Paddock postcard from Silverstone 20 Jul 2003
As befits is self-proclaimed status as the home of British motorsport, Silverstone has a garden party atmosphere this weekend and boasts the best line-up of celebrities of any race so far this season, as Hollywood mixed with Royalty.
On Friday Michael Schumacher was testing a cricket bat in the pit lane and dealing with a few overs from English cricketers Alec Stewart, Michael Vaughan and James Anderson courtesy of a mutual team sponsor. This nearly backfired when the world champion's ball struck one of the telemetry screens on the pit counter.
Rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio had a guided tour of the Jordan factory, and admitted that he inherited his love of racing from his father Vincenzo, a Ferrari fan. Other great sports figures included five-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Sir Steve Redgrave and record-breaking yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur.
Former cricketer and 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here' winner, Phil Tufnell, was one of the many guests at the Grand Prix Ball at Stowe on Friday evening, rubbing shoulders with (British soap opera) EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan (aka Zoe Slater). Her on-screen sisters Jesse Wallace (Kat Slater) and Kacey Ainsworth (Little Mo) also made appearances over the weekend, as did comedian Ali G.
On Saturday Royalty made another visit to the track when British Racing Drivers' Club president Sir Jackie Stewart squired HRH The Duke of Kent and family members round the Jaguar pit.
Other famous faces included Bette Hill and son Damon, whose band The Six Pistons is due to take to the stage with Eddie Jordan's band V10 and headlining Status Quo at the post-race rock concert. "He's really good," said sister Bridget of Damon's prowess at the bass guitar.
Chart-topping boy band Busted were guests of Jaguar on Saturday, while rock legend Rod Stewart and girlfriend Penny Lancaster were joined in the paddock on Sunday by the UK's high profile pop act, Liberty X.
Renault's 1984/85 team, Derek Warwick and Patrick Tambay, were reunited in the paddock, the Briton expressing his intense desire to get back into Formula One in one capacity or another. "The greatest thing about this sport is that you never lose your love for it," said the former Toleman, Renault, Brabham, Lotus and Arrows pilot.
This afternoon one of the biggest celebs to hit Formula One will take a walk down the grid, when Arnold Schwarzenegger (and co-star Kristanna Loken) visits with Jaguar as part of the promotion of the latest blockbuster 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines'.
On track, the Grand Prix supporting F3000 race was a walkaway win for series leader Bjorn Wirdheim, with rising Italian stars Giorgio Pantano and Vitantonio Liuzzi chasing him home. In the Trofeo Vodafone Maserati race, former F3 star Rob Wilson and co-driver Frank Mountain chased through the field from 15th after a poor start to second, beaten only by Emanuele Smurra.