| 13.2°C Dublin

Thousands enjoy life in the fast lane as F1's Jenson Button races across city in bloom

TENS of thousands of people flocked to Dublin's City Centre over the weekend for a mixture of a Formula 1 demonstration as well as the Bloom Festival.

A STAGGERING 110,000 people braved the wet weather to line the Dublin streets to catch a glimpse of Formula 1 star Jenson Button as he raced through our capital for the first time.

A week after tearing up the circuit in Monaco, the famous Vodafone McLaren driver touched down in Ireland to entertain crowds in the debut Bavaria City Racing challenge.

Button led a host of talented drivers as they whizzed past in the five-hour extravaganza.

Speaking before the event kicked off, the 2009 World Drivers' Champion told of his delight to give something back to his Irish contingent of fans.


"When we come to an event like this, where it's more about the fun, we can relax and have some fun with the car ... [We like] to make a bit of noise for the fans and this gives them a chance to get close to the action. They normally can't do that at a Grand Prix ... so it's great because they can hear the cars, see the cars and almost touch the cars, too.

"They'll get a real surprise with the noise of a Formula 1 car, especially in a city.

"It's great to see so many people here on not such a nice day," he said, adding that he would not be showing off the maximum speed of the car due to the slippery conditions of the roads.

"It's more about the spectacle, I think, the noise and seeing the car itself, rather ... trying to prove what my F1 car can do.

"These events are great because you get a lot of interest in the sport. Obviously Formula 1 is pretty big as it is, but we try to reach out to as many people as possible and [we want] to get more interested in what, for me, is the best sport in the world."

Button also spoke of his fond memories racing as a 10-year-old in County Cork: "I was amazed because everyone raced and then had a pint after.

"That was a great experience, I really enjoyed that."

Over 70 cars took part in the one-day bash and turned out to demonstrate the power of their motors on the makeshift 2.56km-length track.

Event ambassador Eddie Jordan was a no show for the earlier part of the occasion, however.

The former F1 boss was due to help kick off the festivities, but pulled out at the last last minute.

Up to 12 models dressed in Bavaria-themed outfits, including former Miss Ireland Sinead Noonan, Lisa Nolan and Nicola Hughes, paraded around the lavish cars for the afternoon to add some extra glamour to the festivities.

Meanwhile, the wet weather failed to dissuade people from attending the Bloom Festival in the Phoenix Park over the weekend.

Despite the rain, attendance records for this year's Bloom are expected to break more records.