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Paddock Postcard from Magny-Cours 16 Jul 2006

(L to R): Roger Waters (GBR) Pink Floyd Guitarist; Max Mosley (GBR) FIA President; Jean Todt (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director; Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari and Nick Mason (GBR) Pink Floyd Drummer (Right) at a pre concert drinks party.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, 14 July 2006

Members of legendary rock band Pink Floyd have been very much in evidence at Magny-Cours this weekend, as the French go ‘en fete’ in celebrating the centenary of Grand Prix racing.

Friday evening saw a Paddock Club soiree in which Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters presented a signed Fender guitar and drummer Nick Mason a signed drum to the ICM spinal research charity. This was established by three world-famous professors: Gerard Saillant, Yves Agid and Olivier Lyon-Caen, whose aim is to raise money to create a permanent home for the ICM Institute. Waters’ ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ concert followed. Opened by Tony Joe White and Laurent Voulzy, this open air extravaganza sited at the entry to the circuit proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend for many.

Mason was also in action on Thursday evening when cars of a slightly smaller scale than usual attracted the attention, as the Boy Scouts again came very close to beating Ferrari in the annual Pinewood Derby, as the little guys from Paris took on the might of Maranello and saw off competition from McLaren, Red Bull, Toyota, Hitco, Toro Rosso, Bridgestone, GP2, Midland, and Nick Mason’s beautiful Maserati 250F-inspired contender.

Felipe Massa’s Number 6 Ferrari proved no match for Boy Scout 2 (built by William Saward - son of Formula One journalist Joe Saward and Amy Saward, the press officer of the French Grand Prix) - or Boy Scout 1 (built by Christopher Kulmayer, the scout champion of Paris and the boy whose car ran Ferrari closest last year). Only miniature Michael Schumacher in Number 5 was able to uphold Italian honour for the second year running. Kulmayer was awarded Ferrari’s spare car afterwards in recognition for his efforts, while another Ferrari changed hands as team leader Evan Short (a Ferrari electronics engineer) fell in love with Mason’s Maserati.

Other highlights of the weekend so far have included the air force squadron sound of 20 Bugatti Type 35Bs thundering through local villages in the early hours, and a gridful of historic Formula One cars such as Tom Pryce’s Shadow DN3, an ex-Ronnie Peterson Lotus 76, Lorinna McLoughlin’s ex-James Hunt McLaren M23 and even the unique (and very attractive) Amon AF101 (which its creator allegedly asked a friend to set fire to when he saw it).