Famous fans flock to Montreal race 13 Jun 2005
As always, the Canadian pit lane boasted its fair share of celebrities this year, drawn from the worlds of film, sport, television, business and entertainment. We caught up with just a handful
Some Hollywood stars have such famous faces that hiding is simply impossible. This surely applies to Michael Douglas, who tried to keep a low profile in Montreal, but was immediately spotted by the media upon entering the paddock. "Somehow I knew that McLaren Mercedes would win this race, and this was the reason why I am here today - to see that I was right, he said. You know, the drivers may change over the years but the fans stay the same - this is my situation. I will always be a Formula 1 and specially a McLaren Mercedes fan, no matter who is driving for them. So I will be at races whenever my schedule allows it."
Louis Camilleri is a real Formula One fan, from both a business and sporting perspective, hence he squeezed the Canadian Grand Prix into his busy schedule. As Altria's CEO - Altria being the parent company of such household names as Philip Morris and Kraft Food - Camilleri is frequently spotted in the paddock, always starting his season of race attendances in Montreal. "Our company has a long history of commitment to Formula One so it is natural that I visit a race or two and it is always an extra pleasure to come to Montreal - not only because the short distance from New York is convenient, but because I love the city with its fantastic atmosphere on the race weekend. This race truly combines the flair of a metropolis with a high class sport event. So I am almost sure that also next year it will be business as usual and I will be back again."
For Mario Lemieux the star of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and for many the best ice hockey player after Wayne Gretzky, it was his first Formula One race. "I was invited by (Midland boss and Jordan owner) Alex Shnaider to join him for my home grand prix and I didnt have much of an idea what to expect. Sure, as an active athlete I follow racing in the US - but what I saw here was something that went way beyond what I expected. The high tech on display, the magnitude of the event and the life style that goes with it was something that really surprised me beyond all imagination. It is very likely that whenever he chance occurs, that I will be back in the paddock."
Anthony Edwards, from the US hit television series ER and Tom Cruises co-star in the box office smash Top Gun, was a Williams guest in Montreal. Edwards is a long time and fervent Formula One fan. "I am addicted to Formula One and whenever time allows me, attend three or four races a season - at least this is my delusion and I always try very hard to make it come true. So with Montreal being the first for me this season watch out for me at races to come."
The Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal is a must for local boy Guy Laliberte. The founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil, and the man named one of the 50 most innovative businessmen in 2004 for revolutionizing the entertainment industry, plays host to one of the ultimate parties of the weekend, mingling the magic of his shows with the technology of Formula One racing. "For years I am one of Formula One's biggest fans. To come to a race and stroll through the paddock means relaxation for me. I love the people involved because theirs is a technical creativity while mine is on a visual level. What we have in common is the entertainment and sensation factor - and that we want to deliver a perfect show to the audience. And I am a friend of Flavio (Briatore) and Bernie (Ecclestone)."