Grapevine: Final News from the Paddock - Hungarian GP

Bernie Statue

Grapevine: Final News from the Paddock - Hungarian GP

Bernie Statue

Bernie Ecclestone cares little for being given personal gestures but the Hungarian Grand Prix organisers persist in lauding him every year. After naming the road to the circuit 'Bernie Drive' a few years ago it seemed they could do little more to 'please' the commercial rights holder - but they excelled themselves this year by creating his very own statue for him. Placed alongside a statue of a Formula One car and at the head of a walkway filled with statues of all the World Champions, the bespectacled bust of 'Bernie' showed that the Hungaroring promoters know exactly who they have to impress to keep their show on the calendar.

Boat Race

The FIA almost spoiled McLaren-Mercedes' party on Friday evening despite giving their driver Kimi Raikkonen a reprieve following his call to the stewards over an accusation of dangerous driving - because they waited for ages to announce the decision. Mercedes were left frantically working out what to do about the fact that many of the journalists who were planning to join them for their traditional boat party were unable to make the 7:30pm boarding time because they were typing away at their keyboards and working on the FIA stewards meeting story.

They were almost left with an empty boat but sensibly and kindly decided to delay the departure time by an hour and everyone made it - albeit with one arriving just in the nick of time as the ropes were removed from the moorings. It was a relief for the Mercedes crew that the boat went at all, however, after last year's experience of the flooding Danube left the boat firmly tied to the banks as the waters flew past.

EJ Party

Eddie Jordan must have been one of the most popular men at the Hungaroring this weekend. Not only did he run their local driver in Friday testing and then promote him to the race team on Saturday morning, he gave the fans the 'night of their lives' on Friday when his EJ10 band headlined a free concert with their unique blend of guitar and drum rock. He came on stage after two local bands and although a limited amount of people turned out especially to watch the drumming team boss giving his sticks a workout and his concert is unlikely to have increased crowd numbers or not, his decision to put Zsolt Baumgartner in the car on Sunday certainly did.

T-Shirt Celebration

Minnows Minardi turned in their 300th race this weekend so the fourth oldest team on the Grand Prix grid made the most of their moment by creating some special t-shirts for the occasion. They did little else, other than sup champagne and enjoy a large cake on race day, but their clothing gesture was a fitting commemoration to the people that have worked to keep the Minardi name in Formula One. Emblazoned with the number 300 on the front, the rear of the black shirt displayed signatures of every driver that has raced for the team in their 19-year history.

Who Are You?

The traditional Formula One football dinner was played out at a restaurant in Hungary on Friday night and once again the star of the show was Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn. The annual event sees journalists and special guests gather to discuss the performance of their favourite football team and predict the winners of the new Premiership season and it was in full flow when Brawn and his wife arrived. But they knew they were in for some abuse when they arrived, dressed in Manchester United shirts, and burst through the curtain to a chorus of "Who are you? Who are you?" Unfortunately for Brawn, it did not end there. He won the trophy for the best predictions for last season's Premiership and he was handed it with the comment: "That's the only piece of silverware you will be getting this season." Brawn's simple response came as a closed-eyed smile.

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