Paddock postcard from Magny-Cours 06 Jul 2003
Filmmaker Luc Besson has been among the off-track celebrities at the French Grand Prix this weekend, along with more familiar faces in the main paddock including former team owner Guy Ligier, and racers Rene Arnoux and Patrick Tambay.
And on Friday evening former Grand Prix motorcycle ace Randy Mamola and Niki Lauda's racing son Mattias took part in Alpinestars' unique opportunity for journalists to sample Formula One car power on the Magny-Cours club circuit, together with Travis Pastrani, the world champion freestyle motocross rider.
In Saturday's Formula 3000 encounter Giorgio Pantano made some inroads into Bjorn Wirdheim's points lead with a stylish victory over the Swede, with Ricardo Sperafico leading home former kart champion Vitantonio Liuzzi. Tony Schmidt and Jeffrey van Hooydonk completed the points scorers.
This morning the main topic of conversation has been a meeting of the team principals, intended to facilitate agreement over the rules that will govern the sport at the British Grand Prix in two week's time. That was the race at which driver aids such as traction control and launch control were to have become banned. A postponement until 2004 had been agreed, but was recently thrown into doubt when Minardi owner Paul Stoddart withdrew his vote in Canada. It is believed that the meeting went some way towards finding a suitable solution.