This afternoon I had lunch with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, the BMW Sauber F1 team drivers. Well, along with another 50 odd staff from various operating units in the company. It was one of those meet-and-greet PR events in conjunction with the coming Petronas Malaysia GP this weekend.
Initially, they were rather cold, not as friendly as I expected. While we were neither stalker freaks nor screaming fans, still, to them, we were complete strangers. So how chummy can you get with a bunch of strangers, especially you are exhausted from the Melbourne race, acclimatizing to the heat and humidity and trying your best just to stay awake from the jet-leg? So they were pretty quiet, hardly smiled even.
But be afraid not. It was lunch. The organizer certainly was playing the gracious host part very well, with a spread of scrumptious feast ready to force down their throats (and ours too). Our mouths were stuffed full that no one could talk anyway. We had the sound of chewing and the clunking of the cutlery filling up the awkward silence. But you know, food has the magical power to loosen people up. Surely, they warmed up after they got food in their stomach. They started cracking jokes and mingling with the crowd during the little quiz.
Later I was lucky enough to be one of those who got picked to pit against Heidfeld for a race at the PS2 track. I was so sucked at working at the 65 dials and buttons to control the car (old people have dexterity issue) that Kubica actually leaned over and guided me along. Needless to say I got my ass whooped big time. It was all fun anyway.
Throughout the event they were very accommodating, posing for photographs or signing autographs or just chatting with us. All in all I think they are pretty chilled guys. You know what, if they were not busy racing this weekend, I so see us hanging out watching the race together instead, chugging beers and having a laugh.
Anyway, good luck guys.