Celebrities flock to Istanbul race 21 Aug 2005
A first Grand Prix in a country new to Formula One racing is always a big event. Turkey was no exception and sure enough it attracted a wide variety of famous race fans. We caught up with just a few
A man of many attributes - and some occasional strange behaviour - former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson found himself centre of attention during his first visit to a Formula One race in Turkey, as a guest of Renault team boss Flavio Briatore. During his grid walk he drew frenetic applause from the packed crowds in the stands. Gee, I wish I had known before that Formula one is such a magnet to the audience, he said. Then this would not be my first race but the latest in a long row. As an athlete I perfectly understand whats going on in those guys in their machines. I truly can say that from now on I will be a worshipper!
Ursula Andress, the first and arguably ultimate Bond girl, was stunned by the Formula One technology on display in Turkey. I had no imagination that it (the sport) is so big, she said. When Bo (Derek) asked me to come along I thought why not, but I didnt have big expectations. Now I see that this is the ultimate male sport - something that will exist for a very long time. It also takes into account female needs in that it is very glamorous. Bo Derek, who was also at the season-opening race in Melbourne, was glad she brought Ursula along. I knew that she would like it - and I was right!
Five-times Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou, star of such box office hits as Steven Spielbergs Amistad, Gladiator and Lara Croft, was another Formula One virgin in Istanbul. Friend and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - himself a huge fan - had suggested he come. I am fascinated by F1, said Hounsou. Sometimes when I am in LA I get up at 7 in the morning, move over to Arnolds house and then we watch a race being held somewhere in Europe. So to be here personally is a dream that I have had a long time and as I am shooting a film here in Turkey I thought Id take the chance. And believe me - the reality is much better than anything on TV.
A heavyweight of another kind in Turkey was Ukrainian Transport Minister Yevhen Chervonenko, a guest and friend of Jordan team owner Alex Shnaider. My first race was in Monte Carlo and it was there that I fell under the spell of F1. Now, when I am on an informal trip to meet my Turkish counterpart, I took up the opportunity to come again. And I will be back for more.