Red Bull Racing and its new major sponsor, TAG Heuer, officially launched their partnership with a lavish Grand Prix party at one of Melbourne’s most exclusive rooftop venues, Luminare, where Australian Grand Prix crowd favourite Daniel Ricciardo was on-hand to meet and greet the event’s VIP guests.

Our photographer George Hitchens was given an exclusive pass to this invitation-only event…

While the Red Bull Racing / TAG Heuer partnership is something of a forced marriage after the team’s shameful attempt to ditch its French engine partner last year, the party certainly exceeded expectations with  mix of fabulous food and entertainment, and a top-shelf guest list.

The event featured live ice-cream making (a la Heston Blumethal), which proved to be one of the culinary highlights of the evening. The onsite chefs prepared dry ice and salted caramel popcorn delights right before the crowd’s eyes.

Ice Cream at the Red Bull / TAG Heuer launch

Live ice cream making at the Red Bull / TAG Heuer launch party in Melbourne.

Legendary cricketers Adam Gilchrist and Peter Siddle mixed with Olympic Games medal-winners Stephanie Rice and Steve Hooker. There were also a wealth of TV and media personalities and a good handful of reality TV stars to capture the paparazzi lenses.

The star of the show was of course Daniel Ricciardo, who arrived on stage to be interviewed by the event’s host, Mel McLaughlin, on his thoughts about his off-season, his hopes for the year ahead and – of course – to plug the team’s new sponsor and naming engine partner TAG Heuer.

The Perth-born driver was also presented with a special pop art style gift by some TAG Heuer grid girls. A confident and extremely relaxed Ricciardo is by far one of the best in the business when it comes to media appearances, easily enjoying himself and comfortably mingling at events where others would simply arrive, wave and go.

Daniel Ricciardo & DJ Minx - Red Bull Racing / TAG Heuer launch party

‘Can I have something stronger?’ – Daniel Ricciardo and DJ Minx controlled the musical entertainment at the event.

Finally he was asked to join Australian nightclub starlet Rachel Minx (aka DJ MINX) in a battle on the vinyl decks. Exactly how much control he actually had over the music blaring through the sound system will never be known, but he was clearly enjoying himself and at one stage cheekily gestured to the crowd his wish for something other than the obligatory can of Red Bull to quench his thirst.

TAG Heuer’s brand motto “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” will really ring true in what promises to be a big and challenging year for the Australian driver.

Images © George Hitchens Photography – more images can be seen on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds

George Hitchens Photography

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