Paddock Postcard from Sepang 10 Apr 2011
The Formula One action in Malaysia started early this year thanks to two separate street demonstrations organised by Red Bull and the Malaysian-backed Lotus team. Local heroes Lotus were first to whet appetites with their run in the countrys administrative capital, Putrajaya, last Saturday. Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli were both in action on a temporary track in front of the Palace of Justice.
"I think the Malaysian people relate to this team a lot - it's not just a sticker on a car, there's life and blood here, we have Malaysian shareholders and there are lots of Malaysians in the team, explained team principal Tony Fernandes. We really enjoy coming here and it was nice to see that we have support from the Minister of Sport and the Sepang International Circuit as well as the peoples' support."
Not to be outdone, demo stalwarts Red Bull ran their car through the streets of capital Kuala Lumpur. David Coulthard was behind the wheel along the famous thoroughfare of Jalan Bukit Bintang and the Scot sped past shopping malls, as well as performing burnouts and donuts.
"It was really nice to see the crowd come and enjoy our exciting display, he said. This event is to give a flavour of Formula One to those who have not seen it before, and it was great to have the opportunity for both myself and the crowd too."
Coulthard may have swept by retail outlets in his car, but Toro Rosso stable mates Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari actually had time to enjoy a spot of shopping before this weekends on-track action began. The duo took part in a special event at the Shah Alam Giant superstore alongside children from a local orphanage, racing each other to pick up as many groceries as they could in 10-minute supermarket sweeps. Everything they managed to trolley, as well as some additional shopping vouchers, was donated to the orphanage.
And at Virgin, the team obviously decided theres no point in having a Japanese reserve driver if you dont make use of his special culinary skills. Media were invited to a paddock event on Thursday where Sakon Yamamoto turned his attentions from raw speed to raw fish, as he guided team mates Timo Glock and Jerome dAmbrosio through the finer points of sushi making.
Amongst the dignitaries to make an appearance on the Malaysian grid was Dato Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak (MAL), the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
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