Paddock Postcard from Singapore 27 Sep 2009
Once again Singapore has exuded party spirit as the city embraces the heady mix of Formula One action and the musical sounds of F1 ROCKS Singapore with LG.
You cant move for famous faces from the world of entertainment. American actress Lindsay Lohan and her Filipina counterpart KC Concepcion are here, together with bands ZZ Top, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, Simple Minds, N*E*R*D, Black Eyed Peas, Sodagreen, Da Mouth and singers Beyonce, A-Mei, Rain, Havana Brown and Jacky Cheung.
There have been a host of famous racing faces all weekend, with world champions Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Mika Hakkinen, Jacques Villeneuve, and Damon Hill and his wife Georgie who were also guests of the Downs Syndrome of Singapore for their annual meeting.
Other familiar paddock faces included former Renault and Ferrari ace Rene Arnoux on a rare visit, and the British Racing Drivers Clubs Robert Brooks on a fact-finding mission on behalf of Silverstone.
Off track, Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Management, and Christina Ong, Patron of Singapore's Children's Cancer Foundation and wife of B S Ong, invited a group of children from the National University Hospital and the KK Women's and Children Hospital with their families to the paddock area.
Mr Ecclestone with the children and their families had a tour of the team garages and the kids were entertained in the Ferrari garages by the pit crews. A spokesman from the Children's Cancer foundation said the kids had the best day of their lives!
Bridgestone, meanwhile, organised for eight beneficiaries from the Club Rainbow childrens charity to meet Lewis Hamilton on Friday. Club Rainbow (Singapore) is a registered charity committed to helping children and youths suffering from a range of chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
Established in 1992, it supports more than 470 beneficiaries aged 12-19 and their families, and the special eight were given a tour of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team garage and an insight to the intricate preparation for the race. The highlight was the meeting with Hamilton. The beneficiaries presented him with a hand-made gift during a photoshoot.
Kunihiko Umemoto, President of Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, said: The buzzing excitement of the Formula 1 race is best experienced live in person with the sights, sounds and adrenalin rush. We are glad to bring the children and youths from Club Rainbow out for a remarkable time at the Singapore Grand Prix and to give them a rare glimpse of the workings behind the scenes.
Gregory Vijayendran, President of Club Rainbow, said: Life is not about the breaths that we take each moment but of breathtaking moments. This is a spectacular and special outing for these Rainbow children - to see Lewis Hamilton in person, take part in a unique tour and come up close and personal to the thrills and spills of F1 motorsports racing. With Childrens Day around the corner, thank you Bridgestone for giving our kids this rare treat and remarkable time.
Hamilton said: "One of my favourite parts of being a Formula 1 driver is getting to meet children who are ill, sick or perhaps less fortunate than most of us, and being able to share their passion and enthusiasm for grand prix racing. We mustn't lose sight of just how important sport can be to people's dreams and aspirations and I was proud to take part in today's event with Bridgestone.
Earlier in the week, Toyotas Jarno Trulli hosted a second charity auction for his Abruzzo nel Cuore appeal, raising a further 400,000 Singapore dollars (Euro200,000) in Singapore to take the total to Euro 650,000.
Trulli has been raising funds since April to help those affected by the earthquake in his home region of Abruzzo, organising a charity football match and hosting auctions of memorabilia, the latest of which occurred on Wednesday night.
Among the lots on offer at the exclusive VIP event in Singapore was a Trulli helmet, as well as racing helmets from Mark Webber and David Coulthard, while Audemars Piguet donated a unique watch which raised Euro150,000 alone.
Trulli said: "It was another great event and I would like to thank everyone who took part, especially Audemars Piguet. This money is really important for the people of Abruzzo and it will help to rebuild the community, which suffered so much damage in the earthquake. I have put a lot of energy into this charity project and I will personally make sure the money is well spent to make the people's lives better."