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Silverstone Paddock - exclusive celebrity quotes from the British Grand Prix... 14 Jul 2004

Violinist Vanessa Mae. © Trenckler's Britain's Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon. © Trenckler's Singer Dannii Minogue. © Trenckler's Martin Broughton. © Trenckler's Dennis Rodman (USA) NBA Basketball Player.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Practice, Silverstone, England, 9 July 2004

The famous faces were thick on the ground over the recent British Grand Prix weekend. We caught up with just a few of them…

Violinist-come-fashion princess Vanessa Mae spent two days at Silverstone experiencing life in the Grand Prix fast lane. “I’m so excited about the atmosphere and the sound of Formula One,” she said. “I was working in the studio for the last months so this here means a fantastic break for me.” Perhaps her next recording will feature the howl of Formula One engines in the background…

Judging by his many piercings and exuberant fashion sense, former basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman is no stranger to living life on the edge, so showing up at a Grand Prix seems a natural fit. At Silverstone he finally fell under the spell of Formula One racing. “Hey man, I love risky kicks and this one clearly is for me,” he said. “If someone would build a car big enough for my size I would shout down the pit lane ‘Schuey, watch out’.”

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was relaxing at the British Grand Prix after days of hard talks about new military spending and “joint patrols in the Mediterranean Sea this autumn with ships from NATO countries and the Russian Black Sea Fleet.” Discussions with his Russian counterpart, Minister Sergey Ivanov, apparently went well, as a 15-strong delegation from the Russian Defence Ministry promenaded through the Silverstone paddock, including several members in heavily-decorated uniforms.

For Arsenal Football Club’s Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp, Silverstone was his first taste of Formula One racing. And he promised he’ll be back for more. “I had no idea that Formula One is so mesmerising,” he said. “Watch out to see me strolling the paddock one of these days.” Not that Bergkamp has much free time - with the younger players breathing down his neck, the 35-year old returned to pre-season training last Tuesday, well ahead of the majority of his Arsenal team mates, who are still on holiday after the Euro 2004 tournament.

Kylie’s younger sister Dannii Minogue returned to the paddock at Silverstone to pay a brief visit to old friends from the days when she and Jacques Villeneuve were a regular feature of the glitz and glamour of Grands Prix. “I’ve been part of Formula One for almost two years so coming to a race once in a while is natural,” said the Australian singer. And to demonstrate that girls’ friendships last longer than affairs of the heart, she and Jules Kulpinski, once Villeneuve’s and now Jenson Button’s PA, were busy giggling over old times.

Former BAT chief executive and BAR fan Martin Broughton is preparing to exchange one kind of horsepower for another. Broughton, who will take over as British Airways chairman after BA's annual meeting on July 20, has also assumed the chairmanship of the British Horseracing Board. “Horses are my real passion,” he confessed at Silverstone.

It doesn’t happen to often that real stars fall from the sky at Silverstone. So it truly was ‘La Dolce Vita’ when Beyonce stepped on stage at Stowe House in the small hours of Saturday before the British Grand Prix to sing about being “Crazy in Love” with her “Baby Boy”. And with her came the slightly unusual fashion sense that show biz generates – men in white tuxedos, with earrings by the dozen, and zebra-striped coats being just two examples.