Welcome to Podium or Pits, or POP for short, your entertaining weekly Formula 1 good week/bad week.  POP wagers that you’ll learn something new and exciting every week!

The happy couple (c) Sutton Images

PODIUM.  Felipe Massa –

It was confirmed yesterday that Ferrari have extended Felipe’s contract until 2012 – great news for the ‘cheeky chappy’ of the grid and great news for us as it means another two years of the “Rob (Smedley) and Felipe Show”

Confirmation of this casts doubt on those rumours growing that Ferrari were looking to sign Kubica from Renault and it’s also paving the way for a quite straight-forward driver market silly season, with most of the top seats in the sport filled for 2011 already. Red Bull have Vettel and Webber, Ferrari have Alonso and Massa, McLaren have Button and Hamilton.

PODIUM.  Virgin Racing & Moneysupermarket.com –

Now, POP doesn’t usually bow down to the mighty corporate powers of the world, but in this case POP sees fit to make an exception.  As with most of POP’s highly arbitrary ‘Rules’, they are mostly there to be broken.  So when POP heard of the chance to win two VIP/Paddock tickets to Monza MONZA MONZA, aka the Italian grand prix, courtesy of new team Virgin Racing and Moneysupermarket.com, it jumped at the chance to tell everyone.  Virgin Racing are fast becoming firm friends of the Sett, what with our recent chat with their driver Timo Glock, and our borderline stalking of reserve driver (and all round nice guy) Andy Soucek.  And if you win you’ll get to meet them!

But if you do win, seriously, POP is free the weekend of the Italian grand prix, and would be more than happy to take the extra VIP ticket.  More than happy.  Click here for the chance to win!

PODIUM.  Formula 1 Fashion –

You simply can’t call yourself a true F1 fan until you have wasted spent an obscene amount of your hard-earned cash on some naff quality Formula 1 merchandise.

Personally POP prefers the branded cap and shirt, but you can also get pens, mugs, shoes, the works!  Want a top so garish in colour you’re guaranteed to repel the ladies?  Then try a McLaren ‘victory’ shirt!  Want to look like an angry bumblebee just threw-up on you?  Try the Renault paddock bundle!

Gosh, now where would you be without POP’s expert F1-fashion advice?  If you came along to Badger’s F1 Live event at the Sports Cafe for the Monaco grand prix, you’ll remember we gave away loads of Henri Lloyd F1 caps as prizes.  Ace!

PODIUM.  Twitter & the ‘Ready Steady Glock’ show-

Ready Steady Glock!

POP has long advocated the joys and virtues of Twitter.  Reading the 140 characters thoughts of the good, the bad, and the frankly made-up of Formula 1 is highly entertaining stuff.  POP’s favourites include: Fake Max Mosley (it’s as good as it sounds), Heikki Kovalainen, Jonathan Legard (comedy gold), and Ferrari (succinct but brilliant).  But Twitter is not just for thoughts, no no … let POP tell you a little story to demonstrate – Timo Glock, of Virgin Racing, is always tweeting about food, so friend of Badger GrandPrixDiary got its Twitter followers to come up with a dish for ‘Ready Steady Glock’, and Timo would cook the chosen dish.  Brilliant!  Here’s a proud Timo with his dinner.  Bless.

PITS(TOP).  DIY F1 pitstops –

It looks easy on the TV, right?  You just take the wheel off, and put a new wheel back on.  Sorted.  What’s all the fuss about?  Wrong.  POP has been reliably informed that doing a pitstop is no easy task – read on for the FIRST EVER reader-written Podium or Pits entry thanks to Ant Bradbury Aka Ant Hot (Lukewarm) Wheels…

We’ve all seen them do it on TV in less time than it takes to pit your nose! But have you ever wondered just what it takes to do it yourself?
As part of ‘A taste of Spain’ the countries tourist board gave visitors in Regent Street a rare treat to do just that in their Motorsport zone.
Assisted by some actual F1 mechanics having donned ‘tinto’ red overalls (provided) I explode into action and within minutes as opposed to seconds revving up the bit drill. I jack the car up and fit a new tyre. ‘Ole’ I  throatily shout. My work is done but I sadly don’t make the leader board; Let’s just say it took me more time than to make’ flip and eat a Spanish omelette! Practice makes perfect. There was also a chance to experience an adrenaline rush behind the wheel in an F1simulator, although personally must admit I prefer racing in the real thing.