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GP Week : Issue 3
29 www. GPWEEK. com RED Bull’s PR may claim it gives you wings, but in France its power of flight has long been clipped. As the energy drink manufacturer permeates seemingly every level of our day-to-day lives, and extends its reach into countless sports, France has stuck steadfastly by its ban of the drink which, it claims, has been instigated on medically backed-up safety grounds. In motorsport, we often hear tales of Red Bull backed teams being stopped at the French border as les Gendarmes search the trucks for contraband cans of the potion, which are then confiscated on the spot. True or not, the stories refuse to die. Which was why this week’s news of Red Bull’s sponsorship of the Citroen WRC team made me smile. It seems those clever marketing bods at Red Bull have decided that if France won’t sell their product, they’ll sponsor everything French they can! The deal to run Red Bull decals on the Citroen means that French media outlets will have little choice but to inadvertently advertise this’ illicit’ product, as with four- time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, now racing in Formula 1 for Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, the drinks manufacturer has got the country’s top two motorsport superstars firmly locked within their stable. Genius. It wouldn’t be the first time that Red Bull has tried to use motorsport as a way of infiltrating France. If one believes the rumours, Bourdais should have been making his Formula 1 debut anywhere between 1999, when he was crowned French F3 champion, and 2001 when he raced for DAMS in F3000. Allegedly a deal was put in place to pay for Bourdais’ jump to F1 at the Prost Grand Prix team, France’s national team, no less. Red Bull, says the rumour, would have paid Prost handsomely for giving the youngster a seat, in return for a few logos on the car and a lift of the ban in France. History tells us this never happened … perhaps because the rumour is no more than such. But with that story fresh in my mind, Bourdais running for Red Bull in F1 and Loeb now carrying their logos in the rally, it seems Red Bull and the policy chiefs in France are set for another round of fun and games. Pos # Driver Team Laps Time Grid 1 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 56 1:31:18.555 2 2 4 Robert Kubica BMW 56 +19.5s 4 3 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 56 +38.4s 8 4 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 56 +45.8s 3 5 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 56 +46.5s 9 6 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW 56 +49.8s 5 7 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56 +68.1s 6 8 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 56 +70.0s 7 9 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 56 +76.2s 12 10 16 Jenson Button Honda 56 +86.2s 11 11 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 56 +92.2s 13 12 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 55 +1 Lap 17 13 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 55 +1 Lap 14 14 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 55 +1 Lap 16 15 19 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 55 +1 Lap 21 16 18 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 54 +2 Laps 19 17 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 54 +2 Laps 22 Ret 15 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 39 Hydraulics 15 Ret 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 30 Spin 1 Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 5 Hydraulics 20 Ret 12 Timo Glock Toyota 1 Accident 10 Ret 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 0 Spin 18 FORMULA 1 | Round 2 MALAYSIA Points – Drivers: Hamilton 14, Raikkonen 11, Heideld 11, Kovalainen 10, Kubica 8, Rosberg 6, Alonso 6, Trulli 5, Nakajima 3, Bourdais 2, Webber 2. Manufacturers: McLaren-Mercedes 24, BMW 19, Ferrari 11, Williams-Toyota 9, Renault 6, Toyota 5, STR-Ferrari 2, Red Bull 2 . o p in io n WILL BUxtOn GPWeek Editor F1 malaysia >> C’est rusé, non?