Grapevine: More News from the Paddock - Austrian GP

500 Club

500 Club

British journalist Mike Doodson became the eighth official member of Formula One media's '500 Club' as he covers his 500th race at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. Doodson is the second Briton to cross the 500 mark after Jeff Hutchinson, who also acts as Heinz-Harald Frentzen's manager. Frenchman Jabby Crombac, one of Autosport's first writers, lays claim to the most races with 570 to his name, while Austrian television presenter Heinz Pruller has covered more than 500 and Italian technical writer Giorgio Piola has been to 509 events.

Doodson's special race was marked by a lunchtime event held by Toyota on Friday, when the Briton was presented with a cake in the shape of the team's car and a photograph taken at his first race of the 500 - the 1967 French Grand Prix. He was then photographed along with Toyota boss Ove Andersson and several other long-serving journalists in the team's new motorhome.

F1 World Football Tour

These days Formula One drivers seem to spend more time playing football than they do on the track and the Grand Prix drivers' team was in action once again ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. This time, the stars of the team headed for Nova Gorica, in Slovenia, to entertain a sell-out crowd of 3,500 people by taking on an all-star team of athletes and celebrities from around the country.

The result - an entertaining 4-4 draw - saw both World Champion Michael Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella get their names on the scoresheet and the event netted around $100,000 (USD) for a charity which helps land-mine victims. The event was so well supported that even the country's prime minister took part.

Late Stop Out

German Nick Heidfeld celebrated his birthday between the Spanish and Austrian Grands Prix, just eight days before his teammate Heinz-Harald Frentzen's birthday takes place, on the day of the Austrian race. The pair, who were both born in May in the German town of Monchengladbach, commemorated the event with a cake at a pre-race party on Thursday but Heidfeld was quick to point out the difference between the two of them. "We may have been born in the same month," said Heidfeld, dressed in baggy jeans and plastic trainers. "But it was not in the same year."

Born ten years after Frentzen, Heidfeld then proceeded to show he has now grown up by staying out way past his bedtime. Both drivers were allowed to disappear at nine o'clock and while Frentzen took up the option Heidfeld stayed until around 11:00pm, twelve hours before he was due out on track for the first Saturday practice session.

Previous article Pizzonia confident after practice promise
Next article Schumacher on Pole in Dramatic Qualifying - Austria