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Rock stars run riot at Silverstone 12 Jun 2006

Axl Rose (GBR) Lead Singer Guns N Roses on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, 11 June 2006 (L to R): Jodie Kidd (GBR) and Jay Kay (GBR) on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, 11 June 2006 Richard Ashcroft (GBR) Singer 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, 11 June 2006 One of the Kaiser Chiefs.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 11 June 2006 Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) F1 Supremo (Left) with Emerson Fittipaldi (BRA) (Centre).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 11 June 2006

There seemed to be almost as many rock stars as star drivers at Sunday’s British Grand Prix. We took a walk down the pit lane to catch up just a few of the famous names enjoying the sights, sounds and sun at Silverstone…

Axl Rose, front man of legendary rock band Guns N’ Roses was a Formula One first timer at the British Grand Prix - and he was totally overwhelmed. A guest of Mercedes, his reaction was a mixture of disbelief and fascination. “Sure we have racing in the US, but this here is another dimension,” he said. “The atmosphere is mesmerizing. All my professional life I have worked with sound so I truly appreciate the noise that these cars produce. They make the air vibrate. I am very happy having been given the chance to feel this spectacle with all my senses. True, it’s my first time, but surely not my last. My favourites? Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen.” Rose must have had a look into the crystal ball - the podium turned out exactly that way.

In contrast to Rose, Jay Kay, Jamiroquai’s front man is no stranger to Formula One racing. The slightly race-addicted singer is a regular visitor to the British Grand Prix, so it was no surprise to see him strolling through the paddock. “It’s no secret that I love racing, doing a little bit myself,” he said. “So when the guys start their engines at Silverstone it’s a question of honour for me to be there. For musicians the sound of those cars must have something magical. It creates vibes that go straight to your brain. I guess that’s why you find so many of us at races. You can bet that I’ll be here again next year - if not at one of the other races this season somewhere around the globe.”

Kaiser Chiefs are Britain’s new secret weapon in the rock music segment, and as noise is their business, it was no great shock to find them at the British Grand Prix. “We always loved F1, but before we became famous we couldn’t afford to come to a race,” joked lead singer Ricky Wilson. “We are huge fans of the British drivers, and in particular Jenson Button. It was really a coincidence that we are here today, as one of our publishers met with someone from Honda at David Beckham’s party recently in London. After that, we received an invite to come to the British F1 GP. We love the atmosphere and the noise of the cars, and it is stunning how much money is involved to have the boys running their racers.”

Jodie Kidd, top model and an amazing racer herself, is also a frequent visitor to the Silverstone paddock. “I am addicted to racing like my good friend Jay Kay is, and I knew that he cannot resist and would be here, so it was an extra pleasure to come to have a little chat among us amateurs.”

"You could be a star or you could be a fool - it’s all in the mind,” says a line in one of Richard Ashcroft’s songs. The singer and former front man of The Verve certainly proved no fool when he fulfilled his desire to stop in at the Silverstone paddock. “I grew up not so far from here, so it was always in my blood to visit the British Grand Prix,” he said. “I am delighted to mingle with those guys who make racing their living. In some moments I envy them.”

Nearly a Formula One novice was new British Airways CEO Willy Walsh. “It’s very impressive to see this,” he said. “The enthusiasm of the fans, the sound of the cars, the professionalism of the teams and the high tech environment of the paddock. I have one been at a race many years ago, but my memory has faded so I am happy to be here for a refreshment.”

Definitely no Formula One first timer was double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. The Brazilian admitted he is not able to visit his former work environment as much as he would like to, but is still very much aware of how things have progressed: “Where do I see the most obvious changes to the time when I was racing? How safety has improved. When we started out with 22 drivers at the beginning of the season it was likely that three of us would not be around at the end due to fatal accidents. This is the real jump that F1 has made. These (improved) safety standards have helped to make it a global sport and to build such an incredible show around it.”