seemed that Michael Schumacher promised a long time ago to cooperate
with the organizers of a fan-day and so it happened on September
7th. It was time that all his fans had the chance to meet the wonder
boy, who made it happen that Scuderia Ferrari re-experienced the
F1 World Championship of days gone by. This fan-day was organized
to raise funds for some changes to the circuit this year.
The official program showed a start at 8:00 am and the first 10,000
visitors with a ticket would receive a special “Michael Schumacher
Fan-tag” cap at the main entrance. After that, hurry hurry
to the main tribunes for the best places. In the paddock the first
Ferraris were parked, next to some Maseratis and a Lamborghini.
There was a fenced area with a bus and the trailers of the Scuderia
Ferrari and Baron Racing of John Bosch (NL). Michael Schumacher
would be flown in by helicopter and needed of course a place for
some privacy and to change into his race overall.
Michael Schumacher landed on the grid. There was security all over
the place and in fact it was impossible to approach him within ten
meters or so. Of course there exceptions were made for the organizers
and the crew around Michael Schumacher and Willy Weber, his manager,
and one or two German photographers. Once on the grid there was
some kissing of female friends before he went into the fenced area
of the pit-box to change clothes. In the meantime everybody thought
- as Luca Badoer climbed into the 2002 Championship car - that they
were taking photos of Michael!
During the day Michael drove some demonstration laps in a 360 Challenge
(s/n 118518 of Markus Frick) and the 2002 Championship car. Next
there were several classic Formula 1 cars, including the 500 F2
driven by Jo Volanthen. There was also a display of the F1 cars
and Michael explained several technical things asked by a radio
reporter. Photographers and TV-crews were kept on a certain distance
by a rope held by very tall policemen and security guys… but
everything was very friendly. The police very discretely removed
one photographer, after he hit two others with his photo-lens, under
also discrete protest…
was also a presentation of the new Mattel model 1:18 of the 2003
Formula 1 car (see pic right) and the first model made was handed
to Michael. After this he and Luca did some doughnuts making lots
of smoke in several places on the grid. Next there were three winners
of an E-Bay auction of a so-called “cab drive” with
Michael in the 360 Challenge. The female winner paid over Euro 4,000
for this drive and she the time of her life.
At the end of the afternoon Michael went to the huge tent in the
paddock where a radio station was preparing to broadcast an interview
with him. Several questions were asked about the F1 World Championship.
Michael seemed very relaxed and he told the crowd that he would
become World Champion again on the circuit of Suzuka in Japan and
the fans loved it. By then I had a pretty good idea of everything
that happened on this first Michael Schumacher Fan-day and, walking
to my car, I wondered whether a second Fan Day would ever happen