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Chinese whispers from Keanu Reeves (and a Kung Fu master) 07 Oct 2007

Keanu Reeves (CDN) Hollywood Actor meets Nick Fry (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team Chief Executive Officer, Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team and Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 7 October 2007 Keanu Reeves (CDN) Actor on the grid with Nick Fry (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 7 October 2007 Keanu Reeves (CDN) Hollywood Actor meets Nick Fry (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team Chief Executive Officer, Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team and Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 7 October 2007 Maxi Jazz (GBR) Singer talks to McLaren mechnics
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 6 October 2007

When you hear his name you think black leather and wraparound shades - Neo from the Matrix movie trilogy. But walking the grid as a Honda guest in Shanghai, Keanu Reeves bore little resemblance to his alter ego, relaxed and laidback, sporting jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. Nevertheless, the aura of Hollywood superstar remained.

“I have always fancied racing since I was a little kid,” said Reeves. “Back home in the US I even get up early to watch the Grand Prix on television, so it was great that the team accepted my request to come out and see a race up-close and personal. Everyone that I have met here was really professional and focused. I took the time and looked at the car and its specifications very closely, e.g. the tyres, engine and also the telemetry support. Nick (Fry) even gave me the opportunity to sit in the car, which felt quite inspiring and it kind of fitted well - even for my 1.85 meters. I am sure this first personal glimpse into F1 racing will be the start of more.

“And what is it that fascinates me most? Now I could say something about technology and precision, but the truth is very simple: going fast. But I also see an aesthetic beauty in the machines, and I have learned a lot from the technological side of racing and what it takes to drive such a race car around those fast tracks from my hosts. And yes, there is certainly a part of me that wants me to drive myself. Today was such a great experience and I hope that this was not the first and only time I’ll be at a Formula One race because, man, that race was a thriller. The reality is so much better than the telly!”

A long-time Formula One aficionado is musician Maxi Jazz from cult band Faithless. He was able to combine business and pleasure by playing in Shanghai and then visiting the paddock for the Grand Prix. “I have been at quite a number of races when I performed at Red Bull race weekend events, so you could say, hey, don’t get carried away by something that you already know so well. But honestly, it still gives me the goose bumps. And the best is yet to come for me personally - I have decided to compete in the Ferrari Challenge next year. For sure, this will also be about winning, but more about the fun of it.”

For years he played the stoic Shaolin monk on a quest for internal peace in the TV series Kung Fu. Then it seems things went a little quite for David Carradine, until Quentin Tarantino rediscovered him for his Kill Bill movies. Now Carradine is back in business - with six films in the making - and back in China, visiting the Shanghai paddock.

“Somehow all of this here has a lot to do with the message of the Kung Fu series: don’t crack under extreme pressure, always focus on your own core and feel the strength flowing inside you. Having said that, I am overwhelmed by the show here. It has all the elements of a truly great spectacle. Now you can see this environment’s gotten me so excited that I forgot the foremost principle of Kwai Chang Caine, the character I played in the Kung Fu series - don’t get carried away!”