Eric Cantona visits Renault at Silverstone

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Eric Cantona visited Silverstone yesterday for his first taste of Formula One as a guest of the ING Renault F1 Team. The former Manchester United star turned actor took the chance to meet members of the team and inspected the R29 chassis up close with a tour of the garage.

As Fernando is a massive football fan, he was delighted to meet Eric as they posed together for a quick photo-shoot and exchanged gifts shortly before the race. Eric had brought along one of his famous number 7 Manchester United football shirts, which he signed and gave to Fernando. In return Eric received one of Fernando's race helmets, which Fernando also signed.

We caught up with Eric for a quick chat as he soaked up the atmosphere of the British Grand Prix.

Eric, is this your first visit to a Grand Prix?

"Yes, it's my first race and my first time at Silverstone, but I've always been interested in fast cars and have followed Formula One on the television for a long time. I'm a Renault fan and it was a great privilege to come and meet the team, see the garage and get close to the cars. I also enjoyed the atmosphere of the race as the fans were very passionate."

Did you enjoy seeing behind the scenes?

"Yes, as I now have a much better understanding of how many people are involved in Formula One. Attention to detail is everything and everyone in the team has their own specialist area, but they all need to pull together and work as one. Like football, it's all about teamwork."

You filmed a Renault advert recently - was that fun?

"It was for the new Laguna and I really enjoyed it. The script was very funny; the director was easy to work with and Renault managed to create something very special that reflects the image of the car. I've always loved the humour in Renault's adverts and so it was nice to be asked to get involved."

You went to Paul Ricard last month for a driving experience. Tell us about that?

"It was a chance for me to drive some incredible Renault cars and to experience a Formula One car as a driver and a passenger in the three-seater. It really opened my eyes to the skills you need because when you watch on television it's difficult to understand the speeds involved and what it feels like inside the car. Now that I have been there, I have a lot of respect for these drivers - they really are special men."

Source Renault