Paddock Postcard from Singapore 25 Sep 2011
As Formula Ones only night race, Singapore is just as hectic off track as it is exciting on it. And with the paddock staying on European time, the whole race weekend schedule moves forward several hours, meaning blackout blinds in hotel rooms and breakfasting at lunchtime.
The Singapore race organisers have also been hard at work keeping the night owls entertained, with a packed musical line-up. Shakira, Boy George, Linkin Park, Rick Astley and Shaggy are just some of the acts who have performed during the weekend.
As well as pop acts, race goers could also check out two fully-fledged musicals - Bollywood Express and Forbidden Broadway - as part of the off-track entertainment. They will also be able to take a surreal walk through the Milky Way courtesy of visual spectacle La Terra Al Centro Delluniverso, catch classical Baroque-era theatre at the Venetian Festival and enjoy Studio Festis acrobatic dance act Ocean Symphony.
There was fashion, too, courtesy of the Amber Lounge Fashion Show. Lotus reserve Karun Chandhok, Virgin counterpart Sakon Yamamoto and Ferrari equivalent Jules Bianchi were among the drivers-turned-models to try out the catwalk, whilst pop star Taio Cruz performed to the assembled glitterati.
Of the usual round of sponsorship announcements, some were particularly apt for the unusual Singapore timetable. McLaren revealed a tie-up with well-known energy drinks company Lucozade, ideal for combating any drooping eyelids, while Red Bulls cars bore the logo of famous 24-hour convenience store 7-Eleven.
On top of all this, the Marina Bay paddock was teeming with familiar faces. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was back as an FIA steward, and was accompanied by many of his FIA colleagues thanks to the World Motor Sports Council meeting earlier in the week. These included President Jean Todt, Graham Stoker, Garry Connelly, Prince Abdullah Al Kalifa of the CIK, Jacques Regis, Hugues de Chaunac, Ian Brown, the head of the Technical Commission, and Peter Wright. Sir Jackie Stewart was joined by other former F1 stars Niki Lauda, Jacky Ickx, Jean Alesi, John Watson, Nick Heidfeld, Christian Danner, Karl Wendlinger and Bas Leinders.
Ron Dennis was in town promoting the new McLaren MP4/12C, and former Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar designer Gary Anderson was busy on TV duties in the paddock. Sir Richard Branson also paid a visit, as did MSA chief Alan Gow, former rally star Michelle Mouton, CAMS president Andrew Papadopoulos and golfing legend Nick Faldo.
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For tickets and travel to 2011 Formula One races, click here.