Paddock Postcard from Yas Marina 04 Nov 2012
It may be a relative newcomer to the calendar, but Abu Dhabi is fast finding its footing as one of the sports most glamorous and popular sojourns. And despite less than a weeks turnaround between the Indian and Yas Marina rounds, there were plenty of off-track activities to keep everybody entertained.
On Thursday, Williams Bruno Senna visited the Beach Soccer Stadium in Dubai Festival City, alongside UFC World Champion Anderson Silva and former Corinthians captain William Machado de Oliveira, to enjoy beach soccer action with the Brazilian National Team. Senna and his fellow sports stars were taught a few beach soccer tricks and also competed to see who could create the funniest penalty kick.
McLarens Jenson Button also worked out in a slightly different fashion in the pre-race build-up, running the nearby Dubai Autodrome. The 35-kilometre run was part of his acclimatization process for the Yas Marina race and also part of his preparations for a marathon he is taking part in in Hawaii in December.
Young students, meanwhile, were exercising their brains as the F1 in Schools™ World Finals took place at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Cold Fusion, a team from Brighton Secondary School in Adelaide, Australia, were crowned the 2012 world champions, lifting the Bernie Ecclestone trophy and receiving Motorsport and Automotive Engineering Scholarships for City University, London.
Im speechless said Cold Fusions team Manager, Jane Burton, It is just awesome, an amazing day, a fantastic week and to top it all we are the world champions. Weve been working for this for years now and it means everything to us. Winning the City University scholarships is something were all very keen to take up, but for now were just over the moon, I dont think it has sunk in and I think it will take a while. Its been a very special experience and we have just loved doing F1 in Schools.
The winners not only took the world champion crown, but also won the fastest car award with a time of 1.045 seconds on the 20 metre race track, the best engineered car award and were the winners of the knockout racing competition.
Back in the F1 paddock, Yas Marina was as always one of the most interesting and sociable of the season. Against the backdrop of concerts by Kylie Minogue, Nickelback and Eminem, Ron Dennis, Piero Lardi Ferrari and Sir Jackie Stewart rubbed shoulders with Bahraini royalty such as Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, while FIA Vice-President Mohammed bin Sulayam also paid a visit.
Other well-known racing faces included Alain Prost; former McLaren and Stewart racer Jan Magnusson, here to watch son Kevin drive for McLaren in next weeks young driver test; Christian Klien and father Johannes; John Watson; David Richards; Harald Huysman and his daughter; Claudio Berro formerly of Ferrari and Maserati and now with Lotus; Mike Howe of the Scottish Motor Racing Club; entrepreneur Zak Brown; and, for the second race in a row, Anthony and Linda Hamilton. Olympian gold medallist Jessica Ennis and soon-to-retire MotoGP ace Casey Stoner also visited.
On track, the Aussie V8s proved as popular as ever with their bullish sounds and close racing spectacle, providing three wins for Team Vodafones Jamie Whincup, the first two from Will Davison and Shane van Gisbergen and the third from Davison and Tim Slade. Among those visiting with that circus were Martine, Ryan and Sean Walkinshaw who own and run the Holden Racing Team, plus their former Lotus and McLaren engineer Steve Hallam.
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