Grapevine: News from the Paddock - Italian GP

Football Mania

Grapevine: News from the Paddock - Italian GP

Football Mania

Michael Schumacher moved his success on the tarmac onto grass again on Wednesday when he was the star striker in a charity football match. Playing alongside other Formula One drivers, including Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, of Jordan, Schumacher's team outperformed a squad of fashion designers to eek out a narrow 1-0 victory thanks to a cool strike from the World Champion's boot.

Played on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, which troubled Schumacher more than most drivers last year, the event was a success and Fisichella said: "Michael did a good score. It was nice, quite a lot of people. It was the 11th of September but that atmosphere was good."

Model Mania

Several teams cottoned onto a clever idea of showing off top models in the Monza paddock as a way to spice up several press conferences held to fill the time on Thursday afternoon. Vodafone introduced an Australian model, who is the face of their Italian advertising campaign, for a photoshoot with the Ferrari drivers, and Sauber decided to liven up the announcement of their newly-formed link-up with the EU to fight the HIV/AIDS virus by parading model Satya Oblet for the cameras with their drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa.

Voda-Flop

Telecommunications giants and Ferrari sponsors Vodafone held a press conference with their chief executive Sir Christopher Gent in Monza on Thursday to celebrate their first ever full-sponsorship of a Formula One event. Sitting alongside Ferrari team members Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, Gent hailed Vodafone's sponsorship of Ferrari as a huge success - but the company unfortunately failed to get their basics right as several people on the Vodafone network failed to get a signal on their mobiles and had to switch to a rival brand to file their copy.

Make My Day

Ferrari star Rubens Barrichello may get a buzz out of driving flat out around the 17 circuits on the Grand Prix calendar - but during the Vodafone press conference, he made sure it was clear that what really gets him going is hearing from his little son chatting to him over his sponsors' mobile phone when he is away. The Brazilian star, whose child Eduardo is now just more than a year old, said: "He is starting to talk, and his 'pa, pa, pa, pa' is what makes my day." And, no doubt, with Vodafone paying his bills, he can afford to listen to 'pa, pa, pa, pa' for as long as he wants.

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