Happy Thursday!  That means it’s time for your weekly (fun) dose of Formula 1 news.  Who’s had a pits of a week?  And who’s sitting pretty on the proverbial podium?  Read on …

X1 Prototype from Gran Turismo & Red Bull

PODIUM.  Gran Turismo/Red Bull – More often than not corporate partnerships in F1 are a bit lame.  POP likes F1, but couldn’t care less about banking, smoking, insurance blah blah.*  However, the recent tie-up between Gran Turismo and Red Bull looks pretty damn cool.  GT5 is on its way, and Red Bull were asked ‘If you built the fastest racing car on land, one that throws aside all rules and regulations, what would that car look like, how would it perform and how would it feel to drive?” Easy peasy.

Click here to check out the promo video.

PODIUM.  Heikki Kovalainen – Podium or Pits has often overlooked little Heikki, merely thinking he was a bit quiet and, well, not terribly interesting.  But all has now changed following the ‘Flaming Lotus’ incident at Singapore last weekend.  Near the end of the race Heikki’s car was on fire, with billowing smoke and huge flames, FIRE!  Yet Heikki did the selfless thing and avoided the pit lane (it is full of flammable stuff, so a sensible choice really), and headed for the start-finish straight.

After pulling over, the useless Singapore marshalls once again failed to appear (where were they?  POP didn’t see them the whole race!)  So what did Heikki ‘hardman’ Kovalainen do?  Put the damn fire out himself of course, and all in the middle of the track.  Legend.  Heikki can save POP from a flaming car anyday of the week…

And for those who are interested, you can now buy a Heikki flame tamer mug!  Click here to purchase this fine piece of history.

Vijay on the phone to the stewards on Sunday...

PITS.  Hulkenberg & Sutil – You’re both nicked!  Bad news for Hulkenberg and Sutil fans (of which POP is sure there are literally tens of) as both drivers were awarded 20-second penalties after last Sunday’s race.  Sutil “gained an advantage” on the opening lap by going around the outside of turn 7.

Quite why that took the whole race to decide is beyond POP, but oh well.  Sutil was subsequently demoted from 8th to 10th.

Force India then immediately called up the stewards to complain about Hulkenberg, who it was decided had also “gained an advantage”.  So Hulkenberg dropped to 10th.  Wait, POP is confused.  Anyway, it ends with Felipe Massa gaining a brilliantly unexpected advantage of two places, as the (final) order goes: 8th Felipe Massa (happy chappy), 9th Sutil, 10th Hulkenberg.

PODIUM.  HD ready… soon! – Formula 1 in 2011: 20 races, HD.  Enough said really.  For Michael Mcintyre fans you’ll know the perils of not being “HD ready” (POP is ready!)  Somewhat shockingly, even football is more watchable thanks to the beautiful wonders of High Definition television.  Singapore is a joy to watch, despite the rather dodgy directorship, and with HD it could turn into the highlight of the Formula 1 calendar for TV viewers.  There is one very big drawback, however:

Eddie Jordan’s clothes will be in HD, meaning most TVs will spontaneously combust.  Other than that it’s a double thumbs up from POP for HD!

PITS.  Bats – Has POP gone completely bats?  Quite possibly, but then so has the Toro Rosso team.  In one of POP’s top 3 most random stories of the season, Toro Rosso engineers found a dead bat in their pit garages in Singapore, thinking that it was a good luck charm.  A bad omen more like – Both cars finished outside the points after a pretty average race.

PODIUM.  Sam Michael – With the Williams team in the doldrums recently, we haven’t heard from team principal Sam Michael for a while, and he certainly didn’t disappoint: it’s “just bullshit” was his reaction to the suggestion that the Renault engine is down on power – …thanks Sam, eloquent stuff there.  He’s a cynic at heart, and claims that grumblings over Renault engine performance are merely a smokescreen for an attempt to obtain performance upgrades.

PODIUM. Bernie Ecclestone – Yep, that’s right Bernie is on the podium in Badger’s POP – despite his ridiculous medals and shortcuts ideas which keep cropping up, we’ve put him on the podium because he’s made two Silverstone 2011 VIP Paddock Passes up for grabs in a charity auction to raise money for “Action Against Hunger” – the charity is hoping to raise £200,000 for their life-saving programmes at their annual dinner and fundraising event on October 9th 2010.

You can see the full list of lots and place your bids at this website– where you’ll find more info on the event too. Nice one Bernie.

Bernard - Not as scary as he appears...

PODIUM. Senior Badger –

Last but not least, POP would like to make a special birthday mention to Colin Jones of Birmingham, aka Senior Badger – the uncle that inspired our Editor, Adam Milleneuve to stop talking about it make F1Badger.com happen in the first place!  Happy Birthday Uncle Col.

*POP is eternally grateful to Tag Heuer though.