I first met Lewis Hamilton in Montreal, with Nicole Scherzinger, introducing them to the CEO of The Toronto International Film Festival, Piers Handling, Warren Spitz a board member of the film festival. I asked Nicole to come to the festival and be a part of it, she at the time had no idea one of my favorite video was of her in Pussycat Dolls doing a song ‘Ja Ho’. Lewis Hamilton went on to win the Canadian Grand Prix. The following year Niki Lauda came to the film festival with the film ‘Rush’.
In Bahrain Lewis Hamilton becomes the first British driver ever to start in pole position, alongside another driver who did something very special for me and who I also met in Montreal ( a very good sign do things on home soil, Canada) Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari. So let’s breakout some dance moves to ‘Jai Ho’
“I shouldn’t say it, but I don’t know, I was s***ting myself in the last few laps because here and there the thought was coming into my head, I was looking at the top of the chassis, and thinking ‘this is a red car, you’re about to win!’. And then I thought ‘stop thinking about it otherwise you’ll miss the next apex or something’. Real relief to cross the line in the end!” – Sebastian Vettel
The David Bowie Is exhibit is currently in Paris. It will move to Melbourne in July the city that also hosts the opening of the 2015 Formula One season the Australian Grand Prix. George Lucas executive produced the film in which David Bowie stars, ‘Labyrinth’. So what connects George Lucas, Dietrich Mateschitz, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari? a band the Rolling Stones, and Ferrari.
When I took the above photograph in Monaco at the Monaco Grand Prix, the team of people who at the time worked for Lucas, had invited me to the Stars Wars party, and I was keen to meet a fellow Canadian actor Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader) and at the time I also owned an Energy Drinks Company. After the party Lucas’s assistant want to call for a taxi to go to her hotel and I offered to drive her the car having been delivered directly to the hotel. Try getting a taxi in Monaco during the Grand Prix weekend, you will wait forever, and with me taking her she would have the added bonus of my commentary on the street track on Monte Carlo.
As we walked out the door man raced to an awaiting Ferrari and opened the door for her. Lucas’s assistant looked at me a little amused, “that’s your car?”, “Yea, I just got it today, I don’t even know who to start it yet”, I told her ( which was true as I had to ask the valet). When we got in the Ferrari the varoom start that is associated with a Ferrari was heard then again you hear that all the time in Monaco. I managed to get the small lights on, but had no idea how to turn on the headlight. I informed my passenger we will be alright as the car had Monaco plates they the police will give us a pass. It was during this drive that Lucas’s assistant informed me of his passion for Ferrari, as in his youth Lucas wanted to be a race car driver.
Few months later I would invite Lucas and few others to the Rolling Stones show in San Francisco and it was there I was to learn how much Lucas loves technology, not as much understanding it, but using it to tell his story better on the big screen. This point always registered in my brain and it has been logged.
Many years later as the Rolling Stones are the Rolling Stones they where on tour and this time happened to be in Montreal at the time of the Canadian Grand Prix. Red Bull Racing’s , Sebastian Vettel won the race. As I gave my friends the tour of the paddocks after the race and pit lane, I saw Vettel and wanted to see if he wanted to come to the show that evening. Vettel introduced me to his assistant, and asked if he could get his team into the show. Naturally I told him he had nothing to worry about all would be taken care off. The Rolling Stones made it happen the reason they are the Rolling Stones is that they also have a first class team around them, and their relationship with David Bowie is infamous.
Few months later the Rolling Stones on tour tragedy struck as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend of many years L’Wren Scott killed herself. Allowing a respectful time to pass, I thought it maybe a great idea to lift Mick Jagger’s spirits by having Sebastian Vettel Formula One world champion present Jagger a Jarrell autographed guitar. This time Sebastian Vettel obliged, his way of show support and saying thank you for the time all of Red Bull racing came to see the Rolling Stones in Montreal. The guitar is made by Jarrell guitars who after discovering that Sebstain Vettel also plays guitar presented him with a guitar as well. It is also a guitar that Bowie film has used with one kindly offered by the man himself to take on a world tour allowing people to hold it the gold Jarrell Bowie guitar. Shortly afterwards the news hit the media that Sebastian Vettel was leaving Red Bull Racing and moving to Ferrari.
Today in Melbourne we come full circle with David Bowie film, Lucas and his love for Ferrari and Vettel his dream to drive for Ferrari. The fun is only beginning as the season is just starting. If you are Italian or a Ferrari lover like Lucas and myself we will all have something to cheer about. Italian chef Alberto Annarumma who is excited about Ferrari and David Bowie film and holding the guitar which is on a world tour even created a David Bowie Menu to delight your sence.
Check out the Ferrari I gave Lucas assistant a spin in, and some of the images of things evolved and unfolded up to today’s race in Melbourne.
I flew in from Toronto to London and was sitting in Flavio Briatore’s home on Cadogan Square. I had this idea which I had shared with the CEO of Labatts to explore sponsorship of another Formula One Team, Bennetton. Flavio in his Flavio way, ( confident and cocky ), explained to me that he had a new driver and he would be sensational, it was Michael Schumacher. Flavio invited me to come visit the team at the Canadian Grand Prix. Michael was clicking the wins, he had not won his first World Championship. It was my first meeting with Michael, his wife and their dog. Michaels wife explained to me she never likes to fly anywhere without the dog. On the car ride back Flavio asked me to jump in the car with Michaels wife and it was on this ride back to our hotel in Montreal that I asked her if she ever feared for Michaels life? “No I don’t, these cars are so safe now”, she said, knowing full well that each time you race you play with death. The car is a shell to protect you, and when you think of all the fatal crashes you understand the technology that goes into building the fast cars that go zoom, zoom and crash and the driver protected by light weight shell of Kevlar walk away.
Michael lies in a coma, the whole world knows what’s going on his family and friends around him, and the only reason Michael has the opportunity of fighting for his life is that he wore a helmet. Some will say what about the doctors? Yes, that too, but Michael would not have made it off the Alps in France if he did not have that outer shell to protect him.
Naturally others including myself are shattered by the fact that Michael is fighting for his life. It is why the wisdom and words of World Champion Sebastian Vettel after his wins and doing donuts over the radio to his team “enjoy this moment guys you never know how long it will last”.
I think of my two Christmas cards from Team Benetton 1994 and 1995 with Michael and his first two World Championship wins. I get teary eyed. I think of moments standing in the paddocks of the Monaco Grand Prix next to the Ferrari trailer while Michael zipped around on his little scoter. I get teary eyed.
Lets all just say a prayer and may the heavens respond in kind.
As all of you go into the new year, please remember to just enjoy the now, those moments that make you smile, love, kiss just plain life, because you never know how long it will last.