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Paddock postcard from Monza 14 Sep 2003

1961 World Champion Phil Hill (USA).
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, 12 September 2003

Monza is the spiritual home of Italian motor racing, and always attracts a massive crowd of famous faces.

His Excellency Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa,, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and chairman of the board of Bahrain International Circuit, outlined his spectacular plans for the circuit which will host the third round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Actor Keanu Reeves and model Lauren Hutton had to pull out at late notice, but among other celebrities expected in the paddock today are actors Dennis Hopper and Jeremy Irons (on a motorcycling tour of northern Italy with shades of Hopper's iconic film Easy Rider); singer Robbie Williams (better known as Bob Williams to fans of his 1970 motor racing themed video); and model Jodie Kidd.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo visited yesterday, while 1961 Ferrari world champion Phil Hill is here, together with former team drivers Jean Alesi and Rene Arnoux who has been competing in the Maserati Trofeo race. Strolling Bone guitarist Rob Wilson also took part.

From the American scene CART team owner Stefan Johansson (another former Ferrari driver) and Indy Racing League star Scott Dixon are here, while a delegation from India, led by N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, came on a fact-finding mission and is hopeful of securing its own race date.

On track, F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim scored another victory in the final race of the FIA International F3000 Championship, from Patrick Freisacher and Ricardo Sperafico. Once again Vitantonio Liuzzi starred after fighting up to fourth place after qualifying only 12th following a suspension failure.