If you’re new to Badger, Podium or Pits, or ‘POP’ for short, is our regular weekly feature where we round up all the amusing F1 stories of the week, and decide whether they’re good (aka ‘podium’) or bad (aka ‘pits’).  Simple!

This week we pop open the bubbly to celebrate the new season, Lee McKenzie gets a death threat, POP gets some serious Raikkonen-withdrawal symptons, Alonso is a true Ferraristi, and F1: The Movie is officially happening…!

© 2010 LAT Photographic

PODIUM.  Alcohol –

Formula 1 likes a drink, or two.  Mumm champagne is a regular on the podium after the race, although more of the bubbly stuff usually ends up down the overalls of the drivers and dignitaries who are standing the vicinity.  So what, I hear you ask, has happened this week to warrant a ‘Podium’ for alcohol?  Here’s a few clues:  a Force India, Scotland, Lee McKenzie, a death threat, and a bottle of whisky.  Still in the dark?  Here’s the story:  Scottish brand Whyte & Mackay invited Lee McKenzie to try out their whiskies, and they also happen to be sponsors of Force India.  Richard Paterson, Whyte’s master blender, then proceeded to tell Lee that he would “kill her” if she held her whiskey glass incorrectly, and later was seen pouring an entire bottle of the stuff right into the tank of a Force India as “fuel”.  It’s a novel idea, and POP is surprised more teams haven’t cottoned on to this brilliant invention.  Let’s see how the Force India does in Australia next week before passing judgment.  Check out the whiskey & Lee videos here.

PITS.  The new ‘Formula’ –

Yawn!  Here at Badger we don’t think F1 is boring, but the season opener at Bahrain at the weekend was a little, well, tedious.  The expectation of an entire winter without F1 probably didn’t help, but then neither did the new rule changes.  The last time refuelling was banned, the tyres were so disastrously rubbish that many pit stops were needed just to keep any semblance of grip.  But nowadays Bridgestone is pretty good at making high performance tyres.  Which means the new rules for 2010 have slightly backfired.  They were meant to ‘spice’ things up a bit, with an extra variable to the races: tyre wear.  But the tyres are staying quite nicely intact.  McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has said,

“We do need to look at mandatings stops [having a minimum of 2], we do need to look at the tyres and make them more fragile, and we do need to work on making the cars capable of racing close together and easier to overtake.”

So could we see a mid-season re-Formula-isation?  The introduction of super-super-soft tyres which degrade after only 20 laps.  Brilliant.  POP is 93% in support of the idea.

PODIUM.  Fernando Alonso –

POP distrusts Alonso very much.  It cannot be a coincidence that the year he drove for McLaren they were fined $100 million for cheating, and then the year after, when he was driving for Renault, they too cheated and were given a suspended sentence.  Anyway, so much for POP’s personal disregard for the man, you have to hand it to him:  he nailed Bahrain.  Not only that, but Alonso looked like he was BORN to wear the red overalls of Ferrari.  How could he have driven for anyone else?

PITS.  Kimi Raikkonen withdrawal symptoms –

Do you feel nauseous/sad/depressed/suicidal [delete as appropriate] when you watch a race without Kimi?  Do you sometimes google him for kicks?  POP almost cannot cope without him.  It was a blow enough to lose Juan Pablo Montoya 2006, another of POP’s favourites, but to lose the legendary Kimi “Iceman” Raikkonen is beyond comprehension.  POP had subsisted in a wonderful world of off-season denial… until the season re-started on Sunday and Kimi and his icecreams were nowhere to be seen.  Where is he??  Rallying, apparently.  Did you know that his first rally outing was in Lapland, Lapland, LAPLAND??!!  It’s true, the Iceman went to Lapland to compete in the Arctic Lapland Rally, and perhaps to spend some time with Father Christmas, who knows?  POP prescribes a large dose of Raikkonen, taken at twice daily intervals.

PODIUM.  F1: The Movie –

POP has been saying for sometime that there should be F1: The Musical, but POP will settle happily for F1: The Movie.  Can you imagine?  Cheating, scandal, fast cars, girls, rivals… it is utterly incredible that Bernie has waited until now to capitalise on this.  Formula 1 is an untapped gold mine of endless plot lines so far-fetched no Hollywood script writer could even make up.  The new film will be focussing on the period between Jim Clark’s death at Hockenheim in 1968 and Gilles Villeneuve’s fatal accident at Zolder in 1982.  It’s no Spygate, but an interesting period all the same.  POP eagerly awaits it’s release in 2011.

If you were to make a film about F1, what era would you pick?  And who would star in it?