Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello enjoy nothing more than a quiet meal after a day at the race track. But, last night in Melbourne, the two Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers sampled a new experience - actually cooking a meal.

The event, which took place in the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne, was organised by the Ferrari sponsor. Both men were up on stage in specially built kitchens, each with a famous chef to help them.

While the world's media watched, the official photographer was Megan Gale, the face of Vodafone Omnitel-Italy, using a picture phone.

The idea was for Michael and Rubens to cook their favourite Italian meal: "Linguine aglio e olio" for the German and "Tortellini al Pomodoro" for the Brazilian.

Both men looked at home in the kitchen. Michael had strong views on the subject and refused to let the professional chef alter the recipe. Rubens kept running across to Michael's section of the kitchen and stealing his ingredients! In the middle of the cook-off, a special good luck telephone message for the weekend came through from Manchester United and England soccer star David Beckham.

When the dishes were finished, Megan Gale was asked to taste the meals and declare a winner. Bringing the two drivers to the centre of the stage, holding their hands like boxers at the end of a fight, Gale hesitated before raising both hands to declare the contest a draw.

Sixteen Italian restaurants in Melbourne are supporting the Scuderia by serving "Vodafone Schumacher Linguine aglio e olio" and "Vodafone Barrichello Tortellini al pomodoro" throughout the weekend.