Paddock Postcard from Montreal 25 Jun 2006
Montreal is understandably proud of its Formula One heritage and it was nice to see Joanne Villeneuve, the widow of Gilles Villeneuve in whose honour the track in the Parc Jean Drapeau is named, in the BMW Sauber pit supporting her racing son. Jacques, and his new wife Johanna, has been much in evidence here this week in his downtown restaurant Newtown, and in the headlines after releasing his first album and its single, Accepterais-Tu?
Speaking of BMW Sauber, their downtown Pit Lane Park has proved hugely popular with the thousands of fans who have flocked to the city and caught racing fever, and few do that side of things as effectively as the Quebecois. Montreal has been humming.
Over the weekend it was announced that the indefatigable Mark Webber will join former BMX world champion Alexander Wurz and three as yet unnamed NASCAR drivers in a gruelling cycle to the top of the famed Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado on Tuesday. Thats just the 12.4 miles and 4800 feet, in case you were thinking of tagging along. Chris Carmichael, coach of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, will oversee Tuesdays riders.
Also in town, to join FIA medical delegate Dr Gary Hartstein, are his predecessor Professor Sid Watkins, former CART medics Dr Steve Olvey, Dr Hugh Scully and Indianapolis Methodist Hospitals Dr Terry Tramell, the orthopaedic surgeon known in the business as The Magician for the brilliant work he has done with drivers such as Rick Mears, AJ Foyt, Nelson Piquet and Derek Daly after their various US racing accidents over the years. They are all Founding Fellows of the FIAs Institute of Motorsports Safety and are here for a symposium in Montreal on Monday on open cockpit racing safety.