The Beckhams among Silverstone celebrities 08 Jul 2007
Along with the sunshine, Sunday at Silverstone saw a raft of celebrity visitors. With the promise of some exciting racing action proving a big draw, we caught up with some of the biggest VIPs to find out how they were enjoying their Formula One experience
An unassuming guy with short blonde hair and his equally blonde wife caused the biggest stir in the Silverstone paddock. David and Victoria Beckham - guests of the Honda team - were Formula One first timers and, judging by their comments, it wont be the last time the famous couple attend. I love fast cars - so it was about time that I visited a Formula One race, explained footballer David. The atmosphere is breathtaking. The speed and the noise paired with high-level of technology is an unbeatable combination. Its different to a soccer stadium where fans sit in a very compact space. To see those huge grandstands around the mile-long track filled with enthusiastic fans, is simply awesome. And was the noise music to singer Victoria's ears? It was music to the ears and the eyes! she explained. To be on the grid just minutes before the race starts - to see those polished cars and the guys get ready - and then hear the noise as they start their engines. Awesome, as David said.
Simon Le Bon, lead singer of pop group Duran Duran, a regular face at races, maintained that he remains as thrilled with the sport as he was when attended his very first Grand Prix. Yasmin (Le Bon) and I have been at quite a few races - my favourite was always Monaco - you smell the summer creeping up the Cote dAzur and then you have the smell of high octane fuel - thats for me! he enthused. I used to race motorbikes some years ago so I have a little understanding of what racing means. I had a quite painful accident and in the seconds that I started to lose control over the machine I was swearing to myself if this goes well, I would quit. I kept my promise. But the result of this shunt will be in the record stores soon. I was doing a gig with Justin Timberlake and I performed a song called Falling Down, which I wrote with my motorcycling experience in mind. And as I dont race any longer I will be a more frequent visitor to Formula One races in the future!
Frankie Dettori is an expert on horse power - single horse power that is. For Britains leading jockey, this seasons Silverstone race was his second Formula One experience. I dont travel much, he explained. I am on the back of a horse most weekends, but whenever I have the chance I go, though if Bernies (Ecclestone) interest in horses grows, he could probably do something to change this! Why do I like Formula One racing? An incredible spectacle! Ascot on tarmac - without hats!
His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, a dedicated Formula One fan, presented the winning trophy to Kimi Raikkonen. It is always a pleasure to be there on the podium with the drivers after a hard-fought race, he explained. Although I have learned to leave before the champagne shower starts!
Singer Dannii Minogue, former partner of ex-world champion Jacques Villeneuve, is a frequent visitor to Silverstone. Its a kind of nostalgia that I cannot resist, she said. I spent two years of my life in Formula One and this is something that I will never forget to do. To know what is going on in a team and with a driver on a race weekend - to share a common understanding of what racing is - that is it what always brings me back!
Simon Fuller, television producer and manager of the Spice Girls, accompanied the Beckhams to experience the race. Coming up here was like a family excursion for me, Fuller explained. Its a nice way to spend an afternoon with friends in an unbeatable environment of speed and technology. It will probably become an annual trip for me in the years to come!