Paddock Cat on Jack Sparrow, marathons and non-alcoholic champagne after an exciting race in Bahrain

  • Written on:

The start of the London Marathon was a focal point of interest for the Formula One paddock. Lots of people knew someone taking part in the race, and none more closely than Bernie Ecclestone, whose girlfriend Fabiana Flosi was a competitor.

“I think she’s looking forward to it,” said Bernie when he arrived at the track. “I’m not sure what her time will be; I think she hopes to break five hours.”

When news of the early stages of the race filtered through to the Bahrain paddock, mouths dropped. The leaders completed the opening 10kms in 29m34s – the equivalent of 4m30s per mile. For 26 miles. “That’s hard core,” said Jenson Button.

Due to the support races, there wasn’t time to run around the Bahrain International Circuit this morning. Lots of coffee was drunk instead as people pondered the outcome of the race, but cappuccinos were not on the cards. To get a good froth, you need bespoke cow’s milk, not the milk powder on offer here.

The drivers had similar problems generating bubbles on the podium after the race. Being a Muslim country, Bahrain is dry in every sense of the word – it rains about once every two months and no alcohol is consumed. As a result, no champagne was sprayed on the podium and the top three drivers were left to ‘spray’ a cocktail called ‘waard’, which was made of rosewater and pomegranates.

“It doesn’t taste too bad,” said race winner Sebastian Vettel. “It’s just quite difficult to spray!”

Williams star Bruno Senna had to deal with something that wasn’t quite the real deal today as well. During the drivers’ autograph session, someone dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow approached him and asked for his signature.

“You’re not having my autograph,” said Bruno, “I want yours!” And that’s what happened: Captain Jack signed one of Bruno’s autograph cards, before politely moving on.

There’s now a three-week break in the calendar, before the European F1 season kicks off in Barcelona on 13 May. Before then, there’s a three-day test session at Mugello for the teams to get through. There’s no rest for the wicked.