Paddock postcard from Malaysia 21 Mar 2004
In the heat of Sepang it has mainly been a case of dignitaries rather than celebrities visiting the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix.
On Saturday YBhg Tan Sri Dato' Sir Mohd. Hassan Marican, the president and chief executive officer of race sponsor and Sauber team sponsor Petronas, visited Peter Sauber's team for a photo opportunity. On Sunday, which was also election day in Malaysia, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahatir Mohamad, now an advisor to Petronas, also visited the Sauber pit.
Elsewhere there was the usual smattering of former drivers, including Sir Jackie Stewart and his wife Lady Helen, Jacques Laffite and Hans Stuck, who were joined on this occasion by John Watson who was on holiday in the region while getting over the recent death of his father, Marshall.
In the Porsche Supercup event, media man Mathew Marsh was one of the stars in his Aha Racing Porsche 911, setting the pace in qualifying yesterday afternoon and eventually placing his car second on the grid for this afternoon's race.
Other media representatives had their moment in the spotlight when BAR sponsor Lucky Strike launched its Pitstop 4 Real competition on Friday evening. UK Team 1, comprising photographers Martyn Elford, Charles 'Too Tall' Coates and John Marsh, journalists Steve Cooper, Jonathan Noble, Simon Arron, Eric Silbermann, Tony Jardine and Tony Dodgins, took on and beat Japanese Fuji TV's team with the competitive tyre change time of 8.26s to go into the second round.