapˇ. The music was provided by a woman the size of a funnel on the Queen Mary II and had a voice as powerful as a foghorn. With the sound of her murderous version of "My Way" (even Sid Vicious failed to match this) still ringing in my ears, I finally headed home in the teenie weenie early hours. I think that even the Klien generation would have been proud of me. I went happily off to sleep while out on the streets the girls of Montreal were voting "Yes" to anyone who asked (they only get to take their duffle coats off for three months a year).

The following day Bernie Ecclestone had had a one-man referendum on the subject of Jacques Villeneuve and told the Associated Press newsagency that the French Canadian is now F1's equivalent of French Toast.

How times change. Ten years ago, Mr E made it very clear to Frank Williams that the interests of Formula 1 would be best served if he could do the right thing and put a bespectacled, balding, baggy-panted Beaver-lover into one of his cars.

Was it a coincidence that the retired Prof Watkins was in the Montreal paddock? Had Bernie sent him to despatch Jacques with a lethal injection? It obviously helped because in qualifying Jacques was very fast but by Sunday his ardour had cooled and he was back in the pack and Peter Sauber was once again having to deny stories that he is soon going to fire Jacques.

With so much gossip around, the FIA got little coverage in Montreal but it seems that the federation has decided on a new approach to its press releases, having apparently hired Lewis Carroll and John Grisham to work together on the bulletins. There was a tremendous piece of nonsense concerning Kimi Raikkonen's failure to attend the first half of the press conference on Thursday afternoon.

"After having heard the explanations given which centred around the security systems put in to place and consequently the additional time taken, the competitor's representative and the driver admitted that they had inadvertently not left enough time for such exigencies during the trip from the hotel. It is to be appreciated that the same impediments existed for everyone present in the press room and furthermore Kimi Raikkonen is a driver that the media wished to speak to at this stage of the championship. Under the circumstances, the stewards conclude that Kimi Raikkonen has committed a breach of Article 151 c and decide to levy a fine of US$ 5000 on the driver. The competitor is reminded of his right to appeal."

In case you don't understand, this means Kimi was late.

Raikkonen won the race on Sunday, which was lucky given that the car was not the quickest but as we all know luck is a major element in success and failure in F1. On Saturday Rubens Barrichello had a technical problem in qualifying which dumped him to the back of the grid. On race morning he was allocated an old Austin-Healey, painted in Ferrari red, for the drivers' parade. But when his chauffeur went to start the beast, it refused to play ball and Rubinho had to switch to a spare! He then drove a splendid race to finish on the podium.

The highs and lows of Formula 1 can do things to one's brain and it seems that finally, after many years, it has finally fried the grey stuff of my room mate. I got a hell of a shock one night when suddenly he sat bolt upright in his sleep, laughed and said: "In that case the answer must be woof, woof, woof."

And that despite my countless warnings to him not to go out with old dogs!

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