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Paddock postcard from Belgium 11 Sep 2005

(L to R): Mick Doohan (AUS) TV Commentator talks with Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 10 September 2005

Plethora of famous race names at large in the pit lane

The paddock at Spa has been quite a busy place this weekend, with many familiar faces from the past joining the regular crowd.

Among those spotted over the course of the weekend have been former motorcycle champion Mick Doohan and former Larrousse racer Philippe Alliot.

Justin Wilson came over on a break from his successful campaign for RuSport in Champ Cars, together with former Jordan racer Timo Glock and series owner Kevin Kalkhoven, who tied the trip in with some business with Lola owner Martin Birrane and Sir Frank Williams. The latter, of course, will use Kalkhoven’s Cosworth V8 engines in 2006. Completing the entourage, Formula Atlantic star and triple 2005 race winner Katherine Legge made her first visit to a Formula One paddock. Kalkhoven confirmed that she will test a Champ Car at Sebring, probably in November. She was familiar with the great Belgian track, having once rolled a Formula Ford up Eau Rouge.

Another upcomer spotted was double F3 race winner Charlie Kimball, who was accompanied by father Gordon who worked in the past with McLaren and Benetton.

There was a moment of reunion in the Red Bull energy centre when team manager David Stubbs met up with former Brabham, Fondmetal and Sauber designer Sergio Rinland, who is currently complementing his work for transmission company Pankl by taking an MBA at Kingston University outside London. He was joined there by former McLaren, Onyx, Penske, Stewart and Prost designer Alan Jenkins.

Speaking of Red Bull, an emotional Paul Stoddart confirmed on Saturday that he has sold his Minardi team to Dietrich Mateschitz, giving the energy drink magnate (should he so choose) sufficient racing berths for his drivers David Coulthard, Tonio Liuzzi, Christian Klien and Scott Speed for 2006.

Speed was fourth in Saturday’s incident-filled GP2 race which was run on a wet track and saw the safety car getting more action than some of the race cars. Nelson Piquet Jnr scored his first victory in the category, with Venezuelan Ernesto Viso finishing second ahead of Nico Rosberg. With Heikki Kovalainen leading but later spinning out of a fight for eighth place (which would have given him pole for Sunday’s race), Rosberg now leads the championship by two points with three races left. Britain’s Adam Carroll will be the polesitter now, instead.