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Eric Serra, doorman, Fairmont hotel, Monaco

25 May 2006
Eric Serra, doorman, Fairmont hotel, Monaco

There's no other corner in the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit more iconic than the one outside the Fairmont hotel in Monte Carlo. Eric Serra has been the doorman by Monaco's legendary hairpin bend at the hotel for 28 years. He spoke to Emily Manson before this year's race on 28 May

What makes the view from the Fairmont so special? The guests always gather on the balconies which overlook the race. It's simply one of the best positions in Monaco to watch the Grand Prix from and they don't even have to buy a ticket! It's the best hairpin bend and everyone's always secretly hoping to see a crash. They've never actually crashed into the hotel but there's always that little fear that they will. It's a very exciting position to be watching the race from.

How much do the balcony rooms cost over the Grand Prix weekend? You have to reserve a minimum five-day stay and it's €12,500 (£8,470) including breakfast - and the doorman, of course.

What requests do you get from guests during the Grand Prix? Because the hotel's forecourt is in such a high-profile position, during the race all the guests with nice cars want them parked in front of the hotel to show them off. We generally try to accommodate them, but sometimes someone comes along with a really basic rental car like a Clio and wants a photo of that taken in between all the posh ones for a souvenir.

Which celebrities' cars have you parked and what do they drive? Shirley Bassey used to have a Rolls-Royce but now has a new BMW X5 and Elton John has, appropriately enough, a pink Rolls-Royce. Ex-James Bond actor Roger Moore lives in Monaco and comes to the hotel every so often. He's a very nice man but he drives a Volvo.

Which team do you support? I'm half Spanish and half French, so I mix my support - I root for Fernando Alonso for the driver and Renault for the car maker.

What makes the Monaco Grand Prix so special? It's the slowest of all the championship races, which makes it much better to watch. Spectators are so close they can almost touch the drivers as they go past. Also, because it's the only race held in a city, there's much more atmosphere. Monaco normally has around 25,000 residents, but during the race week that goes up to 100,000 and the whole atmosphere is amazing. It's like a carnival, there's music on the streets and dancing - it's wonderful.

What's the most exciting car you've ever driven? I drive all the cars: Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Jaguars and Bentleys, but I also like driving other cars like Minis too. But if I had to pick just one, it would be an Aston Martin, as you don't see them nearly as often as the other makes and the new one really is gorgeous.

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