It may be Suzuka (the Japanese grand prix) on Sunday, but luckily these days it doesn’t herald the end of the Formula 1 season as it used to.  And there’s plenty to be happy about in F1 this week, plus a few losers for good measure…

Vintage BMW Williams zooming through central London

PODIUM.  The Government

Without getting too party political, POP would like to formally congratulate the British coalition government.  It was announced this week that they are planning to relax the laws which restrict the holding of motorsport events on public roads.  Apparently the annoying law dates back to the 1960s, and no-one has bothered to repeal or change it until now.

Nigel Mansell has given his thumbs up to the idea, saying that the government should “embrace motorsport”.  Right, so we all need to get planning folks.  London 2012 street race?  All UK-based teams driving around their local towns, such as a ‘McLaren day’ in Woking?  Close the whole of the M4 in a Top Gear-esque F1 drag race between Hamilton, Bobby-K (Robert Kubica) and the Stig?  The possibilities are endless…

PITS.  Korea –

According to reports, the circuit is 98-99% complete, despite the race being in the calendar for only a couple of week’s time!  So if there’s 1/2% incomplete, does that mean HRT will have to forgo a pit garage and instead get by with a gazebo?  Or will the stewards be out on the warm-up lap painting lines on the track?  Let’s just hope that minor percentage doesn’t equal a major headache for the country’s inaugural grand prix.

PODIUM.  McLaren –

McLaren's latest strategic apparatus

Well McLaren aren’t actually on the podium this week, but they’ve got it firmly in their sights as we head into a supremely exciting title fight.  “We’re throwing everything and the kitchen sink at it,” said McLaren MD Jonathan Neale.  The sink probably can’t hurt the title effort, that is unless you’re in the way when it gets thrown into the McLaren pit garage.  Ouch.

PODIUM.  Renault –

For all those who have a passionate interest in engines, and all things engine-related, you’ll be happy/saddened/confused/enraged [delete as appropriate] at the news that Lotus have wiggled their way out of their Cosworth contract in order to pave the way for a deal with Renault.

PITS.  Alex Wurz’s F1 driving school –

Another happy Wurz Driving graduate celebrates his FIA Superlicence

What do you do if you’re a failed ex-F1 driver?  Commentate?  Too obvious.  Sit on a yacht sipping champagne?  Too crass.  Instead, Alex Wurz has chosen to work for the FIA as an “instructor” at its soon-to-be-created young driver academy.  Imagine telling a young wannabe Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher how to drive.  Well don’t, because it’s too painful.  Our condolences to Alex.

PITS.  Nigel Stepney –

Stepney looking shifty

If you’ve forgotten who Stepney is, let POP refresh your memory.  He was the Ferrari engineer embroiled in the infamous, but not terribly glamorous, ‘spying scandal’ of 2007.  And things just got a lot worse for ‘Agent Stepney’: he has been sentenced this week to a €600 fine and a 20 month jail sentence by an Italian court.  Fear not, it is apparently unlikely that he will actually serve at least most of the term, but still, it’s a bit of a ‘Pits’ week for the bloke.