Grapevine: Final News from the Paddock - European GP

Well-Prepared Podium

Grapevine: Final News from the Paddock - European GP

Well-Prepared Podium

It was revealed after the European Grand Prix that this year's race was always destined to be a Williams-BMW one-two. Last year, the organisers made a habit of playing the German national anthem before the race, just to check it worked so that everything went smoothly when Mr Schumacher stepped onto the podium to claim his latest prize in his year of uberdomination. This year, however, the organisers appeared to have decided it would be a Williams win - because they painted the podium blue and white with Allianz covering the background.

The move, of course, was because the event was sponsored by the company, but it seemed appropriate that the overalls matched the background. Ralf Schumacher took the winners' trophy but it was his teammate Juan Pablo Montoya who was handed the plaudits in the paddock after his move on Michael Schumacher proved that overtaking is still possible at the sharp end of Formula One.

Mr A's Cat

Toyota team principal Ove Andersson, affectionately known to his staff as 'Mr A', literally revealed some of his pet hates during a media dinner at the Nurburgring this weekend - when he admitted he cannot stand cats. Andersson has a dog and a number of horses, to satisfy his wife's equestrian interests, but the Swede revealed that felines are "too independent" for him to handle. Not that he has much interest in the other pets either - because his biggest love is his 750 motorbike, which he rides around the roads near his home "in the middle of nowhere" in his spare time.

"I do not get much time to do it, unfortunately," he said, as he entertained journalists in an entertaining evening inside the Toyota motorhome. He will not be joining fellow bike freak Patrick Head, the Williams-BMW technical director, in donning his leathers to ride his bike to Magny-Cours next weekend for the French Grand Prix because he does not like the chance of rain.

Film Star Meet-Up

Hot on the heels of Jaguar's celebrity shows in Monte Carlo, where film star Wesley Snipes and model Helena Christensen were among several high-profile guests that were in attendance, Jaguar hailed two German film stars on Sunday when they invited Heino Ferch and Juergen Schornagel to pose for photographs with their two drivers, Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia. They are unlikely to know who these film stars are, so, answers on a postcard...

Jordan Firing on All Cylinders

The Jordan Grand Prix team revealed this weekend that they were down on men at the Canadian Grand Prix after a football match between their mechanics and those from Brackley rivals BAR-Honda. The hotly contested event saw two of Jordan's key team members injured with twisted wrists and slipped disks and one insider said "we ended up with half a gearbox man at that race because the one we had could only use one hand!" They were back to full strength for the European Grand Prix, only to have another key member of the mechanics team flake out on them and fly home ill.

Rubens Number Two

Whether they planned it or not, Ferrari have rubbed salt in the wounds of Brazilian Rubens Barrichello after leaving him out of their long-term plans - by clearly cementing his actual position as number two for all to see. Not by their actions on track this time, however, they have taken a more blatant approach to the situation of pointing out the drivers car number two, rather than World Champion teammate Michael Schumacher's number one, by forcing him to wear a red Ferrari cap with a massive number two covering the front. If ever there was confusion, the post-race press conference at the Nurburgring proved beyond doubt.

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