On March 11th this year, a devastating earthquake shook Japan, displacing thousands and leaving a permanent mark on Japan.  The recovery process has been long underway, but much work remains and many residents have still yet to return to their homes and start rebuilding.

With the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, the Formula 1 community is stepping up their efforts to aid Japan.  HRT driver Viantonio Liuzzi will be racing tomorrow in a special edition helmet to be auctioned off, and McLaren Drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will be donating similar custom designed racewear worn during the race.

left: Jenson Button's girlfriend Jessica Michibata with a Bernie doll right: Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber Team CEO and a Kamui Kobayashi doll (Images from Twitter)Bernie Ecclestone is also making some great donations, including nearly $1 Million in tickets to the race for Japanese citizens still displaced, a set of commisioned pieces of artwork of the five current world champions on the grid to be auctioned off, and finally the puppets that have been catching all of the attention.

We know these puppets are being sold for 29 Euros at the track to fans and we have seen not only the Bernie dolls but Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Kamui Kobayashi, and a few others.  Lots of photos from this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix have shown these puppets becoming quite the popular accessory, and now we're wondering how we can get one.  If you find a Bernie Ecclestone doll let us know, send an email to promotions(at)theaustingrandprix(dot com), and we'll find a way to trade you some COME AND RACE IT gear!

As relief efforts are still underway, you can help contribute to the Japanese recovery by donating to the American Red Cross, by selecting "disaster relief," or directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society.